Government of Canada partners with Northern BC and Yukon First Nations to reduce reliance on diesel and fight climate change

News release

August 25, 2020 — Ottawa, ONTARIO — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada is taking steps to help support northern communities by working in collaboration with territorial, Indigenous, and community partners to monitor and address the impacts of climate change in the North and Arctic.

Today, during a virtual tour of Yukon Territory, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs announced that Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Climate Change and Clean Energy program has provided $3.4 million since 2016 to Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Taku River Tlingit First Nations to monitor and take measures to address climate change.

Among those projects, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada provided $196,253 to support a collaborative initiative led by these three First Nations who partnered with MGrid Energy Inc. to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

They collaborated on the installation of advanced microgrid systems that included solar and battery technology to power a Carcross/Tagish First Nation culture camp, a Taku River Tlingit First Nation fish camp, and a farm building at the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Teaching and Working Farm . These systems will reduce diesel consumption and energy costs at these sites.

Today, Minister Vandal met virtually with the leaders of these First Nations to hear first-hand about this collaborative clean energy initiative and how it supports their vision for a clean energy future.


“By working together with partners we are tackling the issue of climate change head-on. These investments by the Government of Canada will reduce Northern communities' reliance on diesel for heating and electricity by increasing the use of local renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency. This will result in environmental, social and economic benefits that support healthier, more sustainable Northern communities across the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut. Today, I met virtually with members of three Northern BC and Yukon First Nations to talk about their microgrid project and learned that true success comes with empowering communities and supporting their vision for a green future.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs

"The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in are pleased to have Canada's support in our response to climate change. The solar panels at our working and teaching farm will improve production and reduce our dependency on food being delivered on diesel-fueled trucks from the south. This approach decreases our impact on the environment and increases food security for our community. Battling climate change is everyone's responsibility, and we are pleased to be doing our part."

Chief Roberta Joseph
Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in

“Carcross/Tagish First Nation has always sought to live in harmony with the land, we are pleased to have access to off-grid renewable energy, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and doing our part to lessen the harm caused by global warming.”

Haa Shaa du Henn Lynda Dickson
Carcross/Tagish First nation

“MGRID Energy was pleased to collaborate with our clients to install microgrid systems providing clean electricity to First Nation infrastructure that plays such an important role in the communities of each of these First Nations. I see a lot of opportunity to convert energy production systems in the North to more green-friendly systems, particularly First Nation assets, some of which can be located in relatively remote locations.”

John Jensen, Chief Executive Officer
MGRID Energy

"A principle from the Taku River Tlingit Constitution:  It is the land from which we came that connects all life.  Our land is our lifeblood. Our land looks after us, and we look after our land. Anything that happens to Tlingit land affects us and our culture."

Spokesperson John D. Ward
Taku River Tlingit First Nation

Quick facts

  • Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Northern REACHE provided Carcross-Tagish First Nation $196,253 to undertake the three micro-grid projects.

  • Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Taku River Tlingit First Nation and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in are leading on a number of projects to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change:

    • Carcross/Tagish First Nation and Tsay Keh Dene Nation have partnered on a community-led climate change research and monitoring program that includes Elder and Traditional Knowledge as well as youth mentorship opportunities. Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program  has provided $494,000 in support of this initiative since 2018.

    • Atlin Tlingit Economic Limited Partnership, an economic development corporation of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, are expanding the Atlin Hydro facility in northern British Columbia from 2.1 megawatts to 8 megawatts. The initial project eliminated Atlin’s reliance on diesel, and the expansion will supply clean electricity to Yukon to reduce their use of fossil fuels. Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs’ Northern REACHE Program provided $389,564 to the project in 2018-19 to complete the feasibility assessment.

    • The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in’s Teaching and Working Farm is constructing a 3000 square foot energy efficient cold climate greenhouse that will allow for farming for up to ten months of the year. In 2018, the project was awarded a $500,000 Arctic Inspiration Prize and received an additional $500,000 from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs’ Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program.

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For more information, media may contact:

Allison St.Jean
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Daniel Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

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