Pikangikum First Nation marks historic connection to provincial electrical grid through Indigenous-led Wataynikaneyap Power project
December 20, 2018 — Pikangikum First Nation, Treaty 5 Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with First Nations to build critical community infrastructure and invest in clean and reliable energy. In March 2018, the federal government announced a $1.6 billion investment in Wataynikaneyap Power, an Indigenous-led and majority owned Transmission Company working to connect First Nations communities to the Ontario power grid by 2023.
Today, the Honourable Bob Nault, Member of Parliament for Kenora, on behalf of the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, joined Pikangikum First Nation to celebrate the community’s connection to the Ontario power grid through their newly completed transmission line. Pikangikum is the first community to be connected to the provincial power grid through the Wataynikaneyap Power project.
This historic milestone enables Pikangikum to eliminate their dependence on diesel as their primary energy source. The connection to the Ontario grid will provide safe, clean and reliable energy that supports the health and safety of community members, while allowing for new economic development and job opportunities that were not possible in the past.
The Pikangikum transmission line represents a $60.2 million federal investment, as part of the total federal investment of $1.6 billion in the Wataynikaneyap Power project.
“Today marks a historic milestone as Pikangikum becomes the first community to be connected to Ontario’s power grid through the Wataynikaneyap Power project. The completion of the Pikangikum transmission line eliminates the community’s dependence on diesel fuel, opening the way to new economic and job opportunities powered by safe, clean and reliable energy. We are proud to partner with Pikangikum and Wataynikaneyap Power on this Indigenous-led project, and we look forward to celebrating the connections of many more First Nations communities to the provincial power grid by 2023.”
The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services
“Our elders signed the treaty to share in the benefits of any major development that occurs in the homelands. Our people are leading the pathway by owning major infrastructure with a vision of bringing light to our communities. We celebrate with Pikangikum this remarkable achievement. Today, the line that brings light shines in Pikangikum and brings us one step closer to energizing across the North and realizing the hopes of our people and future generations.”
CEO, Wataynikaneyap Power LP
“We are very happy that the project was completed so quickly. This investment for our First Nation supports significant improvements to the quality of life of members and to the environment. We will now have clean, safe and reliable energy that will have a positive impact on the health and well-being of everyone that lives here.”
Chief Dean Owen
Pikangikum 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, in addition to the risks that fuel delivery and storage pose to the environment.
In March 2018, the federal government announced a $1.6 billion investment in the Wataynikaneyap Power Project, the largest and most far-reaching Indigenous-led transmission project in the history of the province.
Construction on this project began in October 2017 and the first pole in the power line for Pikangikum was installed on February 15, 2018.
Wataynikaneyap Power is a licenced transmission company equally owned by 22 First Nations (51%) who partnered with Fortis (49%), an experienced industry leader. The goal is an eventual 100% ownership by First Nations.