Canada Supports Youth and Indigenous Participation in Canada’s Clean Energy Transition 

News release

July 15, 2020                                             Ottawa, Ontario                                     Natural Resources Canada       

Canada has a world-class energy sector with power coming from growing and dynamic renewable and non-emitting sources. As the clean energy sector grows and transforms, we have a tremendous opportunity to attract more young people, women and Indigenous workers and to pass knowledge and skills on to the next generation.

Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced $470,923 in funding toward projects in remote Ontario First Nations communities that focus on supporting and enhancing Indigenous youth participation in Canada’s clean energy transition. The investment includes:

  • $262,700 for Matawa First Nations Management to build energy literacy in five remote Matawa First Nations communities. This project will increase community members’ skills and capacity, encourage them to pursue careers in clean energy and support the development of renewable energy projects and energy-efficient solutions in their communities. The project also includes career mentorship for youth; and
  • $208,223 to Opiikapawiin Services LP, in partnership with the Independent Electricity System Operator, for its Plugged into a Brighter Future initiative — a youth-focused energy engagement initiative for First Nations communities with the Wataynikaneyap Power project. This initiative will bolster Indigenous youths’ knowledge of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions so they may participate in future community energy planning. 

Funding is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s $220-million Clean Energy in Rural and Remote Communities (CERRC) Program that aims to reduce diesel reliance in rural and remote communities by deploying and demonstrating renewable energy, encouraging energy efficiency and building local skills and capacity.

PS Lefebvre made the announcements during a virtual event hosted by Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC). EHRC launched its new study entitled Generation Impact: Future Workforce Perspectives, which offers a clear picture of how Canada’s next-generation workforce views the electricity sector and insights into how to recruit and retain youth and women.

To date, the Government of Canada has provided $13.7 million to EHRC through Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Student Work Placement Program (SWPP). Through work-integrated learning opportunities, interested students benefit from a wide range of transferable skills and key research skills in the renewable energy industry. In total, these projects will help create more than 1,700 paid placements for students between 2018 and 2022.

The CERRC program is part of the Government of Canada’s more than $180-billion Investing in Canada infrastructure plan for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes and Canada’s rural and northern communities.


“Lowering emissions is the best way to create good, well-paying jobs in Canada’s electricity sector. The projects announced today will help make sure youth and Indigenous peoples are in the best position to take advantage of these emerging opportunities.” 

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources 

“Engaging young workers in Canada’s electricity sector is critical for developing the resiliency and innovation needed to support the transformation of Canada’s energy future. We are proud to support these projects that make the sector more competitive and leverage the talent and skills of young and Indigenous Canadians.”

Paul Lefebvre
Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources  

“The clean energy sector is home to countless innovative projects that offer exciting opportunities for young Canadians. By providing students and recent graduates with the chance to acquire skills and experience through work-integrated learning opportunities in the clean energy sector, our government is helping to ensure that young people have the connections and supports they need to launch successful careers.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

“We applaud Natural Resources Canada’s leadership in supporting inclusive and sustainable growth in our electricity sector. Growing our workforce by bringing in youth with new perspectives to the sector is one of the keys to fostering innovation and a future-ready electrical grid.”

Michelle Branigan
Chief Executive Officer, Electricity Human Resources Canada

“It is important for our communities to be fully informed of the opportunities and challenges posed by renewable energy — and how our community members can take advantage of the transition to sustainable energy sources. Through this project, we will seek to increase the skills and capacity of community members to lead in the development of renewable energy projects and energy-efficient solutions. Matawa First Nations Management will achieve this by delivering hands-on renewable energy and energy conservation workshops and clean energy career programs for youth, elders and other members of the communities.”

David-Paul Achneepineskum
Chief Executive Officer, Matawa First Nations Management

“Youth have the potential to contribute to the planning of their future through the Plugged into a Brighter Future project. This project will not only teach them about energy but also build their confidence in their own abilities and could propel them toward a career in the energy sector.”

Lucie Edwards
Chief Executive Officer, Opiikapawiin Services LP

"We have a responsibility to teach youth, transfer skills and instil knowledge regarding energy planning and understanding needs. Creating opportunities and capacity is our vision, and this means our youth will be ready to lead their company and its operation into the future.”

Margaret Kenequanash
Chief Executive Officer, Wataynikaneyap Power 

Energy education and capacity building among today’s Indigenous youth will help set them on a path for future achievement and success. The IESO is proud to partner on the Plugged into a Brighter Future project, which will enable Indigenous youth to learn about the energy sector, acquire leadership skills and better support their own communities.”

Terry Young,
Vice President Policy, Engagement and Innovation, Independent Electricity System Operator

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