Nova Scotia

Complaints build against N.S. oilsands employment company

Complaints are building around a Nova Scotia company claiming to help people find work on the oilsands in Alberta
Alberta Oil Sands Employment said it puts clients' names in an online database for prospective employers in the oilsands. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Complaints are building against a Nova Scotia company claiming to help people find work on the oilsands in Alberta.

For around $200, Alberta Oil Sands Employment, run by Bruce McNeil, offers drug tests, safety training, information and an opportunity to put clients' names in an online database for prospective employers in the oilsands.

But some people have complained to both the Better Business Bureau and the RCMP that they haven't received any services for their money.

In April, 17-year-old Blake Ripley said he paid $229 to Alberta Oil Sands Employment and was told he would receive information and training to work out west.

"I was asking them because I'm just going into Grade 12. I asked what they need, because I want to be an engineer," Ripley said.

"They never sent me a single email. To this day I don't have an email from them."

The RCMP are investigating complaints from Ripley and at least five others.

The Better Business Bureau has also received six complaints and issued the business an "F" rating.

Last week, Ripley won a judgment against McNeil in small claims court.

Industry workers in Alberta have also raised concerns about the employment company.

Travis Davies, spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said he has never heard of McNeil's Alberta oilsands database.

"I'm certainly not aware of one. Most companies that do have labour needs, they'll go out into the market and search out requirements themselves," he said.

Suncor Energy Inc. told CBC News that even if a database did exist, they would never use it.

McNeil was not available for comment.

The company said a representative would be available for comment on Thursday.