CSR in Canada – Economic Development and Local Procurement

Companies may make contributions in the area around a project as part of building and maintaining a positive relationship with local community stakeholders. For example, companies might generate local job opportunities, procure goods locally, support local initiatives, and invest in communities. These contributions can bring lasting, much-needed benefits to local communities. Below are some examples of how Canadian mining and exploration companies have contributed to sustainable local economic and community development:

Responses by Company

Agnico Eagle Mines Limited

The company contributes to economic and community development through a food cooperative in Baker Lake, through contracting local community entrepreneurs in Nunavut, and through policies for local contracts everywhere. The company has investments in palliative care in Abitibi, in cancer research, in education in Nunavut, and in sports for youth everywhere.

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We have IBAs in Nunavut with the Kivalliq Inuit Association. In Nunavut, local suppliers have preference points for awarding contracts. We also constructed 2 roads and contributed money for the construction of sports facilities.

AuRico Gold Inc.

The company contributes to local economic development by ensuring, where possible, we procure and purchase items from within the local and provincial communities. The sites employ locally where possible and each site includes members of the local First Nations communities. One of the agreements in place in Canada includes an allowance for annual scholarships for the life of the project. Further details can be found in our annual sustainability reports located on our website.

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The company aims to source, where it can, consumables and products from within the regions in which we operate. In 2014, 22% (representing over $60 million dollars) of the total purchases for our two operating mines were made from the local or regional areas in which we operate.

Wherever we operate we strive to provide business opportunities for the local communities and Aboriginal people.

Axe Exploration Inc.

The company participates as a community sponsor in the village. As well, the company planted community vegetable gardens. Finally, the company prioritizes local purchases.

Cameco Corporation

Through our five pillar strategy, Cameco has developed a wide range of programs meant to increase the involvement of local businesses as well as the employment of local peoples, both directly and indirectly through our contractors. Through our northern preferred supplier program, we have helped to build up northern and Aboriginal businesses, which now provide us with over 70% of our service needs. Since 2004, Cameco has procured nearly $3 billion dollars in services from locally owned companies. On the employment front, over half of our direct and indirect employees are from the local communities in northern Saskatchewan. At the end of 2014, we employed more than 1500 people from northern Saskatchewan, a region of just under 40,000 people.

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In northern Saskatchewan, Cameco has developed a series of programs to help build knowledge and practical skills in northern Saskatchewan residents who want to work in our industry. We encourage northern students to stay in school, provide financial support for their post-secondary education, and deliver practical, work-based training to the northerners we hire. These programs include academic awards and scholarships, apprenticeship programs and work placements, career development, counselling and wellness programs for existing employees, and school presentations and ambassador programs. 

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Cameco’s northern preferred supplier program has resulted in nearly $3 billion dollars in services being procured from northern Saskatchewan businesses since 2004. This program gives preference to companies that are majority owned by northern Saskatchewan communities and peoples as long as they meet Cameco’s expectations for safety, quality, competitiveness and other factors that may be relevant in a particular case.

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Cameco does not specifically target infrastructure investments, but we receive many requests for investments from local communities to support these types of projects because many of these communities have infrastructure deficits. Through our community investment program we have provided donations that have gone towards the building of community arenas, fire halls, and educational institutions. As well, through our agreements with northern Saskatchewan communities, we provide stable funding to community trusts, which are being used to support local infrastructure development in the areas of housing and recreation, among others.

Canadian International Minerals Inc.

We try to use local resources always. The company contributes to local education and health initiatives through some student support and elders programs. The company’s contributions to local infrastructure include road maintenance.

Cartier Resources Inc.

We identify local business opportunities and favour services and product consumption locally, likewise we advise the contractors we employ of our own practices and encourage them to act similarly when practical.

We sponsor an E3 Plus scholarship grant of $1500 per year over a 5 year period with the local CEGEP.

Dios Exploration Inc.

The company hires Aboriginal employees if possible, and if available, family members with trapping rights. The company purchase groceries and/or equipment from Aboriginal businesses; it uses transportation with Cree joint venture companies in areas such as helicopter aviation and fuel.

Foran Mining Corp.

The company sponsors Mining Matters youth camps, and makes presentations to high school students and at local employment forums.

Freeport Resources Ltd.

We actively consider how our projects can contribute to the local economy at both project planning and implementation stages. In Labrador, Freeport works with a local expediting company well acquainted with the skill sets and temperaments of local people to be hired. When our Hutton project reaches the development stage, we expect to generate more long term employment for local people, with work at the site, as well as support activities off-side, such as mineral processing, product development, marketing, distribution, etc…

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Freeport has also donated funds to the heritage church in Nain, Labrador -- an important community landmark that needs structural upgrading.  We have assisted in transporting people and goods from remote locations such as the Hebron Mission heritage site when we were working in that general area.  We have good personal relationships with people from the community and do our best to help whenever we can.

Goldcorp Inc.

Goldcorp continued to contribute to the health and well-being of the communities around us by supporting local sports and recreation programs, medical research and infrastructure, local hospital foundations, health and sanitation awareness campaigns and other such programs. Some notable health initiatives in 2013 included donating $1 million to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, to create the Addiction Medicine Fellowship.

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Education is a key focus area for Goldcorp because it lays the foundation for a brighter future. We endeavour to support all levels of education. We contribute to community investment programs, such as supporting the Mining Matters camps, which introduce kids to geology and mining processes in northern Ontario. We also supported a number of tertiary institutions in North America. We were pleased to support the University of British Columbia’s Earth Sciences Building, to which we have made a five-year $5 million commitment. A separate gift of $125,000 to UBC will help establish a mining-focused executive MBA program. We also supported the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, funding their Corporate Social Responsibility program.

Goldcorp often supports local development through infrastructure projects, which either provide a shared benefit to the operation and the community or are entirely for the community benefit. The Wataynikanenap Power partnership is an example of an infrastructure investment that is a shared benefit, for local First Nations communities and our Musselwhite mine.

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Great Lakes Graphite Inc.

The company’s contributions to local infrastructure include road building.

HudBay Minerals

We recognize that local procurement and local employment are of mutual interest to our company and our local communities, and we recognize that positive local economic development will enhance the stability of our relationships with our local communities.  We have informally encouraged our sites to implement programs to support local employment, local procurement, and to contribute to local economic development - and we are in the process of developing corporate standards for community investment and for local procurement and employment. In practice, we have a program of economic engagement with our area communities in Canada.

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Our contributions to local education include university and college scholarship programs in Canada, and support to specific skills development programs at each of our locations (e.g. support for apprenticeship programs in Manitoba and financial and program support for the Mining Academy in Manitoba). In our education and health programs we have a strong preference for supporting and participating in government or industry-sector programs rather than creating Hudbay specific programs.

In Canada we have initiatives to assist local providers to qualify for contracts with Hudbay. For example, in Manitoba we provided funding of over $2 million to the Town of Snow Lake to help fund the municipality’s portion of a new waste water treatment plant - in part to support new housing development to house Hudbay employees.

Independence Gold Corp.

The company contributes to local economic development and to local employment by putting local persons to work.  As we operate in areas with limited employment options for them, it provides them with work that otherwise would not be available.

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The company has paid for a person from a local community to re-certify as a first aid attendant, and then offered her a job afterwards.

NOVAGOLD Resources Inc.

Our agreements with Aboriginal landowners require us to preferentially hire their shareholders and afford contracting opportunities to their businesses.  We take these requirements very seriously and have an excellent track record of local hire and workforce development.

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We invest significantly in community education programs as well as sponsoring our own training efforts.  We are also strong advocates of promoting health and safety and wellness initiatives. Sustainable development is integrated into each of our partnerships with our Aboriginal landholders.

