OTTAWA (March 23, 2018) – The Honourable Sergio Marchi, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA), issued the following statement regarding the federal government’s funding announcement for Wataynikaneyap Power’s Transmission Line project to connect 16 First Nations to Ontario’s power grid:
“CEA welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Jane Philpott, and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne that the Government of Canada will provide $1.6 billion in federal funding to the Wataynikaneyap Transmission Project. This investment will provide clean, safe and reliable electricity to 16 First Nations that together represent over 14,000 Canadians.
Wataynikaneyap Power is equally owned by 22 First Nations communities (51%), in partnership with CEA member company Fortis (49%). CEA commends this partnership and the project, which will be Canada’s largest First Nations-led infrastructure project to date.
Indigenous peoples in northern and remote communities often rely on diesel fuel to power their lives. This poses both environmental and economic challenges. Diesel generators in many of these communities are running at full capacity, which constrains economic growth, and the cost of electricity can be ten times the Canadian average. This is unacceptable and must be addressed urgently and systematically. The Wataynikaneyap Transmission Project is a significant step in the right direction.
CEA strongly advocates for government support in addressing the energy needs of remote and Indigenous communities, many of which are found in our country’s North. The quality of life for residents and the realization of economic development projects depend on improved energy infrastructure. The electricity sector stands ready to work with Indigenous communities and all levels of government to reduce diesel reliance nationwide, and move towards a more sustainable, reliable, clean energy future.”