Backwoods Energy Services is the largest Indigenous-owned business in northwestern Alberta and a leading service provider for utilities, forestry and oil and gas companies in Western Canada. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Backwoods has been in operation for more than 30 years and was acquired by the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation in 2015. We spoke with Paul Poscente, President and CEO of Backwoods, to find out more about the company and the work it’s doing for Trans Mountain.

How does Backwoods help support Indigenous workers?

We are owned by the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. In addition to being the largest employer of Alexis band members, we also support employment of other nations. Of the nearly 200,000 hours of Indigenous employment, 50 per cent come from Alexis and the remainder come from other nations.

We are the largest independent source of income at Alexis and also support our Indigenous community with scholarships, summer student programs, co-op programs, community support and in-kind work. In addition, we are very excited to launch our First Time Home Ownership Program for Indigenous employees.

On November 28, 2019, we were honoured to receive Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Culture Award. This prestigious award recognizes best-in-class Canadian organizations scored in six categories: vision and leadership, recruitment and hiring for fit, cultural alignment and measurement, retention rewards and recognition, organizational performance and corporate social responsibility.

You can read more about the award here.

How long have you been working with Trans Mountain?

We’ve been a core contractor with Trans Mountain since 2014 and were honored in 2017 with the company’s National Safety Award. We conduct civil works for Trans Mountain’s Pipeline and Right-of-Way Maintenance Program. This work has included excavation, abrasive blasting, pipe coating, clearing and brushing, as well as reclamation projects.

Are you involved with any work on the Expansion Project?

We are excited to be working on the Expansion Project, which will provide important work for our employees. We are providing and installing all access and rig mats for Spread 1 (Greater Edmonton) and Spread 2 (Yellowhead). The mats serve as a portable platform used to support equipment being used in construction and may also be used as a structural roadway to provide passage over unstable ground, pipelines and more.