Specific investments have been made in schools and community infrastructure throughout the Galore Creek region in BC.

Softrock Minerals Ltd.

The company contributes to local education by providing information to schools. 

Suncor Energy Inc.

Suncor has an Aboriginal Economic Collaboration strategy, which is based around four strategic pillars: 1) Proactive Aboriginal business development, 2) Respectful relationship and capability development, 3) Community-driven economic development, 4) Meaningful partnership and collaboration. We also invest in community economic development through our Suncor Energy Foundation which focuses, among other things, on building an educated and engaged workforce.

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We have contributed to the following education and health initiatives:  support for a breakfast program at the Athabasca Delta Community School in Fort Chipewyan, and cultural programs and Elders’ retreats in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

In 2013, we spent more than $431 million towards Aboriginal businesses, almost doubling our efforts since 2011 alone, and bringing our total to almost $2.5 billion since 1999. Wood Buffalo, home to our oil sands operations, currently accounts for the vast majority of our total Aboriginal spending. Increasingly, we are also working on opportunities to partner with Aboriginal businesses across Canada.

We have also participated and partnered with the following NGOs, local communities, and/or Aboriginal communities:

  • Canadian Boreal Initiative
  • Canadian Business for Social Responsibility
  • Network for Business Sustainability
  • Indspire Institute, an Aboriginal-led registered charity that invests in the education of Aboriginal people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada.
  • Actua-Ottawa STEM program for Aboriginal youth.
  • Bridges Social Development, a Calgary-based non-profit organization that works with communities in Canada to build capacity and train youth leaders.
  • The Banff Center’s Aboriginal leadership and management development programs.
  • Learning through the Arts, a customized program for Aboriginal communities that integrates Aboriginal language, artists, and art forms.
  • The Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in Saskatchewan to manage three Petro-Canada retail stations which successfully employ many First Nations members.

Tashota Resources Inc.

We inform First Nations’ peoples if jobs are available for them and make contributions to hockey and to other sports.

Typhoon Exploration

We use a local labour force and support local community events. We use local service providers.

The company has sponsored the establishment of a community garden project to help the community become self-sufficient in vegetable production.

Zenyatta Ventures Ltd.

We require safe and effective working relationships at all levels around the company. Whilst respecting different cultures, traditions and employment practices, we share common goals, in particular the elimination of workplace injuries, and are committed to good corporate values and ethical behaviour. Zenyatta employs on the basis of job requirements and does not discriminate on grounds of age, ethnic or social origin, gender, sexual orientation, politics or religion. We may make exceptions to favour local employment & contractors where local laws provide.

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Zenyatta contributes to a social fund for the benefit of First Nation children, youth and elders.

An agreement between the local First Nation & Zenyatta provides for sustainable development.

Under an agreement Zenyatta will use commercially reasonable efforts to purchase materials and hire First Nations & local community members through contracting and/or development corporations, limited partnerships, joint ventures or other entities for work on the Zenyatta sites.


The following companies indicated that they identified opportunities to enhance the economic well-being of the people who work and live in the project’s area of influence, but declined to provide further details on any contributions:

  • Red Pine Exploration Inc.
  • Skyharbour Resources Ltd.

The following companies indicated that they contribute to local education or health initiatives, but declined to provide further details:

  • Gorilla Minerals Corp.
  • Skyharbour Resources Ltd.

The following companies indicated that they have partnerships with NGOs, local communities and/or indigenous communities that contribute to the sustainable development plan, but declined to provide further details:

  • Skyharbour Resources Ltd.

The following companies indicated that they have local procurement programs in place, but declined to provide any further details:

  • Foran Mining Corp.
  • Softrock Minerals Ltd.

The following companies indicated that they contribute to local infrastructure projects, but declined to provide further details:

  • Skyharbour Resources Ltd.
  • Softrock Minerals Ltd.
  • Suncor Energy Inc.