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New Agreement marks Step Forward in Connecting First Nation Communities to the Electricity Grid

News Release

New Agreement marks Step Forward in Connecting First Nation Communities to the Electricity Grid

Wataynikaneyap Power Signs Partnership Agreement with Fortis-RES

Ministry of Energy

Today Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli was in Thunder Bay to witness a signing ceremony for an agreement between Wataynikaneyap Power, a partnership of 20 Ontario First Nation communities, and Fortis-RES, an electricity transmitter.

This agreement demonstrates progress towards Ontario's plan to connect 16 remote First Nations communities that currently rely on diesel power to the electricity grid. Reducing or eliminating high-cost diesel use would lessen harmful emissions, strengthen local economies, create well-paying jobs and bring lasting socio-economic benefits for generations to come.

Connecting remote First Nation communities to the provincial power grid is a priority in Ontario's Long Term Energy Plan. Ontario will continue to explore innovative solutions for supplying electricity including consideration for on-site renewables, micro-grids and conservation in these communities.

Ontario's participation in the Pan-Canadian Task Force, established with partner provinces and territories to reduce the use of diesel fuel for remote communities, will assist in advancing the work that has been undertaken to reduce diesel use in remote First Nation communities.

Ontario welcomes future federal government partnership and engagement to ensure fair and equitable funding to support grid connection where it is economical.

Connecting remote communities to the electricity grid is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic and innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • There are 25 remote First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario that currently rely on diesel power.
  • In Canada, there are nearly 300 off-grid communities with a total population of approximately 200,000 people. Of these sites, approximately 175 are indigenous communities (First Nations, Innu, Inuit or Métis) with approximately 130,000 residents.

Additional Resources

Quotes

Bob Chiarelli

“Ontario is committed to helping remote communities reduce their reliance on high-cost diesel fuel, lowering costs over time and yielding tremendous socio-economic benefits. I am pleased to continue to provide support to enhance opportunities to benefit from planned transmission expansion in Northwestern Ontario.”

Bob Chiarelli

Minister of Energy

“Our people's vision is to own, control and benefit from major infrastructure development in our homelands. Through this partnership, we are changing the landscape of how First Nations can do business into the future. Together we have reached a major milestone towards getting our communities off diesel generation, and improving the socio-economic situation for everyone's benefit. We acknowledge the ongoing commitment from the Province of Ontario to connect remote First Nations to the provincial grid, and thank Minister Chiarelli and his colleagues for their continued strong support.”

Margaret Kenequanash

Chair of Wataynikaneyap Power

Media Contacts

  • Jordan Owens

    Minister's Office

    jordan.owens@ontario.ca

    416-325-2690

  • Lynn Wong

    Communications Branch

    lynn.wong@ontario.ca

    416-326-4542

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Environment and Energy Rural and North