A new agreement between First Nations (FN) and the federal government will see the creation of a $1.6bn energy project that will look to connect 16 of Ontario’s northern FN communities to the power grid.
The project will become the largest indigenous-led and indigenous-owned infrastructure project in Ontario’s history, marking a key milestone for both the province and for FN, with the work expected to complete in 2023.
“It will mean thousands of people will no longer have to rely on dirty diesel fuel to meet their energy needs,” said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. “Access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity will open up new economic opportunities.
“It will lower the cost of housing and help ensure a clean supply of drinking water. It will mean cleaner air and a healthier place to live right now -- and in the future.”
known as the Wataynikaneyap Power Grid Connection Project, the work will be carried out by Wataynikaneyap Power – a company that is marjority-owned by 22 northern First Nations communities, having been founded back in 2015.
“I want to thank the 22 First Nations whose leadership and vision made this project possible,” Wynne continued. “The way this project came into being as an Indigenous-led and Indigenous-owned initiative has given us a road map for the kind of nation-to-nation relationships that we need to keep building.
“Today is a great day. We are building the kind of Canada that we know is possible. And we are building it together.”