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Ontario Partners with Indigenous Communities to End Diesel Reliance

In a landmark move towards sustainable energy development and economic empowerment, the Ontario government has announced its partnership with several Indigenous communities to transition away from diesel-powered generators. Premier Doug Ford, along with Ministers Todd Smith and Greg Rickford, unveiled plans aimed at ending decades of reliance on costly and environmentally damaging diesel fuel in remote Indigenous communities across northern Ontario.

Through collaborative efforts with communities such as Webequie, Nibinamik, Neskantaga, Eabametoong, and Marten Falls First Nations, the government intends to expand clean and reliable electricity transmission and generation infrastructure. This initiative seeks to connect these communities to Ontario’s clean electricity grid, thereby fostering greater economic self-determination and prosperity.

The historic Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project, supported by the government with a construction loan of up to $1.34 billion, is already underway and is expected to be completed this year. This project will enable 16 remote diesel-dependent partner First Nations to access Ontario’s clean electricity grid for the first time. However, recognizing that other remote First Nation communities still rely on diesel generation, the government is committed to working closely with interested partners to identify clean electricity supply options tailored to their unique needs.

Premier Doug Ford emphasized the importance of this partnership, stating, “Just as Ontario eliminated its reliance on coal, we want to work with all First Nations that wish to partner with us to replace their reliance on diesel-generated electricity with clean and reliable electricity.”

Minister of Energy Todd Smith echoed this sentiment, “We are looking forward to working in partnership with other remote First Nations communities to explore options to get off diesel generation to improve quality of life and open the door to new opportunities for these communities,”.

Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Northern Development Greg Rickford underscored the government’s commitment to prioritizing Indigenous input and direction in shaping comprehensive plans for transitioning remote communities off diesel. He emphasized that reliable electricity unlocks limitless potential for Northern communities and leads to prosperity and improved health, social, and economic outcomes.

Community Response

Chief Solomon Atlookan of Eabametoong First Nation expressed optimism about the collaborative efforts, stating, “We are pleased to hear that Premier Ford and Ministers Smith and Rickford are committing to working with Eabametoong First Nation and fellow remote First Nations to plan for affordable, clean, and reliable energy.”


This initiative marks a significant step towards environmental sustainability and economic empowerment for Indigenous communities in Ontario. By prioritizing collaboration and recognizing the unique needs of each community, the government demonstrates a commitment to reconciliation and meaningful partnership. Transitioning away from diesel-generated electricity not only reduces emissions and environmental impact but also opens doors to new economic opportunities and improved quality of life for Indigenous peoples. This initiative sets a commendable example for other regions to follow in their efforts towards sustainable energy development and Indigenous empowerment.

Samantha Deschamps

Samantha Deschamps serves as the Queens Park Reporter, offering insightful coverage of provincial politics with depth and accuracy. With a keen understanding of legislative intricacies, Deschamps provides invaluable perspectives on matters affecting Ontario. For inquiries or feedback, contact Samantha at

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