Western Canadian Spill Services is the upstream petroleum industry's spill preparedness organization with a jurisdictional area that includes 18 oil spill cooperatives; 1 in northeast British Columbia and 17 in Alberta with VR1 extending into Saskatchewan. The organization is largely volunteer-based with a Board of Directors drawn from the shareholders; Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC), independent and Pipeline Companies.

At the Oil Spill Cooperative level, WCSS has a volunteer Executive Sub-Committee (Provincial Chairman and six members), Cooperative Chairmen/Alternate Chairmen and a steering committee. Contract service providers include Cooperative Administrators and in some cases Equipment Custodians.

The goal of the organization is to work collectively (approx 600 upstream petroleum companies) to cost effectively prepare for upstream product spills and meet the regulatory spill preparedness requirements. 


WCSS believes that it is the best interest of our shareholders, participating companies and the petroleum industry in general to maintain initial spill response teams at the Cooperative level.

This is a request for your company's consideration to identify an employee(s) to participate in the area WCSS Oil Spill Cooperative "Initial Spill Response Team". The following is a brief outline of the program (additional detail on WCSS' website ISRT Guideline):


WCSS participating companies appoint an employee(s) to participate on a voluntary basis to assist another member company with initial spill response (upstream petroleum product release) and/or the lead regulator with a spill of unknown origin.


  • Individuals that participate on behalf of their company receive a higher level of spill preparedness training and are an asset to their own company should a spill occur.
  • In the event of a complex spill where resources are stretched there is a significant advantage to have a group of volunteers that can assist with initial response while the responsible party ramps- up.
  • Effective spill response will benefit the overall industry; help to gain public confidence and foster support from regulators and members of the emergency response community.


  • Participants must successfully complete (certification) the self-study Spill Responder training course and participate in the annual Cooperative oil spill training exercises. In some cases participants are invited to attend other advanced spill related training courses (i.e. Boat Handling, Incident Commander for Oil Spills). WCSS pays for course registration fees and will provide the self-study Spill Responder course manual; WCSS does not pay for direct expenses for attending training programs.
  • It is envisioned that within 24 hours of the initial spill response the responsible party will have their own staff and contractors on-site to manage the incident and the initial spill response team volunteers are released.


The ISRT is not in place to direct or take charge at an incident; they are in place to assist in the operational area of the Incident Command System (ICS). The command, safety and public information role is the responsibility of the responsible party or the lead regulator.

ISRT members are volunteers and are on site on behalf of the company that has volunteered their services. The ISRT guideline is clear; no work will be undertaken without a hazard assessment and safety controls in place and if there is unacceptable risk associated with an activity no work will be undertaken.


The process to provide a volunteer is to contact the Cooperative Administrator (see www.wcss.ab.ca) of the respective WCSS Oil Spill Cooperative and declare an interest in participating on the team. The Cooperative Administrator will review the volunteer list with the Cooperative Chairman, candidates will be approved and the Administrator will advise and obtain contact information.


If you have questions related to this important initiative, please contact Shannon Jarrell, WCSS Training & Communications Coordinator  (shannon.jarrell@wcss.ab.ca) at (587) 393-9622, or any one of the WCSS Executive Committee members.