Wataynikaneyap Transmission Project Training Program Celebrates Inaugural Graduating Class

Thunder Bay, ON, July 19, 2018- Today, Wataynikaneyap’s skills training initiative is thrilled to celebrate the graduation of its first round of successful participants in its Line Crew Ground Support Training Course.

The 15-week certificate program, held at Gridlink in Thunder Bay, Ontario, started in April and is designed for those looking to gain direct or in-direct employment in the construction of the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project and the powerline industry. Wataynikaneyap Power PM, Opiikapawiin Services, Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA), PowerTel and Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: The Wenjack Education Institute have joined together to deliver training programs including the Line Crew Ground Support Training, funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Skills and Partnership Fund.

Wataynikaneyap Power is a First Nations led project that will connect 17 remote communities to the provincial power grid. 51% of the project is owned by 22 First Nations who have partnered with industry leader, Fortis Inc. “It is vital to witness the graduates achieve their goals and complete this intensive certificate-based training program. This is another milestone for our communities to have meaningful participation in the project. Our community members are majority owners of the transmission company and will be the ones to help build the line,” says Margaret Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power. “Now it’s time to put the graduates to work in the construction of the powerline to gain valuable work experience. Congratulations to all the graduates.”

The First Nations have been working together since 2013 on community engagement, participation and capacity building to capture maximum employment, training and business opportunities. They recognized that it will be required to develop capabilities and initiate specific training for community members.

Graduates of the Line Crew Ground Support Course have spent the last three months participating in the program, combining classroom and practical training, that includes several safety courses, ladder and safe pole handling, the fundamentals of working at heights, mobile crane operator training, specifics on pole line construction and several other courses that are required for the position. “The Infrastructure Health &

Safety Association is pleased to have worked alongside the first group of participants to teach valuable work-ready skills, help build confidence and instill a high level of safety,” says Dennis Smith, IHSA’s Manager of Powerline Apprenticeship and Training. “The Infrastructure Health & Safety Association and its instructors celebrate the growth of the participants and success of the graduates.”

Opiikapawiin Services LP (OSLP) is coordinating the delivery of the training program and Lucie Edwards, OSLP CEO is pleased with the results. “This is our first round of technical training and we have an excellent work-ready program. The dedication of the staff and our training partners in working closely with the participants have made it a success”.

Line Crew Ground Support graduates will be seeking meaningful employment in the powerline sector. Joel Meekis, a participant from Sandy Lake First Nation is looking forward to gaining work experience. “The Line Crew Ground Support Course was a great experience for me. There was a lot of hands-on training that I believe has given me the confidence I need to further my career in the industry. The instructors really taught us to trust our equipment and that safety was always a number one priority;” says Meekis. “Although at times it was tough to be away from home, I knew this would benefit my life and the family and create a brighter future. I’m looking forward to putting my skills to use and start my career in powerline construction.”

“I really liked being out in the field and operating equipment. Today’s graduation makes all of those early morning classes worth it;” says Sandrea Morriseau, a participant from North Caribou Lake First Nation.

The Wataynikaneyap Power transmission project is currently scheduled to be constructed by the end of 2023, and is projected to create 769 jobs during the construction phase and $900 million in socio-economic benefits.

Three additional intakes for the Line Crew Ground Support Training Course will be offered on August 13, 2018, April 29, 2019, and August 19, 2019. The group has a goal to see 48 students receive training certificates. For additional information please visit: www.wataypower.ca.


About Wataynikaneyap Power: Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission company, regulated by the Ontario Energy Board, equally owned by 22 First Nation communities (51%), in partnership with Fortis (49%). FortisOntario Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis, and an electricity transmission and distribution utility holding company based in Ontario, owns 49% of the general partner of Wataynikaneyap Power and acts as the project manager. To connect remote First Nations communities to the electrical grid, Wataynikaneyap Power will develop, manage construction, and operate approximately 1,800 kilometers of 230 kV, 115 kV, and 44 kV lines in northwestern Ontario. For further information visit www.wataypower.ca.

