Ontario Helping Northern, Rural and Indigenous Communities Save on Heating Costs, Fight Climate Change

by ahnationtalk on May 2, 2018492 Views

Province’s Carbon Market Funding Four New Wood Heat Pilot Programs

May 2, 2018

Ontario is helping people in northern, rural and Indigenous communities save on energy costs, fight climate change and improve air quality by reducing the use of greenhouse gas-intensive fuel sources and old, inefficient wood stoves.

Proceeds from the province’s carbon market will fund four new wood heat pilot programs. The programs will operate in communities without access to natural gas that rely on a mix of wood, propane, fuel oil and diesel-generated electricity to heat homes and other buildings.

The Indigenous-led pilot programs will operate in Wiikwemikoong and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) territory and offer free installation of new wood and pellet heating systems. Another two municipally-led pilot programs will offer rebates for these systems to people in Wawa and Sioux Lookout.

Encouraging use of renewable forest resources helps create jobs while keeping more dollars in Ontario and supports our transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. Support for the wood heat pilots is one of many low-carbon economy initiatives to be launched by the Green Ontario Fund (GreenON), a non-profit provincial agency, funded entirely by Ontario’s carbon market.

Through GreenON, Ontario is also investing up to $25 million for additional projects in Indigenous communities to fight climate change. This could include support for installation of ground source heat pumps, insulation and energy efficient windows to reduce reliance on carbon-intensive fuels, energy costs and greenhouse gas pollution.

Making it easier to access and adopt low-carbon technologies while fighting climate change is part of the government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is investing $6.7 million in the four pilot programs, beginning in spring 2018.
  • People in communities participating in the pilot projects can learn more by visiting GreenON.ca.
  • Ontario is committed to investing up to $1.7 billion in proceeds from its carbon market into the Green Ontario Fund over the coming years.
  • The Climate Change Action Plan and carbon market form the backbone of Ontario’s strategy to cut greenhouse gas pollution to 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, 37 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050. The government will report on the plan’s implementation annually and review the plan at least every five years.
Additional Resources


“Ontario is committed to supporting northern, rural and Indigenous communities to fight climate change and improve their communities. The wood heat pilot programs are a great example of how Ontario’s carbon market proceeds are reducing greenhouse gas pollution, helping people save on heating costs, creating new jobs and supporting Ontario’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Chris Ballard
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

“Ontario is taking action to support our forest product sector through development of these community-led modern wood heating pilots. A strong local market for wood heating fuels will support a diverse forest product sector, spur innovation, and keep investment here in Ontario. By increasing the use of modern wood heating technologies in these communities, the pilots will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and encourage development of Ontario’s abundant forest resources.”

Nathalie Des Rosiers
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

“This project is a tremendous step forward in providing safer and healthier living conditions for our communities that rely on diesel power. Wood heat is an environmentally conscious alternative to fossil fuel and a sensible fuel choice for those living in the NAN Territory. The communities that have received the wood stoves will see a reduction of the health, safety and environmental impacts associated with diesel generation. Also, we are seeing the impacts of climate change across the NAN Territory and by implementing this project we are ensuring we work with our communities to adapt and advance where necessary. We look forward to expanding this project to all NAN communities in the near future.”

Derek Fox
Deputy Grand Chief

“We are very pleased that the province and the Green Ontario Fund have selected Wiikwemkoong to participate in the Modern Wood Heating Pilot. Our community is committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and with this project, 200 residents will be able to replace low-efficiency wood stoves and greenhouse gas-intensive heating sources with high efficiency modern wood heating appliances. The project will also see the installation of wood pellet boiler systems in seven community buildings including schools and seniors residences. Under this project, we are excited to know that Wiikwemkoong will be able to reduce CO2 emissions of 14,000 tonnes over a 20 year period.”

Duke Peltier
Chief, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory

“On behalf of the Economic Development Corporation of Wawa, I am pleased and grateful to receive financial support from the Green Ontario Fund for the wood heating pilot. The pilot will provide incentives for residents and business owners to reduce their annual heating costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions by switching to efficient and modern wood heating appliances. The Wawa pilot is one of four in Ontario that will build awareness of the benefits of wood heating and enhance Northern Ontario’s bio-economy. This program aligns with provincial goals to reduce carbon as well as goals of the 2016 Wawa Energy Plan. Thank you to the Green Ontario Fund for this opportunity.”

Andy Stevens
Chair, Economic Development Corporation of Wawa

“With the Municipality of Sioux Lookout undertaking the development of a municipal energy plan, we are pleased that we have been selected for the province’s Modern Wood Heat Pilot. Many residents in our community rely heavily on wood heat. Natural gas is not available. The financial incentives surrounding this program will provide residents and commercial businesses the opportunity to reduce energy costs, remove health and safety risks, while also helping to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse emissions.”

Doug Lawrance
Mayor, The Corporation of the Municipality of Sioux Lookout

“We are impressed that the Ontario Government is getting behind modern wood heating in a few specific communities. There is no better way to reduce heating costs in rural Ontario, increase employment, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve forest sustainability than using renewable and local wood resources for heat energy.”

Vince Rutter
President, Biothermic Wood Energy Systems, Thunder Bay

“This program recognizes the importance of wood heating in Ontario, specifically in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. By providing this simple yet impactful opportunity for residents and business owners to access a more efficient wood appliance, the program will help Ontarians save on fuel costs, heat their spaces more efficiently and have a measurable reduction of greenhouse gasses and other air contaminants that can exist from older, outdated appliances.”

Laura Litchfield
Executive Director of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada

Media Contacts

Gary Wheeler
Communications Branch

Anna Milner
Minister’s Office


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