The Ontario government is working with Indigenous organizations and communities to create cleaner, more reliable and more affordable energy options, including a new solar-powered tiny-home construction and skills development project locally.

To support their work, the Independent Electricity System Operator is providing $7.1 million in funding to 61 recipients to support renewable energy and energy-efficient projects, as well as skills development and training initiatives.

"I congratulate all of the recipients for their commitment to improving energy supply and management in their communities," said Kenora-Rainy River MPP, Greg Rickford, who also serves as Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development and Mines, in a prepared release.

"Programs like the IESO’s energy support programs and energy efficiency programs create opportunities for greater Indigenous participation in the energy sector, helping to spur innovation and drive economic development."

In northwestern Ontario, Grand Council Treaty #3 received funding to host energy capacity engagement sessions in each of their 28 Treaty #3 communities, on topics such as energy conservation, Indigenous clean energy and sustainable energy practices.

Wabaseemoong Independent Nations saw funding for their Youth Green Living initiative, which leads a paid employment, skills and training program for at-risk youth to develop and build off-grid solar-powered tiny homes. The program includes training sessions and an Elder mentorship program. They also received funding for a solar PV system for their school, to reduce its energy costs.

Lac Seul First Nation will use its funding to assess the feasibility of constructing a rooftop solar PV system on the roof of their community arena to offset its high energy costs. Pikangikum First Nation will also be developing and installing a 100kW solar system on their school to reduce its energy costs and diesel fuel usage.

Grand Council Treaty #3, the Metis Nation of Ontario, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, Wauzhushk Onigum and Wabaseemoong Independent Nation all received funding to hire a designated Community Energy Champion for three years, to support energy projects in their community.