Canada Launches Off-Diesel Initiative for Remote Indigenous Communities

News release

February 13, 2019                          Whitehorse, YT                      Natural Resources Canada

Canada is home to hundreds of rural and remote Indigenous communities. As we build a cleaner energy future, we are helping communities across Canada reduce their reliance on diesel and move toward renewable sources of energy. By working together, we can cut pollution, clean our air and create local jobs in Indigenous communities.

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced a $20-million initiative aimed at reducing diesel reliance in remote Indigenous communities. Developed in collaboration with Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise (ICE SE) and the Pembina Institute, the Generating New Opportunities: Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative will help communities move away from using diesel by developing cleaner community-led energy projects.

A distinguished, all-Indigenous panel of jurors will select up to fifteen communities to receive hands-on support and up to $1.3 million in funding to develop their community-driven energy plan over the next three years. At the end, leading communities will receive an additional two years of funding (total of up to $9 million available to support several community projects) from Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities (CERRC) program to move their clean energy project forward.

This initiative builds on over $700 million already committed to help rural and remote communities get off diesel.

For more details on how to become a clean energy champion for your community, please visit


"Moving away from diesel means less pollution, cleaner air, lower energy costs, and local job opportunities. We are proud to partner with Indigenous communities as they develop innovative clean energy projects that will have benefits for generations to come.”

- The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“This initiative will reduce the environmental, social and economic impacts of diesel reliance, provide economic opportunities, and enable Indigenous communities to harness cleaner energy.”

- The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

“Impact Canada rewards the best ideas and focuses on achieving stronger social, environmental, and economic outcomes for citizens. I look forward to learning more about the grassroots, community-driven projects that will generate innovative solutions to one of the biggest challenges facing Canada’s remote communities.”

- The Honourable Karina Gould
Minister of Democratic Institutions

“Indigenous communities need to be the leaders in the transition away from diesel to a cleaner, more resilient energy future. Reduction in fossil fuels through innovative clean energy projects will create a more secure energy future for communities, and aid in the fight against climate change. The Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise is pleased to be leading the capacity-building initiatives for this worthwhile initiative."

- Chris Henderson, Clean Energy Advisor
Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise

“The Pembina Institute is pleased to support this capacity building program for communities as they transition away from diesel dependency. Our role in the Initiative centers on defining, supporting and enabling leading climate and energy policies by working with Indigenous, provincial, and territorial governments, utilities and regulators to help break down systemic policy barriers that have restricted community-driven and owned renewable energy projects in the past.”

- Dave Lovekin, Director, Renewables in Remote Communities
Pembina Institute

Quick facts

  • The Generating New Opportunities: Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative incorporated feedback from significant engagement over the last 18 months, including from regional and National Indigenous Organizations, and remote community representatives.

  • This is the fifth challenge/initiative under the $75-million Cleantech Impact Canada Initiative, which is helping drive innovation and clean growth across Canada.

  • Diesel fuel, though reliable, has negative environmental, social and economic impacts in northern and remote communities. Investing in clean energy to reduce reliance on diesel can support Indigenous communities leading the way to a clean energy future and makes a small but meaningful contribution to self-determination. 

Associated links


Vanessa Adams
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

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