The Ontario government is investing in Northern Ontario’s industrial sector by reducing electricity costs for businesses so that they can afford to hire more staff.  

The provincial government recently announced the new Northern Energy Advantage Program (NEAP) which aims to support Northern Ontario’s largest industrial electricity consumers through stable and predictable electricity price rates.  

Through the program, the government hopes businesses will be able to invest more money into hiring and training workers while making changes to their operations.  

“Under previous governments, energy costs chased good jobs and investment out of Northern Ontario,” said Premier Doug Ford.  

“We are fixing their mistakes and providing companies with the predictable energy costs they need to bring back the jobs and opportunities that the people of Northern Ontario deserve. With these economic conditions in place, Ontario will be unstoppable.” 

This initiative builds on Ontario’s new strategic priorities that have unlocked endless opportunities for international businesses, including critical minerals development, battery assembly and electric vehicle manufacturing. 

“Our government is building an integrated supply chain from exploration to electric vehicles – connecting the Northern and southern Ontario economies for the first time,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.  

“We have expanded NEAP eligibility so critical minerals and battery materials projects can benefit from the program. With the release of our government’s Critical Minerals Strategy, the new and improved NEAP program could not have come at a better time.” 

This new program, formally known as the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate program, has been expanded to allow more businesses to qualify and has removed the $20 million cap for current participants.  

The government has also committed to increasing the investment from $120 million to over $176 million by 2025-26. 

Rickford commented on the change “Well, it’s a significant rebrand. We have invested an additional $25 million a year.” 

The provincial government is also introducing a new investor class stream that will provide time-limited enhanced energy cost benefits to participants to encourage businesses to make transformative investments such as transforming to clean energy.  

“Down the road, we hope this will benefit processing facilities for critical minerals who will be significant energy [users]. It’s a big day for forestry, mining, processing of critical minerals and, of course, steelmakers,” he concluded.