Government of Canada announces investment to expand and upgrade the Pegamigaabo School

News release

Morson, Ontario, September 6, 2022—Today, Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and Lynn Indian, Chief of Big Grassy River First Nation, announced over $2.9 million to expand and upgrade the Pegamigaabo School to help meet the cultural, educational and environmental needs of Big Grassy River First Nation.

“Investing in green upgrades to public infrastructure makes sense for our environment, our communities, and our economy,” said Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. “The upgrades and expansion to the Pegamigaabo School will reduce operational costs and GHG emissions while also increasing space and resources available for youth programs and Ojibway language instruction. Our Government will continue to work with its Indigenous, provincial/territorial and municipal partners to invest in local community infrastructure, promote climate action, and build more resilient and inclusive communities across Canada.”

“Big Grassy River First Nation is extremely excited at the opportunity being provided to the children of the Community in being selected as one of the recipients of the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program for the Retrofit and Expansion project,” said Lynn Indian, Chief of Big Grassy River First Nation. “This project will allow our children of the community access to safe, reliable, and healthy learnings environments which will provide an important foundation to life learning.”

The First Nation will retrofit the Pegamigaabo School with solar panels, high-efficiency windows and power-assisted doors. Installing a 135-kilovolt rooftop solar system on the school will lower its operating costs and allow it to continue operations during a grid disruption. These improvements will reduce the facility's energy consumption by an estimated 59.9% and greenhouse gas emissions by 18.4 tonnes annually. Big Grassy River First Nation will also be expanding the school with an extra 200 m2 of space that will include a new pre-kindergarten classroom and an Ojibway language classroom.

This investment will help the community to realize significant cost savings that can be reapplied towards other improvements at the school and to expand the programs it offers. In addition, the expansion will provide more space to supporting young, growing minds and help preserve the Anishinaabemowin culture.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is investing over $2.9 million through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program.

  • The Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program is an integral part of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan, providing $1.5 billion over five years towards green and accessible retrofits, repairs or upgrades of existing public community buildings and the construction of new publicly-accessible community buildings that serve high-needs, underserved communities across Canada. 

  • At least 10 percent of funding is allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, including Indigenous populations in urban centres.

  • Provincial/territorial governments, municipal or regional governments, public sector bodies, not-for-profit, and Indigenous organizations interested in the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program are invited to apply on the Infrastructure Canada website

  • Applicants with large retrofit projects to existing community buildings or new community building projects with total eligible costs ranging from $3 million to $25 million were accepted through a competitive intake process which closed on July 6, 2021. A second intake is anticipated later in 2022, however, the date has not yet been determined. Details about the second intake will be published to the Infrastructure Canada – Green and Inclusive Community Buildings’ website as soon as they become available.

  • Applicants with small and medium retrofit projects to existing community buildings ranging in total eligible cost from $100,000 to $2,999,999 will be accepted and funded on a rolling intake basis. 

  • Announced in December 2020, Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan includes 64 new measures and $15 billion in investments towards a healthy environment and economy.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
Jean-Sebastien.Comeau@iga-aig.gc.ca

Allen Morrison
Economic Development Officer
Big Grassy River First Nation
204-801-4750
edo@biggrassy.ca

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
media@infc.gc.ca
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