The Energy Council of Canada named Chief Jim Boucher of the Fort McKay First Nation, and Chairman of the Fort McKay Group of Companies, the 2018 Canadian Energy Person of the Year. The Globe and Mail photo by Shawn McCarthy.

Chief Jim Boucher to be honoured on Thursday, November 15 in Calgary

Chief Jim Boucher, the leader of the Fort McKay First Nation and Chairman of the Fort McKay Group of Companies has been named the Canadian Energy Person of the Year by the Energy Council of Canada (ECC).

The ECC says Boucher is being recognized for his accomplishments in business, along with his community leadership.

In an ECC press release, Chief Boucher was described as “a foundational leader in his community and in the development of Canada’s oil sands”.  He was recently named one of the 50 most powerful people in Canadian business by the Report on Business Magazine.

Last November, the Fort McKay First Nation along with the Mikisew Cree Nation bought a 49 per cent stake in Suncor’s East Tank Farm Development for total proceeds of $503 million.

The ECC described the deal as a “transaction built upon on a foundation of trust and collaboration and serves as a model for how First Nations and resource development companies can work together to achieve mutual long-term benefit.”

As board chairman of the Fort McKay Group of Companies, Boucher has developed and sustained successful First Nation-owned businesses that create economic wealth and opportunities for his people.

And under Chief Boucher’s leadership, Fort McKay was recently recognized by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business as the Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation of the Year.

In 25 years, the Fort McKay Group of Companies has evolved and grown from a single janitorial contract to a thriving conglomeration of First Nation 100 per cent majority-owned businesses.  The group provides services under long term contracts in heavy equipment operations, warehouse logistics, roads & grounds maintenance, environmental services and land leasing operations.

Jacob Irving, ECC President said “The Energy Council of Canada’s nominating committee, board of directors and entire membership have long admired Chief Boucher’s tenacity and measured approach to both community and economic development”.

In the past five years, the companies earned an average gross annual revenue of $1.7 billion.  Fort McKay First Nation currently has no unemployment and reports a per capita average annual income of $73,500, which is higher than both the Alberta and Canada average.

“He has helped see not only his people but also Alberta and the rest of Canada, through intense change toward greater prosperity”, said Irving.

According to the ECC, Chief Boucher has built relationships with the oil and gas industry and all levels of government, and as a result, Fort McKay’s social and economic strength has been boosted.  Boucher has also facilitated proper consultation and advanced the rights of his community.

Under Chief Boucher’s leadership, Fort McKay now offers a multitude of services such as a heath care centre, family support centre, continuing care facility, youth centre, broadcast station, and a community arena.

The ECC says “a foremost characteristic of the nominee is their strong sense of social responsibility and their commitment to give back to the community”.  Nominees must focus on environmental and social issues as well as economic development.

“Their forward thinking and innovative spirit enable these leaders to promote the Canadian energy sector and Canada’s role in the world energy market.”

Boucher will be honoured on November 15 at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary.