Red Deer RCMP say they have uncovered a large-scale fraud involving the making and selling of counterfeit safety certificates such as first-aid training and hydrogen sulphide awareness.
Investigators believe the fake certificates have been distributed across Alberta and possibly Western Canada.
"It was important to release this information as the investigation suggests there could be thousands of counterfeit certificates issued over a lengthy period," RCMP said in a news release Thursday.
"This is a complex investigation, with several agencies involved."
RCMP are investigating individuals behind the certificates which include, but are not limited to, H2S Alive and First Aid/CPR. Two of the major certification organizations affected are Energy Safety Canada and the Canadian Red Cross, police say.
The Red Cross is deeply concerned by the news, said Jenn McManus, Canadian Red Cross vice-president for Alberta and Northwest Territories.
"Fraudulent certificates means that training was not completed, which puts the safety and wellbeing of people in workplaces at risk," said McManus in the release.
Falsifying safety certificates is a significant concern for the oil and gas industry, said Murray Elliott, president and CEO of Energy Safety Canada.
"Safety training is one of many critical layers of controls in the industry," Elliott said in the release. "Ensuring workers are properly trained and certificates are valid is a priority."
Genuine certificates have several security features and can be validated through the respective agencies, he added.
H2S Alive and First Aid/CPR certificates must be renewed every three years and employers are encouraged to validate all certificates dated 2018 and newer, the release said.