About Opiikapawiin Services: Opiikapawiin Services was established by a partnership of 22 First Nations in Northwestern Ontario, the 22 First Nations Partnership is also majority owner in Wataynikaneyap Power. Opiikapawiin Services is responsible for administering projects and programs for Wataynikaneyap Power relating to community engagement, community readiness, education & training, business readiness, stakeholder engagement, communications, and capacity building. Opiikapawiin Services will also support the First Nations Partnership in the management of its investment in Wataynikaneyap Power, which includes raising equity for the First Nations interest in the transmission project. For further information visit www.oslp.ca.

About IHSA: IHSA is a leader in health and safety education. Through skills-based training and evaluation, IHSA provides safety solutions to those who perform high-risk activities such as working at heights, working with energized high-voltage power systems, and utility line clearing. For further information visit www.ihsa.ca.


Gord Downie Tribute Concert in Hometown to Raise Money for Four Charities – Samaritan Mag

A group of Kingston, Ontario musicians are coming together to share their music and the message of hope and reconciliation as part of a Gord Downie Tribute Concert, to be held at The Ale House tomorrow (July 20).

All money raised from the event will be divided between and donated to two local and two national charities: The Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research, Queen’s University Cancer Research Institute, The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund and The Kingston chapter of the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA), all causes inextricably linked to the late singer of The Tragically Hip — Indigenous people and cancer research.

Downie died Oct. 17 of last year of brain cancer.

In The Hip, Downie was always an advocate for social justice, with particular sensitivity to the plight of many First Nations communities and families. He used the final years, months and days of his life to highlight their plight, and the social ills that inundate many Indigenous families due to decades of economic deprivation and the legacy of colonization.

Read More: https://www.samaritanmag.com/news/gord-downie-tribute-concert-hometown-raise-money-four-charities

OAG: Special Examination—Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Ottawa, 20 July 2018—The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has made public the report of the special examination conducted jointly by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and Ernst & Young Limited Liability PartnershipLLP. The examination covered the Corporation’s systems and practices for the period between 1 March 2017 and 29 December 2017. Under the Financial Administration Act, federal Crown corporations are subject to a special examination by the Auditor General at least every 10 years.

A special examination examines the systems and practices of a Crown corporation that are key to providing it with reasonable assurance that its assets are safeguarded and controlled, its resources are managed economically and efficiently, and its operations are carried out effectively. Special examination reports are therefore a source of important information that parliamentarians can use to hold Crown corporations to account.

This special examination report will be included in the Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to be presented to Parliament in Fall 2018.

– 30 –

The Special Examination report is available on the Crown Corporation’s website.

Please visit our Media Room for more information.


Media Advisory – First Nation Leaders, Elders, Women and Youth Gather in Vancouver, BC for AFN 39th Annual General Assembly and National Chief Election

Media Advisory – First Nation Leaders, Elders, Women and Youth Gather in Vancouver, BC for AFN 39th Annual General Assembly and National Chief Election

OTTAWA, July 20, 2018  – First Nation leaders and citizens from across Canada will gather in the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh in Vancouver, British Columbia from July 24-26 for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) 39th Annual General Assembly (AGA) and the election for the AFN National Chief. Participants will gather under the theme “Working Together: Our Rights, Our Way, Our Future.”

The three-day AGA and Election for National Chief takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre located at 999 Canada Place. Voting for the AFN National Chief begins on July 25.

