Indigenous Communities in Ontario's Energy Sector

The IESO is proud of the positive relationships, built over many years between Indigenous communities and the IESO. The continuous commitment to these relationships has created the foundation for an effective ongoing dialogue.

As a result, many communities play an ongoing role in shaping Ontario’s energy activities. They have been enabled to take advantage of policies and programs that allow them to generate revenue and participate in the energy sector in a way that is consistent with their cultural and environmental values.

This includes:

  • conserving energy and better managing its use for their community
  • gaining the skills and knowledge needed to generate renewable energy where they live and work 
Pic River First Nation
Pic River First Nation (courtesy Innergex Renewable Energy Inc.)
  • enabling further business development from revenue and partnerships in clean energy projects
  • better understanding the kinds of opportunities available to them and their communities in the energy field.


Indigenous Conservation Programming

The IESO has prepared a report with options to improve conservation programs, and access to programs for First Nations and Métis, including communities served by independent power authorities (IPAs).  The report titled Indigenous Conservation Programming: A New Approach was informed by an open engagement with feedback gathered from First Nations and Métis representatives through community meetings, the Indigenous Community Energy Symposium, a public webinar and other outreach activities. Further details on the plan to implement the report’s recommendations will be made available through IESO’s engagement webpage.

Long term planning

Indigenous communities add a valuable perspective to the IESO’s long-term electricity planning in many regions throughout the province. First Nation communities are currently the majority shareholder in the ongoing planning and development work to connect a number of the remote communities to the provincial transmission grid.   
   

Energy Support Programs

The IESO makes further investments in Indigenous capacity and leadership through the Energy Support Programs, including: 

The Community Energy Champion (CEC) Program provides funding support to First Nation and Métis communities and organizations to hire a designated community energy champion to help plan, implement and evaluate energy-related priorities.

The Indigenous Community Energy Plan (ICEP) Program provides funding to support First Nation and Métis communities and organizations to develop and maintain an updated community energy plan designed to enhance community energy security and build healthier communities. 

 The Education and Capacity Building (ECB) Program provides funding to support awareness, education, skills, and capacity building initiatives that help prepare First Nation and Métis communities and organizations  to fully leverage energy opportunities and contribute to cleaner, more reliable and more affordable energy systems.

 The Indigenous Energy Projects (IEP) Program provides funding support to First Nation and Métis communities and organizations to assess and develop energy projects and partnerships.

These mutual investments of time, energy and capital are helping Ontario meet near- and long-term goals for a sustainable and reliable electricity supply and ensuring that Indigenous peoples are a part of the energy sector.

A 2016 long-term planning consultation at the roundhouse in Nigigoonsiminikaning First Nation A 2016 long-term planning consultation at the roundhouse in Nigigoonsiminikaning First Nation