Since its inception in 1998, the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) has contributed more than $176 million to charitable organizations across Canada, including more than $47 million in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) since 2000. As one of the largest and spread-out regional municipalities in the country, Wood Buffalo faces unique challenges, such as the ability for residents to access health care. Since the Horse River Wildfire in 2016, there has been an increased need for services, especially regarding mental health. At the grand opening of the Fort Hills project, Suncor and the SEF renewed their commitment to the region by providing resources for four new projects:
- The Fort Hills partners Suncor, Total E&P Canada and Teck Resources Limited donated an ambulance to the Nunee Health Authority in Fort Chipewyan. The ambulance provides the ability for the Nunee Community to assist and treat residents in need of emergency care, and who are far away from the nearest hospital.
- SEF contributed a one-time gift to the Northern Lights Health Foundation to help purchase and retrofit a medical vehicle that will service rural areas of the RMWB. This will allow additional patient care in areas such as Janvier, where it can be more difficult to access health care resources.
- In the summer, the Riverside Continuing Care Facility in Fort McKay officially opened. This community resource supported by Fort Hills and licensed by Alberta Health Services (AHS), will be used to provide Fort McKay Elders with special treatment, allowing them to remain near friends and family. The facility is a place for Elders to visit and share teachings with their community members.
- SEF, Total E&P Canada and Teck Resources Limited also announced a one-time gift to the Canadian Mental Health Association. In the years since the 2016 wildfires in Fort McMurray, residents still deal with emotional and mental fallout from the disaster. Between March 2017 and January 2018, AHS recorded 14,932 calls related to mental health support from the Fort McMurray area. The donation will help create a walk-in centre for local residents to access mental health resources, a recovery college and a school of peer support.