May 29, 2020
In our ACR board meeting last week, we had an inspiring conversation about how resource companies have adapted to public health and economic challenges over the last number of months. I came away with a sense of pride for the leadership and front-line workers in those companies. Of course, operating and regulatory costs, commodity prices, and worries about where and when new business will develop are keeping many leaders up at night. These are the kinds of things we often hear about and rightly so. All of our resource sectors have challenges.
Keeping the supply chain communication strong, deferring non-critical work, employee furloughs or changes in work, certain regulatory monitoring, and consulting with communities are difficult in the age of COVID. I was inspired by the creativity and resourcefulness with which our members have taken on these new challenges. Our board members shared examples of using technology to collaborate and support clients, providing more mental health check-ins and employee assistance tools to help employees cope better, and flexibility in how and when employees return to the workplace. That last point was particularly interesting. Almost half of our board talked about an increase, or at least status quo, in the productivity of their employees while they have been working from home. These leaders have been actively engaging their employees as they work remotely and see that continuing post pandemic.
I took away many learnings from the Board conversation and believe the ACR could be an excellent forum for more best practice discussions as we all plan for a re-opened economy and restructured workplace.
When I meet with various stakeholders in government and other business organizations, I use some of the examples above to point out how resource companies are living their values and working hard to keep their operations and people moving forward.
As part of our strategy to support members during this time, we have been active in our communication and discussion with legislators and regulators on immediate regulatory and fiscal relief measures and much needed longer-term regulatory reform for the resource sector. Additionally, we have been very engaged with senior levels of government to provide advice and real-world examples from our membership of shovel-ready projects that will add immediate and long-term value to the Alberta economy. We will continue to press government to support Alberta’s resource sector through concrete actions that will support us short term, but also ensure a vibrant industry for decades to come.
Thank you and stay safe.