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Pan-Canadian Task Force to reduce diesel use in remote communities

July 21, 2015 | By Renée Francoeur

July 21, 2015 – The governments of Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Ontario are establishing a Pan-Canadian Task Force to reduce the use of diesel fuel to generate electricity in remote communities.

This agreement comes on the heels of the Council of the Federation’s announcement of the Canadian Energy Strategy, which identified energy in off-grid communities as a priority.

Reducing or eliminating diesel use in these areas would reduce harmful emissions, strengthen local economies, and create well-paying jobs, the strategy noted.

“Many remote communities that are not on Canada’s main electricity grid can only use expensive and greenhouse gas-emitting diesel fuel to generate electricity. Establishing this task force will allow us to share ideas and partner on projects that can help remote communities reduce their reliance on diesel fuel,” said Drew Caldwell, Manitoba’s minister of Municipal Government.

The task force will be chaired by Manitoba, and consist of officials from each of the provincial and territorial ministries and agencies that have policy responsibility for electricity supply in remote off-grid communities and remote off-grid aboriginal communities.

A joint report will be prepared that outlines approaches that are currently being used or considered for eliminating the use of diesel, including grid connection or alternative energy solutions. It will also look at opportunities for collaboration between jurisdictions and planning and implementing pilot projects using shared resources.

The report will also make recommendations on next steps. Manitoba will host the first meeting of the task force to bring participants together to share information and begin discussions.

According to the governments, there are nearly 300 off-grid communities with a total population of approximately 200,000 people in Canada. Of these sites, approximately 175 are indigenous communities (First Nations, Innu, Inuit or Métis) with approximately 130,000 residents.

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