First Nation and Métis Communities
Participation in the energy sector helps strengthen the economic development of First Nation and Métis communities. Ontario is committed to ensuring that First Nation and Métis communities are consulted on any energy projects that could potentially affect their Aboriginal or treaty rights.
To ensure these communities can engage and participate in ways that align with their unique community needs and interests, Ontario expects new transmission line developers to work with First Nation and Métis communities on proposed projects.
Ontario will launch the Aboriginal Transmission Fund (ATF) which will help First Nation and Métis communities complete the due diligence required before becoming involved in new transmission line projects. The fund will help Aboriginal communities fully assess the economic and long-term benefits associated with proposed transmission partnerships.
Ontario has brought in a range of policies and programs over the past four years to increase the involvement of First Nation and Métis communities in the energy sector and encourage participation in transmission, distribution and conservation initiatives:
- The Aboriginal Energy Partnerships Program was established to help communities plan and participate in the development of electricity infrastructure, such as hydroelectric generating stations.
- The Feed-in Tariff program has taken steps to encourage Aboriginal involvement in renewable energy projects.
- The Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program expanded to $400 million in 2012. The program ensures that future First Nation and Métis partnerships on clean generation and transmission projects have access to loan guarantees.
- Aboriginal Community Energy Plans support the energy planning activities of First Nation and Métis communities, including the identification of needs, interests and opportunities for conservation, as well as small-scale renewable generation projects.
Connecting remote northwestern First Nation communities to the electricity grid is a priority. First Nation communities are active partners in proposals to develop and build a new transmission line to Pickle Lake and integrate this with connecting remote communities. The Ontario Power Authority has released a draft Remote Community Connection Plan and is engaging participating communities to update and finalize the plan by the end of the year. Ontario will work with the federal government to connect remote First Nation communities to the electricity grid or explore on-site alternatives for the few remaining communities when there may be more cost-effective solutions to reduce diesel use.