Operating responsibly, sustainably and respecting aboriginal communities
Responsible Operations: The Orca Quarry team has an exceptional "Safety First" approach evidenced by two safety awards from the Province of British Columbia in the first three years of operation. These awards were for zero lost time accidents in over 100,000 labour hours of operation in the year. The focus on safety begins with an exceptional commitment to on-site training with thousands of training hours being provided each year covering subjects such as: safe operation of fixed and mobile plant; first aid; and mine rescue, with many courses presented by external instructors which ensures that the most up to date knowledge is available. As further evidence of the Orca team's safety culture, many quarry employees hold certifications such as the BC Mine Rescue Certificate, the Saint John Ambulance First Aid Certificate, and the BC Shift boss Certification.
Sustainable Operations: Modern views of sustainability require consideration of the "three pillars" - Economic, Social and Environmental. Orca Sand & Gravel contributes to the economic strength of northern Vancouver Island through millions of dollars spent locally each year for payroll, taxes and for the supply of goods and services which always favours local businesses and residents. The social pillar recognizes that the quarry team is a truly diverse group - at least half of our employees are First Nation, approximately one third are female and all are local to the area. Industry leading environmental design ensures that the forestry operations present before quarry development will be gradually re-established through progressive reclamation and that there are no adverse impacts to the marine environment. The Company has won two major awards for environmental responsibility.
An environmental management system modeled on the internationally recognized ISO 14001 standard was developed specifically for Orca Sand & Gravel by an environment specialist ensuring that all environmental impacts are monitored, controlled and, where appropriate, experience is used to continuously improve the system. The Company minimizes its impacts on the environment, heating its buildings with furnaces that run on waste oil; using a modern filtering system to reclaim oils wherever possible; and collecting all other wastes for safe disposal off site.
Respectful relationships with our indigenous partners: Polaris has been recognized for the progessive way the business was developed through positive, open and respectful communication with indigenous populations that began with an acknowledgement of their aboriginal rights. The Company respects the rights, diversity and heritage of indigenous peoples and their integral connection to the land. Many of our subsidiary companies have directors representing our First Nation partners, ensuring a continuation of the open relationship as the business develops.