Canadian Contractor

John Bleasby   

Fort McMurray contractors shut out of clean-up work

Canadian Contractor

Alberta government agency refuses association members to ‘register’ as pre-qualified contractors

The evolving story of Fort McMurray has been updated
An exclusive interview with Alberta’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous
Work contracts now being issued to local contractors and businesses
Fort McMurray Construction Association frustrated by Ministry silence

As embers smolder over approximately 2,400 buildings destroyed by fire in Fort McMurray, the workers most willing and able to help with the clean-up have been refused the opportunity to work, thanks to a provincial government agency overseeing the contracts. Once officially known as Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and often still referred to as the ‘ESRD’,  it has now been rolled into the Ministry of Agriculture and Parks, which in turn was previously the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (The names change, but not necessarily the policies). It opened a registry of pre-qualified contractors eligible to bid on departmental

Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development refuses to give clean-up contacts to FMCA members

Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development refuses to give clean-up contracts to FMCA members

work about a year ago. However, the Fort McMurray Construction Association was apparently not included on that list. According to the Daily Commercial News, since the ESRD is overseeing and awarding cleanup contracts related to the recent fires, FMCA members cannot be employed.

Fort McMurray contractors need to support their families
This is a major frustration for the FMCA and its president Charles Iggulden. He says that his members are now out of work, need to support their families, are eager to clean up their own community, and are geographically located closest to the action. The DCN reported that in a letter sent to both to Premier Rachel Notley  and the Minster of Agriculture and Forestry who oversee the ESRD, and published in the DCN, Iggulden said: “Notwithstanding the economic conditions many of the businesses in Fort McMurray were dealing with prior to the fire, the Fort McMurray Construction Association has concerns that the Alberta Government and other authorities will ignore the fact that Fort McMurray has a large supply of contractors and equipment who can assist with the needs of Sustainable Resource Development to aid in the fight of the fire and the subsequent cleanup….By ignoring our local contractors at this stage of the fight, you may actually be inflating the cost associated with rebuilding as these contractors may have to close down their businesses.” As of May 12, no reply had been received.


FMCA receives support from other associations
Despite a lack of both support and response from either the Premier or the Ministry, construction agencies from around the region have pledged financial assistance to the Fort McMurray association. The Edmonton Construction Association has done so already and Grand Prairie Construction Association will once the FMCA reopens its offices. This somewhat mitigates the absence of vital association fundraising, since initiatives such as lunches, golf tournaments and other events have been suspended, perhaps for as long as one year. In the meantime the FMCA, forced out of their own offices, is running day-to-day operations from a location in nearly Bruderheim.

Some FMCA members found work fighting the fires

Some FMCA members found work fighting the fires

Furthermore, the FMCA has been working closely with the Regional Emergency Operations Centre, providing, for example, comprehensive lists of member contractors. This in turn has resulted in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo hiring FMCA members to fight fires outside of the evacuation area itself.

Calls for provincial coordination in the re-building process
Efforts are now underway to prevent Wild West opportunistic business operators causing confusion once non-essential workers are allowed into Fort McMurray. One company executive told The Journal of Commerce there could be conflicts between short term and long term commercial interests. “Hopefully after 60 days or so, some of the excitement will die down and it will be less about people trying to shoehorn their own commercial interests into the community and we’ll actually have a co-ordinated effort to clean up and rebuild.”

Jim Rivait, CEO of the Alberta branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, is hopeful the provincial government will help maintain some level of coordination. He told The Journal of Commerce “You can’t just start 2,000 houses all at once, there’s absolutely no way… It’s going to have to be done in some sort of a sequencing, and it’s going to have some focus to minimize the number of companies in a particular area at a particular time, otherwise it will be a free-for-all.”

follow John on Twitter new-twitter-logo



Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories

75 Comments » for Fort McMurray contractors shut out of clean-up work
  1. Jennifer says:

    Pre-qualified my butt. They paid an annual fee to be on the SRD’s list. Sent in or signed up online and completed hours of safety manual uploads and agreed to this and that. Does not actually qualify you to be qualified. Looks like the SRD is just padding the pockets of those who padded theirs first, and why should the people of Fort McMurray have to wait for those who will dilly dally and milk the governments relief funds to the max, before being allowed to return home and enjoy the comforts of their city. Shame on you SRD

  2. Brad Lucier says:

    This is absolute crap. Who better to help clean and rebuild our city then the people that try to make a living there. How can the Government really justify outsourcing this work to outside contractors!

  3. Wayne Wrren says:

    They don’t want these Ft, McMurray contractors cleaning up as they are afraid they will find what the real reason of how this blaze really started thus implicating the NDP Government how convenient of the NDP and the Feds covering up this scandal.

