Federal Investment to Support Clean Energy Planning with QUEST Canada, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and Frog Lake First Nation

News release

June 2, 2023             Saskatoon, Saskatchewan         Natural Resources Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to working in collaboration with Indigenous partners, the energy and electricity sectors, and renewable energy leaders across Canada to tackle climate change, accelerate the transition to clean energy and create impactful and local economic opportunities.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced $650,000 in funding for QUEST Canada to evolve and adapt its Accelerating Implementation of Renewable Energy (AIRE) for Indigenous Communities project to expand knowledge of local energy systems and developing pathways to accelerate clean energy opportunities in their community.

The adapted project, AIRE for Indigenous Communities, will be deployed over three years with three rural Indigenous communities: Pelican Narrows and Southend in Northern Saskatchewan, governed by the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, and Frog Lake First Nation in Alberta. QUEST Canada will provide training and support for the participating communities in building capacity to plan and implement land-based renewable energy initiatives. 

Indigenous AIRE will provide an entry point for Indigenous communities to work with QUEST on identifying and pursuing clean energy opportunities. QUEST Canada will provide training through the development of a publicly available toolkit that will provide remote, Indigenous communities with the means to establish and deploy more collaborative planning processes for local renewable energy development and will contribute to clean energy jobs, knowledge and skills development.

QUEST Canada and its partners also contributed to the project, bringing the total investment to $1,154,000.

The Government of Canada is committed to the meaningful participation, ownership and decision-making by Indigenous Peoples in natural resources development as they expand innovative clean energy solutions to reduce emissions, advance self-determination, create good jobs and combat climate change.


“The Government of Canada is pleased to collaborate with Indigenous communities to unlock economic opportunities in the clean energy sector while supporting communities to move past diesel reliance and access more affordable energy. Through investments like the one we announced today with QUEST in the AIRE for Indigenous Communities planning project, we are taking steps toward a net-zero future together.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources Canada

“Energy systems and social systems are interconnected. Ensuring energy security in remote and rural Indigenous communities is imperative to reconciliation and enhanced self-sufficiency, as well as improved overall health and well-being. QUEST Canada's AIRE for Indigenous Communities project seeks to learn from and work with Indigenous communities to accelerate renewable energy projects to help Canada achieve its net-zero targets, equitably.”

Tonja Leach
Executive Director, QUEST Canada

“Indigenous Peoples are leading the way to building a more climate-resilient future with innovative renewable energy solutions. Supporting community-led initiatives to adopt clean energy solutions is central to adapting to climate change. Together through programs such as QUEST Canada, we are helping to build sustainable communities today and working toward a strong, healthy and sustainable future for all.”      

The Honourable Dan Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor

Quick facts

  • Federal funding for this project is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities program, a $453-million program that strives to reduce reliance on diesel in rural and remote communities by deploying and demonstrating renewable energy projects, encouraging energy efficiency and building local skills and capacity. The program is part of the government’s Investing in Canada plan, a more than $180-billion investment in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

  • To support Indigenous, rural and remote communities as they transition to clean energy from fossil fuel reliance, the Government of Canada has created Wah-ila-toos, a single-window approach to access resources and clean energy funding.

  • Supporting Indigenous leadership and working together on solutions to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and enhance climate resilience in remote and Northern communities for First Nations, Inuit and Métis are central to advancing the reconciliation journey and self-determination.    

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Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations

Keean Nembhard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

Kyle Allen
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dan Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor

Media Relations
Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

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