Week 15, April 13: First Nations and Rural Opportunities
This is one of the 26 segments of Guy Dauncey’s Climate Emergency: A 26-Week Transition Program for Canada. Excerpted by permission.
In the Yukon, $200 million is spent each year to import diesel to provide power and heat for the territory’s 40,000 people, averaging $5,000 per person, $25,000 for a family of five. There are many renewable alternatives, including geothermal and biomass-based district heat, and wind and solar energy for power. In Finland, a country with a similar northern climate, 25% of their total energy comes from biomass.
- To end the use of diesel for power and heat and speed the transition to renewable energy in off-grid northern, remote and Indigenous communities, we will remove all barriers to the approval of community-based and social enterprise contracts and investments. This will strengthen the work being done in Natural Resources Canada’s Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative.
- We will use our Sustainable Procurement Duty (Week 1) to ensure that contracts for home retrofits and other renewable energy projects can be given to social enterprises, and that contractors are able to hire ex-inmates, people who experience mental health and substance abuse challenges, and people who have no high school diplomas, poor literacy skills, no driver’s licence, no work experience, and no hope.
Model: Build Inc., Winnipeg. A social enterprise insulation and home retrofit contractor and training program for people who face barriers to employment, whose work lowers utility bills, employs neighbourhood people, cuts crime, and decreases GHGs.
Model: Aki Energy, Winnipeg. A First Nations social enterprise whose members have installed 350 geothermal heating systems in four Manitoba First Nations, laying 213 kilometres of pipe that will cut utility bills by C$15 million over 20 years. Geothermal installations in 100,000 First Nations homes will generate $1.5 billion in investment, $750 million in paid jobs, 15,000 person-years of employment, and $5 billion in reduced energy bills over 20 years.