TORONTO, (April 26, 2016) —Chiefs of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Energy have agreed to move forward on a number of key issues following the second meeting of the First Nations Energy Table held in Timmins last week. The purpose of the First Nations Energy Table is to provide a forum for Ontario’s First Nation leadership, the Ontario government, and its agency’s leaders to identify, discuss and work to address issues and opportunities relating to Ontario’s energy sector.
“We are working together to ensure that in the immediate future First Nations will not only be consulted in a matter which represents equal partnership, but also empowers our communities to participate in Resource Revenue Sharing, as well as other economic opportunities within Ontario’s vast energy sector,” said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, who co-chaired the meeting with Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli.
“Our progress in this bi-lateral relationship on energy is evidence that the Political Accord between Chiefs of Ontario and the Province has accelerated a stronger government-to-government relationship,” said Regional Chief Day. “The Energy Table is holistic and aims to enable First Nations and the Ontario government to build a stronger, collaborative working relationship based on inclusion and mutual respect for each party’s concerns and interests.”
It also aims to improve the mechanisms of communication while increasing understanding creating new opportunities for government, business and First Nations to work together. The Energy Table stems from Resolution 12/24 passed in 2012 by the Chiefs of Ontario that calls for the development of a province wide First Nation’s Long-Term Energy Plan.
The province has pledged to continue to ensure renewable energy procurement projects with local support and competitive prices, as well as projects with First Nation and Métis participation.
“By strengthening our collaborative dialogue we are achieving real progress in addressing energy policy priorities important to First Nations communities. We will continue to build on our success in Timmins to find meaningful opportunities for First Nations participation in clean energy development and long term planning,” said the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy.
Ontario just announced the second phase of the competitive Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process. A Request for Qualifications process will be issued by August 1, 2016 for 930 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy from solar photovoltaic, wind, hydroelectric and bio-energy sources, following engagement with stakeholders, municipalities and Indigenous communities.
In the meantime, we will continue to discuss and deal with outstanding grievances, which include the flooding of Treaty lands; high electricity rates; and the provincial Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) and implications for First Nations.