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Preparing Remote First Nation Communities for Grid Connection

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Preparing Remote First Nation Communities for Grid Connection

Ontario Launches Remote Electrification Readiness Program

Ministry of Indigenous Affairs

Ontario is helping to prepare remote First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario for future connection to the province's electricity grid.

The Remote Electrification Readiness Program will support the development of community readiness plans. These plans will help eligible communities identify opportunities for job-specific training, relevant health programs, business innovation mentoring and economic development supports.

Connecting remote First Nations to the province's electricity grid was identified as a priority under Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan. This initiative supports strong and healthy communities by:

  • Reducing barriers to growth
  • Increasing economic development opportunities, including participation in the work to join the grid, new business initiatives made possible by greater access to grid-connected power and the potential to invest in future feed-in tariff projects.
  • Improving social and living conditions for residents.
  • Providing cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reducing the likelihood of diesel fuel leaks and spills.

This initiative will help to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, connecting up to 21 diesel-reliant First Nations could result in savings of about $1 billion over the next 40 years compared to continuing with diesel generation.

This program is an important first step. Ontario needs the federal government's commitment and cooperation to continue our progress.

Working with First Nations in Ontario supports the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • Applications are being accepted through Grants Ontario until November 14, 2014.
  • The 2014 Budget committed $3 million over three years to the Remote Electrification Readiness Program.
  • The Ontario Power Authority released an updated draft Remote Community Connection Plan and is engaging participating communities to finalize the plan in the near future.
  • There are 25 remote First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario that currently rely on diesel power.
  • Diesel engines emit particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and air pollutants. This can contribute to smog and adversely impact human health and the environment.
  • A large, diesel-powered community produces more than 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents a year. Connecting such a community to Ontario’s transmission system is like taking almost 2,300 cars off the road.

Additional Resources


“Connecting these remote First Nation communities to the provincial grid will constitute one of the largest expansions of Ontario’s northern transmission infrastructure in decades. This program is a vital starting point, but we need the federal government’s commitment and cooperation so we can keep moving forward. I look forward to working with them.”

David Zimmer

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

“The Remote Electrification Readiness Program is a step in the right direction for many NAN First Nations, especially our remote communities. This funding will make sure that we are prepared to fully benefit from new transmission projects in our territory. We look forward to working together with the Government of Ontario.”

Harvey Yesno

Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation

“Connecting Ontario's remote northwestern First Nation communities is a priority for the Province. Responsibility for electricity service in remote First Nation communities is shared between the federal and provincial governments and we will continue to work with our federal counterparts to make this project a reality. Connecting remote communities will unlock economic development potential, increase the reliability of electricity service and lead to a cleaner local supply mix.”

Bob Chiarelli

Minister of Energy

“Helping First Nations communities switch from diesel to electricity is one more way Ontario is reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Electrification for these communities also means improved local air quality, increased potential for sustainable development and greater economic opportunities.”

Glen Murray

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

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Environment and Energy Rural and North