Rio Tinto Aluminium increased investment in various initiatives across British Columbia by 10 per cent in 2021. The company provided more than $2.2 million in funding to 38 organizations working in the fields of cultural heritage, community, education, health and wellbeing, inequalities reduction and the environment — primarily in the Kitimat-Terrace area and the Nechako Watershed.
Those contributions included funding from the Rio Tinto Aluminium Canada Fund, the Nechako Environmental Enhancement Fund, BC Works’ own budget as well as in kind donations.
Rio Tinto spokesperson Simon Letendre said several of those projects are directly benefiting the communities of Vanderhoof, Fort St James and Fraser Lake.
Schools in all three communities are participating in the Rio Tinto Breakfast Club of Canada partnership.
The company also contributes to career, trades, STEM programs and activities at the Nechako School District and to Yell Canada’s iCUBED professional development summit for students.
In the area of environment the UNBC’s Industrial Chair on Climate Change and Water Security research funded by Rio Tinto benefits Nechako Watershed. Rio Tinto also funded hatchery upgrades at Spruce City Wildlife.
Rio Tinto provided funding through Carrier Sekani Family Services, Nadleh Whut’en First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation for a healing ceremony at the Lejac Residential School site to honour the children uncovered at the Kamloops Residential School — and all whose lives have been impacted by residential schools.
The company also helped fund the Vanderhoof Youth Centre through Carrier Sekani Family Services, the neighbour link best moms and dads program, the Omineca Chamber of Commerce and a safehouse in the community.
Rio Tinto funds yearly operations for the Sturgeon Hatcher at the Vanderhoof Conservation Centre.
Investments also supported scholarships for local graduating students moving on to post-secondary and UNBC research on climate change and water security in the Nechako Watershed.
A summer student development program through the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC helped with brood capture, research support and outreach to promote the re-establishment of the Nechako White Sturgeon.T hat includes funding for a summer intern and student development program at Vanderhoof Freshwater Fisheries.
Support for healthcare initiatives included funding for the Centre for Technology Adoption for Aging in the North, which researches and implements new technologies in care homes and dementia care centres.
The Mountainview Lodge Mobility Project also purchased a fully accessible shuttle bus to offer outings and recreational activities for elderly residents in Kitimat. Rio Tinto also funds Santa’s Anonymous in Fort Fraser and Fraser Lake.