A construction company contracted by Epcor has fired an employee after workers disrupted a smudging ceremony outside a southeast Edmonton school last week.
Wilco Contractors Northwest, issuing a statement on the company’s official Twitter account Tuesday, said employees working on a dry pond project near Edith Rogers School made racist comments and disrespectful actions towards participants at the ceremony.
Wilco takes action to combat racism following Edith Rogers School incident
— Wilco Contractors NW (@work4wilco) September 29, 2020
On Saturday, a Twitter user identifying as a teacher at Edith Rogers School, said construction workers “revved their engines and yelled racial insults at staff and students” while the school hosted a smudging ceremony Friday.
“ On September 25, we let down the community,” the company tweeted Tuesday. “We apologize unreservedly to the students and staff who were hurt by these actions. We take full responsibility for what occurred, and we are taking concrete action to ensure this never happens again.”
The company said it undertook an internal and external review and terminated a staff member who was involved. It also announced it will be implementing cultural and Indigenous awareness training.
“T o support the broader community, we are pleased to be joining Epcor and Sureway Construction Group in jointly funding a $30,000 donation to the Edmonton Public School Board’s Amiskwaciy Academy,” read the Twitter statement.
Arthur Mann, president and CEO of Wilco Contracting, said the company has terminated one staff member and are continuing to review documentation of the event.
He said the company has sent a personal apology to the school, students and parents involved as well as Grand Chief Billy Morin.