  4. Mike Robinson says:

    W.T.F. kind of a deal did nuyley and turdeau make to disqualify Alberta contractors and have only easterners do our clean-up. nutley has to be held accountable for this bullshit.

  5. Dale Barabe says:

    If Fort McMurray contractors cannot rebuild their community because of
    some almighty government rule, the rule had best be changed. It’s time the government stood up for its people, or get out of office so people who will do so can

  6. David Blanchard says:

    I could have sworn the premier said on a news report that he would insure the people from FT mcmurray would have a say on how there city would be rebuilt . Someone needs to stop and think. The people of this city have right to be involved in their community ,this will definitely have a negative affect on the people who care and love this city. Please don’t let this happen,they have lost enough already.

  7. Brian says:

    As usual our NDP GOVERNMENT is screwing Fort Mcmurray residents by not allowing local to work and assist in clean up. Let me be clear on my take, if I need a contractor to help clean my lace it will never be done unless it is a local contractor. NDP. Naturally Dumb People.

  8. Barbara Krieg says:

    Why would we shut out our own workers? I understand about scammers but there must be a way to weed out the abusers and keep the good honest ones working!

  9. Ron L Smith says:

    This hardly touched on the response Pat McGinnis PEng got when he applied for a labourer position to clean up Ft Mac. 2weeks in one out $15/hr room and board. He was responded to by a Ms. Katherine Fuhrmann that the position is only for Ottawa area residents rotating out of Ottawa

  10. Mariano says:

    This is not fear for contractors from fort McMurray
    Should a chance to work should be giving to fort McMurray contractors
    And first place we need to make a living for our families
    I’m small contractor and I live in fort McMurray our place is down to ashes and all the local contractors
    Should be hired first

  11. Howard Nagel says:

    Bend the rules and let these people clean up their town,

  12. Ron King says:

    You know the head clown in Edmonton has her hands in this keep her Union clowns busy send more money this crazy witch has to be stopped.

  13. S. W. says:

    Are you kidding? The Provincial Government of Alberta needs to ensure first and foremost that the work capable residence of Fort McMurry are employed first, before any other person who is coming to help for a pay cheque. If the Alberta Government will not ensure the families displaced by this disaster do not have jobs first then they should be forced into poverty by a natural disaster! GET OUT OF OFFICE RACHEL NOTLEY!

  14. Ross Haynes says:

    You should support local contractors there the ones that moved their with there family to help build Fort MC.

  15. Loree fleck says:

    Locals should be the first hired to do the cleanup. Seriously they should be allowed the first opportunity, our government needs to look at helping that community in the best way possible and that would be to employ locally.

  16. James Snow says:

    why are we giving government agencies so much power over our lives. At what point in the game of life do we actually make a stand and say enough is enough and fight for our rights.Take back what we know is right and say no to the people who think because they are elected officials they own us and our country. I am so sick and tired of hearing stories like this, unbelievable, it truly and sadly is unbelievable. I say even out the lot of em, get rid of all these stupid by-laws that are destroying this country as a whole.

  17. Keith Orr says:

    This has all the earmarks of ndp union buddy favoritism all over it.

  18. This action is utterly Ridiculous. Who makes these decisions. I read another post where all applicants had to be from the Ottawa area. That is also Ridiculous. Who is paying the bill for this Clean-Up?

  19. They should have asked the local businesses to supply a quote to participate in the clean up rather than hire contractors from Calgary and Edmonton. Local businesses need to pay there bills as well.
    And being out of work for three weeks is going to put a strain on local businesses.

    Kevin Lewis
    Ridgeline Oilfield Services Inc
    Fort McMurray AB

  20. Brown says:

    This is a flipping fucking ioje

  21. Rhea and Joe Yurkowski says:

    Sounds about par for the course. Common sense does not come into the equation with this government.

  22. Edith Fredrick says:

    What is the matter with people today? They need work so they can live the same as any one else. Get a grip people.

  23. diane says:


  24. Daniel Alton says:

    Im a journeyman electrician born and raised in beautiful strong fort McMurray my last job I made 40 an hour (50 average) cut the shit I’ll work for 25 an hour safely and effectively to restore my community I’m sure others feel the same way

  25. Joanne Green says:

    Family look after their own and Communities should be doing the same. I’m not saying to not hire outside companies , but you should hire the unemployed workers in you community first. Especially in this case, these people have lost so much and need the chance to regain what they can by being employed in their own community. It is almost like saying ” You lost your home, now go find a new home elsewhere cause you can’t work here”. That is just outrageously cruel.