Current agenda is posted on the AFN website. Media highlights include:

  • Tuesday, July 24, 2018
    • Beginning at 8:30 a.m. to Noon (all times local)
      • Opening Ceremonies & Grand Entry
      • Address from AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde
      • Opening Remarks and Greetings:
        AFN BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee
        Chief Wayne Sparrow, Musqueam First Nation
        Squamish Nation Councillors Dustin Rivers and Deanna Lewis
        Chief Maureen Thomas, Tsleil-Waututh Nation (tbc)
        Honourable Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation
    • 1 to 4:30 p.m. 
      • All Candidates Forum – the AFN Chief Electoral Officer is responsible for the format and presiding over this open forum with all candidates for National Chief
  • Wednesday, July 25, 2018
    • 9:00 a.m. 
      • AFN Election for National Chief Opens – First ballot voting begins at 9 a.m. and is expected to close at 12 noon.  Results will be reported to delegates. Second ballot and subsequent ballots commence if required.
      • When the election is complete an Oath of Office Ceremony takes place.
  • Thursday, July 26, 2018
    • Beginning at 9:00 a.m. 
      • Opening Remarks by National Chief
      • Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
      • Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada
      • Six Nations Chief Ava Hill and Families – Justice
      • Honouring of former AFN Yukon Regional Chief Mike Smith by Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek
    • 1:00 p.m.4:30 p.m.
      • Delegates discuss resolutions
      • Closing Ceremony

Note: It is not possible to specify when the election for National Chief will conclude. Rules for the election of National Chief can be found in Appendix A of the AFN Charter at:

There is no fee for media to attend the AGA but media accreditation is required at Registration.  Media are encouraged to pre-register by using the Registration Form at:
http://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/18-06-05-AFN-Annual-General-Assembly-Notice-EN-update.pdf or by emailing your name and organization to the emails below.

A full agenda and information on the AFN Annual General Assembly is available at:

Information on related special and cultural events hosted by the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) is available at:

The Assembly of First Nation is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: Monica Poirier, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, (613) 292-0857 or poirierm@afn.ca; Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer, (613) 314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca; Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director, (613) 292-2787 or dkelly@afn.ca

Organization Profile

Assembly of First Nations

Media advisory: MP Lefebvre to announce FedNor support to create jobs, growth and new economic opportunities throughout the Manitoulin region

M’Chigeeng First Nation, Ontario, July 20, 2018 — Paul Lefebvre, Member of Parliament for Sudbury, will be in M’Chigeeng First Nation on July 23, 2018 to make a significant FedNor announcement to support the long-term social and economic prosperity of municipalities & Indigenous communities throughout the Manitoulin region. The announcement will be made on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor.

MP Lefebvre will participate in a photo opportunity and will be available to answer questions from the media following the announcement.

Date:               Monday, July 23, 2018

Time:              1:00 p.m.

Location:        Ojibwe Cultural Foundation
15, Old Highway 551 Road
M’Chigeeng First Nation, ON


Barclay Babcock
Communications Officer


Eleven at McMaster named Vanier Scholars, Banting Fellows – McMaster

July 19, 2018

Ten McMaster graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow have received the Government of Canada’s most prestigious scholarships for doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers, tackling research areas including diabetes in expectant mothers, breast cancer and high-altitude adaptations in mice.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, named after former Governor-General Georges Vanier, recognize outstanding doctoral students, providing $50,000 per year for up to three years. Up to 166 scholarships are awarded annually, with awards distributed evenly among three federal granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Vanier Scholars are selected based on academic excellence, research potential and leadership ability.

Including this year’s researchers, McMaster has had a total of 81 Vanier Scholars since the program began in 2008.

Read More: https://brighterworld.mcmaster.ca/articles/eleven-at-mcmaster-named-vanier-scholars-banting-fellows/

Local leaders express disappointment in first Ford government throne speech – Manitoulin.ca

July 20, 2018

ELLIOT LAKE—Both Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha and Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare were disappointed with last week’s Ontario Progressive Conservative Party throne speech. 

After listening to the PC throne speech, Mr. Mantha said, “I am definitely disappointed but unfortunately not surprised. I’m disappointed both in the direction this new government has announced it is taking as well as the blatant backroom deal practices they are already employing.” He said the throne speech shows that Ontario is being dragged backwards by (Premier) Doug Ford and his insider friends and lobbyists.

