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Agreements to formalize support for the Northern Ontario Grid Connection Project have been finalized

Press Release

July 22, 2019 — Thunder Bay, Robinson-Superior Treaty, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with First Nations and the Government of Ontario to build critical community infrastructure and invest in clean and reliable energy.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, joined Margaret Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power, Gary Smith, EVP Eastern Canadian and Caribbean Operations, Fortis Inc., and First Nation LP Executive Council to celebrate the formal signing of agreements to finalize the terms of Canada’s support in partnership with Ontario for the Northern Ontario Grid Connection Project, valued at $1.6 billion.

Connecting 16 diesel-dependent First Nations to Ontario’s power grid will provide these communities with clean, safe and reliable energy that will have a significant effect on the health and safety of community members and also expand infrastructure and economic development opportunities.

Quotes

“Clean sources of energy are vital not just for the protection of the environment, but also for the health and safety of community members. Significant work continues to connect diesel-dependent First Nations to Ontario’s power grid, and we look forward to celebrating the connections of First Nations communities to the provincial electricity grid by 2023.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services

“Wataynikaneyap Project will connect remote First Nations to a clean accessible energy and set a parameter of how we do business. Finalizing the definitive documents will enable for all partners to work within the intricate business model agreed to by both levels of government, First Nations and our partner. Meegwetch to Canada for providing the funding to Ontario on behalf of the First Nations and for supporting this very important project. It is a huge milestone for the 24 First Nation partners of Wataynikaneyap Power.”

Margaret Kenequanash
CEO, Wataynikaneyap Power LP

“Making access to clean, reliable energy a reality for thousands of First Nation residents in Northern Ontario is an honour. Thank you to the Canadian and
Ontario governments for your support. We look forward to the project’s continued progress with our 24 First Nations partners.”

Gary Smith
Executive Vice President, Eastern Canadian and Caribbean Operations
Fortis Inc.

Quick facts

  • In March 2018, Canada, Ontario and Wataynikaneyap Power entered into a Memorandum of Understanding, in which the parties agreed to work together to support the connection of 16 diesel-dependent First Nations communities located in remote northwestern Ontario to the provincial electricity grid.
  • Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission company, regulated by the Ontario Energy Board, and majority-owned by a partnership of 24 First Nation communities in partnership with Fortis Inc. and other private investors. To connect remote First Nations communities to the electrical grid, Wataynikaneyap Power will develop, manage construction, and operate approximately 1,800 kilometers of transmission lines in northwestern Ontario. For further information visit www.wataypower.ca.
  • The first of the 16 connections was accelerated through a $60.2M investment made by Canada. Pikangikum First Nation’s grid connection took place in December 2018.
  • Successful implementation of the project will reduce the number of diesel-dependent First Nations communities in Ontario from 25 to nine.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Kevin Deagle
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Minister of Indigenous Services
873-354-0987

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
819-953-1160
[email protected]

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