Alberta gov't, RM say Fort McMurray businesses getting 80 per cent of rebuild

EDMONTON – The Alberta government says Fort McMurray employers have received four out of every five contracts to rebuild the fire-damaged community.

Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous says of the 532 contracts signed by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes the city of Fort McMurray, about 80 per cent are with local employers.

Any business that is either locally owned or employs people in the Fort McMurray area is considered a local employer.

Bilous says businesses from outside the region are given contracts only if there are no local businesses to do the work.

He says these are usually for complex projects that require specific expertise not available locally.

The Fort McMurray Construction Association has complained that workers from the community are being overlooked for jobs, such as trucking supplies to the city.

“It’s frustrating to see misinformation out there about the great work being done by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo,” Bilous said in a news release.

“The contracting for recovery and cleanup is being led from Fort McMurray by residents of Fort McMurray, and they have done an excellent job of ensuring local employers are being used whenever possible.”

Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake also said local companies and employees are spearheading recovery efforts.

“Over 80 per cent of the contracts signed so far have been with local employers, and we will be reaching out to many more local businesses in the coming days and weeks,” Blake said in a news release.

“I encourage any Wood Buffalo business owner who wants to help to visit and fill out our offer of assistance form.”