Myth vs. Fact: Canadian Oil Sands Development Increases Cancer Rates

MYTH: Canadian oil sands development has damaged the lives of thousands of indigenous people by increasing cancer rates as a result of carbon emissions and decimating pristine lands – making their traditional way of life almost impossible to continue.

FACT: In its 2010 report on the oil sands[1], the Royal Society of Canada investigated health concerns related to oil sands development and determined that, “There is currently no credible evidence of environmental contaminant exposures from oil sands reaching Fort Chipewyan at levels expected to cause elevated human cancer rates…Environmental contaminants at current levels of exposure are unlikely to cause major health impacts for the general population. Projected additional emissions from expanded operations are not likely to change this expectation.”

Oil sands development is creating significant opportunities for aboriginal populations. In 2010, companies active in the oil sands contracted more than $1.3 billion for goods and services from Aboriginal-owned businesses. There were more than 1,700 Aboriginal employees in permanent oil sands operation jobs in the same year.[2]

[1] The Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel: Environmental and Health Impacts of Canada’s Oil Sands Industry, December 2010

[2] Oil Sands Developers Group, Oil sands Facts, 2011


  1. […] activists have sought to tie oil sands development to cancer for decades – notwithstanding findings from  the Royal Society of Canada  that “there is currently no credible evidence” linking […]

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