Keeyask is a 695-megawatt electricity generating station and one of the largest construction projects ever in Manitoba.
The Keeyask Project is a collaborative effort between Manitoba Hydro and four Manitoba First Nations — Tataskweyak Cree Nation and War Lake First Nation (acting as the Cree Nation Partners), York Factory First Nation, and Fox Lake Cree Nation — working together as the Keeyask Hydropower Limited Partnership (KHLP).
Keeyask is a live-in work camp and work site with about 2,400 people in the middle of Northern Manitoba, in the Split Lake Resource Management Area, and within the ancestral homeland of all four partner First Nations.
The camp is about two hours drive from Gillam and about three hours from Thompson.
The Keeyask site includes the Main Camp, where most of the employees stay while they work at Keeyask, the Start-up Camp, where another 195 people stay and the Work Site that includes the access roads, the north and south dykes, the south dam, the spillway, the central dam, the powerhouse, the service bay, the north dam and the processing and construction lay-down areas.
Two rules govern life at Keeyask: safety and respect.
There is more about work safety in Module 7: Safety First
Everyone comes to Keeyask to work — to do their job well and safely. Everyone in camp has the right to do their job and live in an atmosphere of respect and without fear.
Each person at Keeyask is part of the community and every individual either makes it better or worse. Everyone should be respected for who they are. The best way to succeed is to take care of yourself, respect the camp space, be part of creating a positive environment and help out where it makes sense.
Safety, as it relates to camp life is about everyone’s personal safety and security as they move around camp, and about being fit for work while you’re here.
Sodexo security staff are in place throughout camp. They help make sure the rules are followed and people are safe. If an incident occurs at camp, alert security in person or call: 204-778-4940. Keeyask ID card gives you access to areas of camp, like the theatres, the gym and the dining room. You will need to keep it with you at all times to move around camp.
Illegal drugs and marijuana are not allowed at Keeyask, except your own prescription drugs. Having, or using anything besides your prescription, will get you kicked out of camp, which usually means you will also lose your job. Dogs trained to detect drug odor are used every day at Keeyask, so you can expect to see them.
Designated Smoking Areas
Smoking cigarettes or electronic cigarettes (vaping) is not allowed indoors anywhere at Keeyask. There are designated smoking areas outdoors. Anyone who tampers with a smoke detector anywhere at Keeyask will receive a camp occurrence and may be evicted up to one year.
No Guests (sorry)
Personal guests, family members and children are not allowed at Keeyask.
Stay in the Ring
Due to sometimes harsh weather conditions and wildlife, employees are not allowed to walk around Keeyask beyond the camp ring road.
There is a Harassment & Discrimination Free Standard at Keeyask. The goal we all share is to create a respectful workplace. You can see the full policy here.
It says that all persons are valued and treated with respect and dignity. No one should be discriminated against, harassed, sexually harassed, or physically harmed in any way by another person.
Discrimination means: unfairly treating a person or a group of people differently from other people, whether favourably or unfavourably, on the basis of a characteristic protected under the Human Rights Act, such as race, gender, age, religion or disability
Harassment means: abusive or unwelcome conduct or comments made on the basis of a protected characteristic.
Sexual harassment means: any conduct, comment, gesture, or contact involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.
Keeyask has a Violence-Free Standard, where all persons maintain a safe and secure workplace and any form of violence is strictly prohibited.
If you experience harassment or discrimination at site, you can email your concerns to: RESPECT@HYDRO.MB.CA or you can call 204-360-5737. All communication is confidential.
You can also seek help from others, like Employment Retention and Support Services, Site Liaison staff of Manitoba Hydro, Keeyask Cree Nation Site Reps, your supervisor/manager, your union rep or a trusted person at site.
Aboriginal Awareness Training:
Keeyask is a Partnership between Manitoba Hydro and the four partner First Nations on whose territory the work is being done. It is important that everyone at Keeyask, no matter where they are from, learn some of the culture and history of the people of these lands. The one-day mandatory Aboriginal Awareness Training delivered by Employee Retention and Support Services gives everyone this basic information.
Most people at Keeyask do fine most of the time, but like anywhere, people face different challenges at different times.
There are many supports available for employees at Keeyask who are dealing with a problem.
If you are looking for support related to your job, the first step is to talk to your supervisor.
If that doesn’t work for you:
Nearly every employee on site also must belong to a trade union. These unions, known collectively as the Allied Hydro Council, assist and advocate on behalf of their members in enforcing the collective agreement (outlines the terms and conditions of employment) and improving worker rights. They also represent members if they believe they’ve been treated unfairly. For more information you can talk to an Allied Hydro Council site representative or visit www.mbtrades.ca.
Employee Retention and Support Services are available to all employees at Keeyask. They offer private and professional services like:
- Family and Marital Counseling
- Addiction Support Services
- Anger Management
- Money Management
- Grief and Loss Support
If you work for Sodexo, you also have access to their private and professional Employee Assistance Program.
Each partner First Nation community has a representative at Keeyask. If you are a member of one of these communities, you can contact your Keeyask Cree Nation site rep for support. Either call your local band administration office or the Keeyask Site Liaison office at 204-778-3910.
Respecting the camp:
Everyone shares the public spaces at Keeyask, so there are rules to keep the space in good condition and well organized. For example:
- Bags are not allowed in the dining room. There is storage space next to the entrance to leave gear.
- Outdoor footwear is not worn in camp. There is a boot room near the front door for outdoor footwear and gear.
- Lidded cups are not allowed in the theatres or gym. It’s best to bring a personal water bottle from home.
There are lots of things to do at Keeyask. As long as people follow the rules, the amenities are available to everyone. They are:
Theatres — See sports events and /or movies, every day. See the listings on the board outside the theatres.
Gym — There is a full-sized indoor gymnasium with a walking / running track, an exercise area with free weights and machines, and a sauna. The gym is open from 3:30 AM to 10:00 PM every day. Fitness trainers are available and classes are listed outside the gym
Entertainment Centre — There are pinball and video games, pool tables, a library and computer stations and more for your use, for free. It is open from 6:30 AM to 10:00 AM and from 2:00 PM to midnight every Monday to Saturday. On Sunday they are open from 6:30 AM to midnight.
Commissary — There are two commissaries (stores) at Keeyask where you can buy snack food, pop, personal products (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.), some room products (towels, etc), cigarettes and vape, and some clothing. One commissary is near reception and open from 4:30 AM to 8:00 AM every day. The entertainment commissary is open Monday to Saturday from 3:30 PM to 9:30 PM and Sunday from 2:00 PM to 9:30 PM. They accept cash, credit cards and debit cards.
Lounge — The lounge is open every day from 4:30 PM to 9:30 PM. There is food service and liquor service at the lounge. You have to pay for the food and liquor in the lounge and they only accept credit or debit cards. Liquor sales are limited to three drinks per person, per day.
Kitchen — The kitchen opens at 5:00 AM and closes at 8 PM everyday. They ask you to leave if you stay beyond 9:00 PM. The grab and go area is open 24 hours a day.
Sweat Lodge — Have you ever been to a sweat? There is a Sweat Lodge at site that is available to everyone. Traditional sweats are for people who are looking to clear their mind, clean their heart, heal their body and free their spirit. It’s a great experience that you won’t find just anywhere.
Sweats are usually held twice a month (one for day shift, one for night shift). Employee Retention and Support Services sends out a schedule every month of sweats, meetings and other events.