  26. Sam says:

    Hi me nd my boys r wanting to help out wit your losses,my companies fairly new nd were still trying to prove ourselves so we give a 1000% effert.Used to work drilling rigs up in fort mac i feel very sorry for u name is Sam nd my number is 3068312304

    • Scott says:

      You want to come into Alberta to work??? 1000%???
      You cant even give a 2% “effert” on your grammar and spelling!
      If you can’t take the time to do this right you obviously wont take the time to do the job right. Stay In Sask and do your half assed job there. We need professionals.

  27. Lawrence Veitch says:

    this is so frickken stupid what the hell are you idiots thinking. give the people in FT Mack first dibs to clean up their town not some baffoon from advice ito you is get your heads out of your ass and think about the people there this totally pisses me off

  28. Tommy Mans says:

    You would think that since they are the one’s mostly affected by this disaster that they would be allowed the first opportunity and be given access to attend to their own healing in wake of all the destruction……

  29. Terry Pexton Densmore says:

    Asinine is the word for this incredible stupidity where individuals with the authority utilize it in such non productive manners with costs to our public purse. However I am not certain it is the elected who call the shots these days, but a combination of the lobbyist and the contributors. It is time to call bullshit. and take back the common sense discretion.

  30. Debra Hartman says:

    Well this is Bull Shit plain and simple. Why would you waste money bringing people in and when that money could be used to do a proper job. The people who live in the area will do the job correctly and on time. For all those who have these workers from Ontario, I have one suggestion bring in your own Building Inspector while they are rebuilding your home.

  31. Joseph Elvin MacKinnon says:

    I would much rather pay my labourer $13/hour to clean up than pay an electrician or plumber $70/hourFort Mac people need to work,I peleave harder than so out of town contractor.HOW are they to support their family if there is no work available.They are proud people who want to earn a living,NOT live on hand-outs!!

  32. J wright says:

    Only those living and working in ft Mac should be allowed to do clean up not contractors from Ottawa or anywhere else this is their community and their homes they will do the best job.nutley should not be sticking her nose into this .could this be the way the Feds and NDP will pay what they promised by paying those from Ottawa to do the work that the Albertans should be doing?? I guess the fires didn’t do enough damage so Nutley wants tO give work that is so badly needed to outsiders to finish the job I will never vote NDP

  33. Dave says:

    Give the people of Fort McMurray the chance to make some money off of their loss. Most I’m sure need to do it to stay focused on the future. And try to forget about the past.

  34. Vic Hyman says:

    Next they will be hiring foriegners to do your work. Don’t let it happen!!

    • Christopher says:

      They pretty much are, the workers are refugees, immigrants and addicts that are employed by job placement agencies at low wages and 4 to 5 worker to a room sleeping on the floor

  35. Derrick says:

    As disgusted as I am with the Alberta NDP and Trudeau with their handling of this fire, I’m almost as disgusted with mainstream news media for not holding government accountable on any of this, even the fire budget cuts. We shouldn’t need alternative online media to find this stuff out. The mainstream media outlets all keep patting the NDP on the back for their supposed ‘exemplary’ handling of this fire.

  36. Alberta workers are out of work, because of the fires, Now the Government wants to make them suffer more, by hiring out side workers. Who ever voted for them, be proud of the outcome.
    Must have been a lot of people, YOU MADE A BAD CHOICE, and the rest of us have to watch these 2 idiots, do a shifty job!

  37. Tanya says:

    I don’t know about the story, but there are so many errors in it about the government that I don’t trust the story. Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development is not overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. They are two completely separate ministries with different ministers. In 2013 the power to regulate the environmental aspects of the oil sands was taken away from ESRD and given to the new Alberta Energy Regulator. It reports formally to the Minister of Energy. So, there’s a whole lot of things fundamentally wrong with this reporting from the get go.

    • Avatar photo John Bleasby says:

      Tanya: You are free to agree, not agree, or ‘not know about’ the story. However, in the absence of any direct refutation by the parties mentioned in the article, I can only suggest you take up your argument with the Fort McMurray Construction Association and their CEO, who has been quoted in other media. Unless there is some legitimate basis proving he is being untruthful, the article remains as published. Thank you for your interest.

  38. John Eaton says:

    Definitely Trudeau’s fault!

  39. Linda says:

    I agree – Fort Mac should have first dibs at any jobs that come from this fire (as long as they are skilled to do the job).

  40. Donna Davey says:

    People from Alberta should be the ones to get the Jobs it’s there province,and they need the Jobs.Have mercy and help these people get on there feet. Not using all your rules, I gave my donation to people in Fort McMurray And that’s whom I want it to be used for.You can adjust your programs for there sake!!! My donations are for Fort McMurray. That’s too many rules for any one to follow,The people there should Have preeminance.

