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Ontario aims to end diesel reliance for several remote First Nation communities

April 4, 2024 | By Anthony Capkun

April 4, 2024 – The Office of the Premier of Ontario reports it is working with the First Nation communities of Webequie, Nibinamik, Neskantaga, Eabametoong and Marten Falls to expand electricity transmission and generation infrastructure and end their reliance on diesel-powered generators.

“Our remote communities throughout the north have been suffering from the terribly high cost of generating electricity and the limits those systems place on our community’s growth,” said Chief Solomon Atlookan, Eabametoong First Nation.

Through the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project, 16 remote diesel-dependent First Nations are being connected to Ontario’s grid—but not all.

“Now 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 […]” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy.


The provincial government says it will prioritize the input and direction of the First Nations leadership and communities when informing a comprehensive plan to get remote and far north communities off diesel.

“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,” Atlookan said.

The Premier’s Office says engagement with these communities will also help inform the Independent Electricity System Operator’s ongoing Northern Ontario Connection Study, which is looking at energy supply and connection opportunities in northern Ontario (including for the five diesel-reliant Matawa First Nations, and new hydroelectric generation).

Building energy infrastructure such as transmission lines to connect the communities to the provincial electricity grid or local clean energy supply solutions would provide significant economic and environmental benefits for communities through emissions reductions, enhanced electricity reliability, and economic and partnership opportunities, adds the Premier’s Office.

“We are working toward our energy sovereignty, and that will mean working together to plan, direct, and benefit from any new developments in our territory,” added Atlookan. “We know the challenges, and we know the solutions will come from the strength of our relationships and mutual respect.”

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