In February 2023, Imperial Oil’s Kearl facility spilled 5.3 million litres of toxic waste – equivalent to two Olympic-sized swimming pools – into nearby lands and waters. This disaster exemplifies the failure of tar sands companies to responsibly manage their toxic waste. 

Only after this spill, downstream Indigenous communities, including Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation, were notified of a second leak from the same facility – one that had been ongoing for nine months. These communities rely on the area for harvesting food and medicines and already experience severe health issues, like high rates of cancer and respiratory diseases.

This isn't the first time oil companies in the tar sands have shown a blatant disregard for human and environmental health.

The high-profile incidents at Imperial Oil’s mine add to the decades of evidence that tar sand mining leads to contamination of rivers, groundwater, air and boreal forest. With every release, the industry further jeopardizes human health and violates Indigenous rights.

Sign-On to Help Hold Tar Sands Companies Accountable.

In response, Environmental Defence Canada, Keepers of the Water and Indigenous Climate Action, alongside other environmental organizations, sent a letter with a set of demands for the Alberta and federal government. 

Demands include: 
•    shutting down Imperial Oil’s Kearl facility until the impacted Indigenous nations consent to a restart based on proof that the leak has been stopped;
•    bringing charges against Imperial Oil under relevant federal and provincial laws;
•    providing funding for an Indigenous-led health study;
•    requiring  tar sands companies to develop scientifically rigorous clean up plans for their tailings waste that are approved by the impacted Indigenous nations.

Add your voice in solidarity with Indigenous communities impacted by the tar sands toxic waste. Enough is enough. This decades-long toxic takeover of the environment and Indigenous lands must not go unchecked.

This letter is a joint effort of Environmental Defence, Keepers of the Water and Indigenous Climate Action. Your information will be shared with all three organizations and your signature counted, to demonstrate the growing collective support.

Your letter will go to: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister and The Honourable Danielle Smith, Premier of Alberta Cc: The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Environment and Climate Change Minister and The Honourable Rebecca Schulz, Alberta Minister of Environment and Protected Areas



Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.


LETTER Show/ Hide

Prime Minister of Canada
Prime Minister
Premier of Alberta