Petro-Canada lays off 200 in oilsands

CALGARY — About 200 Petro-Canada workers across Alberta are being laid off, the latest victims of faltering energy prices that have crippled development in the once booming oilsands industry.

CALGARY — About 200 Petro-Canada workers across Alberta are being laid off, the latest victims of faltering energy prices that have crippled development in the once booming oilsands industry.

The permanent, full-time employees worked on the $24-billion Fort Hills oilsands project north of Fort McMurray, which was shelved late last year, said spokeswoman Kelli Stevens.

“As time goes on there’s just simply less and less work to do there,” she said.

“We’re in a situation now where we have more people than we have work for them to do, and we’ve had to do something about that.”

As many people as possible were redirected to other projects, she said. Most of those who lost their jobs were based in Calgary and Fort McMurray, although a few were from other communities.

She stressed that the layoffs are in no way related to the company’s pending merger with Suncor (TSX:SU).

The job losses are a drop in the bucket compared to overall cuts so far by the oilsands industry, said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.

“These are not the first layoffs in the oilsands and they certainly won’t be the last,” he said. “We think it’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

About 12,000 front-line oilsands employees are currently looking for work, McGowan said. The cuts have followed a dramatic plunge that has seen oil lose two-thirds of its value from record highs last summer.

“Petro-Canada is not the only major energy company that has postponed or cancelled a major oilsands project, so my guess is that other companies are either in the process of making similar layoffs or contemplating them in the near future,” McGowan said.

“Six months from now, the figure of 200 job losses will probably seem like small potatoes compared to what we will see.”

McGowan said $22 billion was spent on oilsands construction last year and there had been grand plans for another $24 billion in spending this year. The economic downturn shrunk that figure closer to $6 billion.

Just Posted

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Privacy issue with online pot sales after legalization needs watching: experts

TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational… Continue reading

Range of reactions to possible holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

The federal government’s intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering… Continue reading

Wildfire smoke from B.C. gets in the way of mountain scenery for tourists

JASPER, Alta. — Smoke from wildfires that’s blanketing parts of Alberta does… Continue reading

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

The once meat-dominated world of fast-food and casual restaurants is starting to… Continue reading

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month