“This historic investment will bring with it new economic development opportunities, better access to services, and create safer and healthier communities.” – Nault
(THUNDER BAY) March 22, 2018 – Today, the Honourable Bob Nault, along with the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, announced $1.6 billion in federal funding for Wataynikaneyap Power to connect 16 First Nations to the provincial power grid.
Also in attendance were Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, the Honourable Glenn Thibeault, Ontario Minister of Energy, the Honourable Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and Margaret Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power LP, among others,
“Today, we celebrate a truly momentous occasion,” stated Nault. “These 16 remote First Nations in Northwestern Ontario will have reliable, cost-effective electricity in their communities through the completion of this project. This historic investment will bring with it new economic development opportunities, better access to services, and create safer and healthier communities.”
The groundwork for this project was laid in August 2017 with an announcement of $60 million in funding for Wataynikaneyap Power to build a 117-kilometre grid line from Red Lake to Pikangikum First Nation, which is scheduled for completion in late 2018. The project announced today will connect an additional 16 communities, who currently rely on diesel, to the Ontario transmission grid.
Following the grid connection to Pikangikum First Nation, the Wataynikaneyap Power Project is scheduled to be accomplished as one project, in two phases:
Phase 1: upgrading of the electrical system with a new line to Pickle Lake, Ontario is expected to begin in early 2019 with completion in late 2020.
Phase 2: construction for the connection of remote First Nation communities north of Red Lake and Pickle Lake will begin in 2019, with community connections starting in 2021, and all communities connected by the end of 2023.
The Wataynikaneyap Power Project is the largest and most far-reaching Indigenous-led transmission project in the history of the province. Wataynikaneyap Power, a transmission company majority owned by 22 First Nation communities, has played a critical role in leading this project.
“By bringing reliable, clean power, to these communities, they will be able to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and offer substantial environmental benefits and cost-savings over the long term so they can focus on building a better future,” concluded Nault. “Ensuring that our First Nation communities have equal opportunities to succeed is just one step in the reconciliation process; in order for the North to thrive, we all must thrive.”
The 16 communities to be connected by this project are:
Ø Bearskin Lake First Nation
Ø Deer Lake First Nation
Ø Kasabonika Lake First Nation
Ø Keewaywin First Nation
Ø Kingfisher First Nation
Ø Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation
Ø Muskrat Dam Lake First Nation
Ø North Caribou Lake First Nation
Ø North Spirit Lake First Nation
Ø Pikangikum First Nation (announced August 2017)
Ø Poplar Hill First Nation
Ø Sachigo Lake First Nation
Ø Sandy Lake First Nation
Ø Wapekeka First Nation
Ø Wawakapewin First Nation
Ø Wunnumin First Nation
- In Ontario, 25 remote First Nations rely on high-cost diesel generation as their sole source of electricity, which has limited community growth and access to economic opportunities with all the challenges of fuel delivery and environmental disadvantages.
- In 2014, a study undertaken by the Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator determined that there was a positive business case to extend the provincial electricity grid to 21 of the 25 First Nations which are currently diesel dependent.
- Constructing of a transmission line to Pikangikum First Nation is already underway by Wataynikaneyap Power, scheduled for completion by late 2018.
- Wataynikaneyap Power, a licenced transmission company, owned by 22 First Nations (51%), with partner Fortis Inc. (49%), will connect the 16 communities to the provincial grid in northwestern Ontario with the goal of an eventual 100% ownership by First Nations.
- In order to address energy affordability, Ontario enhanced the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), and introduced the First Nation Delivery Credit (FNDC) providing a 100 percent credit of the delivery charge to on-reserve First Nation households that are customers of licensed electricity distributors.Associated LinksThe Government of Canada invests in bringing clean, safe and reliable electricity to Pikangikum First Nation in northwestern OntarioWataynikaneyap PowerPikangikum Power Line and Wataynikaneyap Project (video)
To arrange an interview with the Hon. Bob Nault, please contact:
Ottawa office: Kenora office:
Julian Morelli Ryan Young
(613) 996-1161 (807) 468-2170