ON launches wood heat programs for rural, Indigenous communities
May 3, 2018 - The Ontario government spending $6.7 million on pilot programs that will help northern, rural and Indigenous communities transition from diesel and oil to new, efficient wood and pellet heating systems.
Four new programs are being launched through the Green Ontario Fund, a non-profit provincial agency that doles out proceeds from Ontario’s carbon market.
Two Indigenous-led pilot programs will operate in Wiikwemikoong and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) territory and provide free installation of wood and pellet heating systems to replace diesel and oil or older, inefficient wood stoves. Two other municipally-led pilot programs will offer rebates to households in Wawa and Sioux Lookout.
“This project is a tremendous step forward in providing safer and healthier living conditions for our communities that rely on diesel power,” Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox said in a news release. “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.”
Nathalie Des Rosiers, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, said the pilot projects will help support the province’s forest sector. “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.”
The province is planning to invest up to $1.7 billion from its carbon market revenue into the Green Ontario Fund.