  41. D. Arcand says:

    Any work due to the fires should go to qualified Ft. MAC RESIDENTS, then to Albertans, then to companies outside Alberta but in Canada. Let’s look after our own first for once.

    • August Liivam says:

      Local ft residents should and must have the first opportunity to do the reclamation work even if you have to organize to prevent outside contractors and workers out of town. Stand up for your rights.

  42. Gary Wing says:

    I simply cannot understand why this gov’t agency is not allowing Ft McMurray contractors to help rebuild their own community. They live there, this would start to put Ft McMurrays economy back on its feet. Seems to me this is a ridiculous gov’t decision.

  43. Daniel says:

    Tradesmen should get off their high horse and clean their own mess up , enough of this ” I am to busy …or that’s below me ” most trades are bloody lazy anyhow , no you shouldn’t make 70 an hour for looking pretty but for the guys that have no problem getting their hands dirty some money and price of mind is better than just money , your a fool.

  44. D.L. says:

    1st who cut the budget on fire fighting contracts (NOTLEY)??
    ONLY a 10 billion mistake. All work should go to ft McMurry res 1st then put out to Alberta contractors, if poor work is done do you think a contractor from Ottawa is going to honour his work? (FAT CHANCE)

  45. Beverley says:

    This is ridiculous. Alberta First Period. This will not be tolerated by Alberta. The cost of what is proposed is beyond credibility. We the tax payers of Alberta wAnt our Province to rebuild our City. Politics be damned!

  46. Bree says:

    SRD does not exsist. Please use proper and new departments. It’s now called Alberta environment and parks. A simple Google search would have corrected you. Don’t bother writing for unless you check your sources. Also, Wikipedia is NOT a source.

    • Avatar photo John Bleasby says:

      Thank you for your comment sent in response to our story regarding the FMCA and its frustrations finding contract work post-fire.

      As I am sure you are aware, the ‘ESRD’ or ‘SRD’ has changed names and ministries several times in recent times. Nevertheless, Charles Iggulden, president of the FMCA refers to it as the ‘SRD’ in the original report, and in fact that may well have been its name when the registry to which he refers was established. The names, ministries, and acronyms are moving targets, as my google search concluded.

      The point of the article is not the name the Alberta government gives that area of responsibility today: it concerns the impact of contract policies on members of FMCA. I believe your interest should focus on that,as does ours.

      But to satisfy your comment, I have amended the article in an attempt to get the names right, although a programme with player names and numbers would be helpful at this point.

      Thank you for your interest.

  47. Questo says:

    Apparently there is a need for clean up in McMurray, the question remains, how this really start? Was this a terrorist act?
    Apparently terrorism acts seems to be the norm, worldwide these days.

    But the real clean up needs to start, is our politicians country wide, a large number of them are apparent puppets of lobbying criminals agencies using legislative laws to protect their criminals cronies. Some politicians let themselves be bought like prostitutes, and we the people can see their results, its like a movie, the evil soulless humans.

    Watch the link and see for your self, how our politicians aren’t incapable to look at the skies, when all these dangers chemicals have and are been sprayed on us all world wide. Do they know this stuff is going on?, I believe so, maybe they are even supported with our hard tax’s. So what should we call them? Should we demand answers from our politicians? All these aircraft spraying the skies aren’t doing for free. Someone or some government agency is paying for, where these founds are coming from?

    Some politicians either are criminals, or tools of crime, been deliberated toward the people. Our world is apparent seen of crime everywhere we look at it. And we want to call our selves intelligent and evolved human beings, how many are we in this level?

    Its more apparent the people have been and still be deceived in any shape or form, just for the financial and wealthy benefit of a few greed suckers.

    What kind a world we all leaving in?

  48. Godr Mock says:

    I have worked off and on in Fort McMurray for over 15 years, and have met people from all across Canada (As well as from many foreign Countries) Albertans have always aloud these people in without complaint. However We are not on an even playing field when we go outside of our province to work. That being said Fort McMurray is still inside of the Alberta border and therefore Albertans should be the first choice for any and all work with Fort McMurray residence being first choice. Keep the GD Gov’t the Hell out of it.

  49. Carrie says:

    Ummm and who’s going to guarantee their work. They can do a shitty job and leave. Do they have references? When is this NDP and Liberal nightmare going to end?

  50. Terry says:

    Nothing surprises me with our federal or provincial governments ant more and this is just another way and or attempt to screw over the people of our community. It would only make sense to use those licensed and qualified in our community first as they already have equipment there, but no let’s bring in God knows who and pay who knows what. Also just what kind of warranty are our people going to get when these companies are from outside the province and how many are going to disappear once paid? I can’t wait for our great city to start to rebuild bigger and better but am a little concerned about the process and who will be doing it.
    Fort McMurray Strong, Alberta Proud

  51. Mariano says:

    I live in fort McMurray I make this city my home town my house got burned to the ground I was having few jobs line up before the fire
    I know own many other contractor that working around all the time in fort McMurray
    As a local contractor and like many othere contractors we need to get back on our fit witch is important
    For local contractors
    I’m glad that the fort McMurray contractors be the first to be hired

  52. Coral says:

    Sounds familiar…Tervita got the contract to clean up in High River and left people’s homes in worse shape than they found them. That government contract saved them from going bankrupt – which they should have based on the work they did. What a waste of tax payers money. Beware of outsiders who don’t have a vested interest in your town like those of you who live there.

  53. Randy says:

    Born in fort mcmurray. 22 years ago an would love help clean up my hometown. Vary Quick. Learner here to get the job done an far from a slacker love working an staying busy an NEED the money for new steel toes an clothes lost all mine in the fire came to Edmonton with the clothes on my back

  54. This is horrendous to think Fort. McMurray would need any
    outside contractor to clean up and rebuild. Have we all lost our faculties to think that local is not practical. Bureaucrats
    never cease to amaze me and many others with their logic.

    The owners and the insurance companies should decide who and when the work gets done. Contractor price and
    commitment to an agreed on production schedule and progress payment arrangement for location property.

  55. Brad says:

    It’s funny nobody voted NDP, but yet they get a majority? Then we complain? Really? Get off the couch next time.

    • Ken says:

      You know I feel for you people in Fort Mac but (really) get your head out of your butt. Your getting charity from all over Canada and before Fort Mac burnt you gave nothing to no one. Your not the only people hurting you know. When the okanogan burnt what did Fort Mac give a big fat zero. Really begreatfull for what you do have and not what ( more ) you get. Good luck

      • Avatar photo Steve Payne says:

        Ken, I’m nominating you for the most mean-spirited post of the month.

      • Avatar photo John Bleasby says:

        Ken: I’m not sure if you wrote your comments after too many beers, a bad day at the dog races, or if you’re just a mean SOB 24/7. However, you’re lack of empathy for the thousands who find themselves homeless and jobless sets a new low bar. Fortunately, 99.999999% of Canadian don’t feel like you. Maybe the money you saved by not contributing to the Red Cross or other charities went to buying something useful for Canada….. like condoms, so there won’t be more people like you around.

  56. Logan choy says:

    I’m a single father unemployed and trying to do good and how people can we get a job to help clean how my supposed to survive in this country on the property line and raising a little girl on my own can someone help me please

  57. Christopher says:

    I applied to a posting by workforce out of Edmonton and was told that i have to be a resident of Edmonton. the pay is $15 hr… 4 to 5 workers in a room and have to sleep on the floor after a 12+ hr day 21 days in.. if you complain you will be forced to leave Fort Mac in a taxi back to Edmonton at your cost and your wage any monies owing is reduced to minimum wage… most of the homes would have been insured that would mean cleanup and rebuild..Canadians donated to red cross $30+million and government to match that so $60+million where is this money actually going? if most of the residential cleanup and rebuild is covered by insurance so this whole thing is a sham and Fort Mac is getting shafted big time

  58. Jackie says:

    What government Feds or provincial or insurance company hired you to come to Alberta to clean up when Alberta has so much unemployment — you easterners take take and take — and vote a pot headed ass to run our country

  59. Satish mudalagiriappa says:

    Dear Canada employers and Alberta Canada Govt,

    This is Satish Mudalagiriappa from India & i done my Diploma in Electrical Engineering and having 16 years of experience in the field of Electrical constructions works like Buildings sectors, Power plants, Power distribution works, Cable jointing and BMS works.

    I am ready to work in City /Rural power distribution and building electrification works.

    I got AIT certificate (Lapse at the moment) with WES assessment done Valied and Ielts of overall band 5.5 ( Validity lapse).

    Worked in Rebuilding of Afghanistan for 2 years under us army corps of engineers by company M/s. Contrack international inc, USA.

    Kindly provide me an opportunity for Indian Electrical engineer Satish.M in rebuilding Fort Mc Muccary project, Alberta, Canada.

    I will move immediately and will be on board.

    My contact No: +91-9740105768.
    Email :
    skype id : satishm_200

    Thanks & Regards,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.