Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, Canada is a small, isolated, predominately aboriginal community of about 1,200 residents. Located on Lake Athabasca – approximately 300 km north of Fort McMurray – Fort Chipewyan is situated downstream from where the largest industrial project in the world is occurring – the Alberta Oil Sands.
Anecdotal evidence provided by community elders and health experts, as well as industry and independent studies, have indicated that nearby oil sands activity has led to environmental toxicity levels to far exceed safe and acceptable levels. Government studies have also established that the community experiences an abnormally high cancer and rare cancer rate.
Despite the evidence, the Alberta provincial government has maintained the position that nearby oil sands developments have had no impact on the environment surrounding Fort Chipewyan, as well as upon the community’s residents. As a result, the provincial government has refused to engage in any further studies to conclusively prove whether environmental factors, such as oil sands development, have led to the increased risk of residents developing cancers – which has been requested by the community residents, outside observers and previous government studies.
Stand with Fort Chipewyan is a non-partisan, campus advocacy organization located at the University of Alberta. We are dedicated to raising awareness to the concerns expressed by the people of Fort Chipewyan, as well as lobbying the government to engage in actions to firmly establish the effect of oil sands development on the health of residents.
Over the course of the year, we will be hosting documentaries, speakers and other presentations in order to highlight the concerns of Fort Chipewyan residents, as well as the impact of nearby oil sands developments. Further, we will be providing an opportunity for students on campus to directly engage their elected provincial representatives, in order to express their concerns regarding the situation.