Media release: COVID-19 outbreak at Kearl Lake the exception, not the rule

EDMONTON – Reports of more than 100 cases of COVID-19 linked to Imperial Oil’s Kearl Lake oilsands facility in northern Alberta are concerning, but do not reflect overall camp safety in the province, says Building Trades of Alberta.

“The vast majority of oilsands camp operations in Alberta have remained safe worksites thanks to effective new procedures used to fight the spread of COVID-19 within facilities,” said BTA Executive Director Terry Parker.

“Many sites are following the strict guidance of health professionals and it’s working.”

Since the pandemic began, BTA has worked closely with owners, contractors and the provincial government to develop and ensure protocols are in place and essential oilsands workers are protected.

“The reality is workers want to go to work, they don’t want to see camps shut down. We’ve been there every step of the way to ensure they can do this safely and I’m pleased to say that’s been the case. Our members are following safety protocols to the letter and outbreaks have been avoided,” said Ian Robb, BTA Chairman and Canadian Director of UNITE HERE!, which represents camp and culinary workers around Alberta.

“But we know this virus is smart. It finds ways of getting in and wreaking havoc. We’ll continue to work with all stakeholders and we will do everything in our power to ensure safe practices continue to be communicated and followed so we all remain healthy

“I encourage folks to pay attention to the facts on the ground and not the horror in the headlines,” said Robb.

The Building Trades of Alberta proudly represents more than 60,000 skilled-trades workers and 18 local unions, province-wide.


For more information or interview requests:

Tyler Bedford, BTA Director of Communications and Relations, 780-298-7626

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