As the current delivery agent of the IESO Remote First Nations Pilot Program we highly recommend that the 2021-2024 Conservation and Demand Management Framework include a continued focus on energy efficiency within Ontario First Nation communities.
The pilot program, launched in December 2019, provides energy efficient upgrades to four northern Ontario First Nation communities: Sachigo Lake, Wunnumin, North Caribou and Kasabonika. Upgrades include home insulation, energy efficient appliances and basic energy efficient products such as LEDs, smart power bars and low-flow showerheads.
Working with community representatives and local staff, it is clear that the Remote First Nations Pilot Program provides a number of important benefits to the community beyond saving energy, including:
- employment of local staff to perform energy efficiency upgrades;
- training and skills development of local residents;
- improving the indoor air quality and the health and safety of homes;
- providing data to community housing departments for future planning;
- reducing energy poverty enabling more income to be used for other household expenses; and,
- reducing the energy costs of the band allowing more funding to go toward other priorities (health, recreation, crisis intervention)
These benefits contribute to an improved the quality of life in these communities and help to address many of the socioeconomic challenges facing Indigenous communities in Canada.
Having experience delivering energy efficiency programs in remote, Indigenous communities elsewhere in Canada, we can attest that the most successful programs are those that have a long-term focus with a sustained and engaged relationship with the community. The IESO Remote First Nations Pilot Program is the first step in this process. We have begun to build relationships and trust, determine the needs of individual communities, and started developing skills and capacity with local partners. It is our hope that this important work will continue as part of the 2021-2024 Conservation and Demand Management Framework.
The Ecofitt Team
Submitted August 19, 2020 11:00 AM