Mr. Ford and his ministers were sworn in just days ago. The fledgling ministers have not even taken any time to familiarize themselves with their portfolios and challenges facing them, said Mr. Mantha. “The Conservatives started off by cancelling cap-and-trade with no plan to replace it. They seem to have put little or no thought into the fact that this means hundreds of millions of dollars have been cut from things like school repairs. This will directly impact our education system and our children’s future now and for decades to come.”

Read More: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/botched-renovations-nunavik-housing-lawyers-1.4754737


Health Canada launches the Pursue Your Passion interactive engagement tour

Tour will bring interactive exhibit across Canada offering Canadians the opportunity to learn the facts about cannabis and encourage youth to pursue healthy activities, rather than using cannabis.

July 20, 2018 – Ottawa, ON

The Government is taking a public health approach to legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis to keep it out of the hands of youth and to keep profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime. To support the new legislation, the Government has an ongoing robust public education campaign to inform Canadians, especially youth, about the health risks associated with cannabis use.

This week, Health Canada launched the Pursue Your Passion travelling engagement tour at the Buskers on the Bay festival in Saint John, New Brunswick and at the Folk on the Rocks Music Festival in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Ambassadors at the exhibit will engage visitors in conversations to learn about the health impacts of cannabis. Through participation at creative, physical and digital stations at the exhibit, young Canadians will be encouraged to make healthy lifestyle choices and pursue their passions, such as physical activities, music or creative arts, rather than using cannabis. The interactive exhibit will travel to local events, festivals and fairs across the country from July until late fall 2018. A second wave of the tour is being planned beyond fall 2018.

Canadians are encouraged to visit Canada.ca/cannabis to get the facts about cannabis in Canada, and to find out when the engagement tour may be coming to their region.


“I am pleased to launch the Pursue Your Passion interactive engagement tour. This tour builds on the national dialogue on cannabis health impacts that we started more than a year ago. This initiative is one of many public education efforts underway and provides an important opportunity to educate youth and young adults directly as we prepare for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • The Cannabis Act has received Royal Assent and will come into force on October 17, 2018.
  • The Pursue Your Passion travelling engagement tour follows other extremely successful engagement tours such as the recurring Break-it-Off smoking cessation campaign and recent opioid public engagement activities which help audiences better understand important public health information.
  • Despite the fact that cannabis has been illegal, 12% of Canadians reported using it at least once in 2015, according to the latest Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey. That rate is even higher for young people, with usage as high as 21% among youth, aged 15 to 19, and 30% among young adults, aged 20 to 24.
  • The 2016-17 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey showed that students in grades 7-12 who consume cannabis were an average of 14 years old when they first used cannabis.
  • The same survey also showed that almost 10% of Canadian students felt there was no risk in regular cannabis use.

Associated links


Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

Public Inquiries:


Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Congratulates Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart on Being Elected to a Second Term

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Congratulates Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart on Being Elected to a Second Term

July 20, 2018

(Ottawa, ON): Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde congratulates re-elected Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, elected yesterday at the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs 30th Annual General Assembly taking place at Brokenhead Ojibway First Nation in Treaty 1 territory.

“I congratulate my colleague Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart today on behalf of the entire AFN Executive Committee,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “I know he will continue to be a strong voice for First Nations in Manitoba and across the country. Regional Chief Hart has been driving action and overseeing the AFN’s work in key areas like housing, infrastructure and drinking water, and child welfare. He’s also a strong voice for the environment and protection and respect for our traditional territories. I look forward to our continued advocacy and leadership to advance First Nations rights.”

Regional Chief Kevin T. Hart is from the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and has been re-elected for a second term as Manitoba Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) is the main political organization representing Chiefs from across Manitoba.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information, please contact:

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382

Jenna Young Castro
AFN Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)

Mayor sets up indigenous advisory circle – Soo Today

All matters relating to the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations are being referred to the new Bawating Advisory Circle

Three years after Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued recommendations to municipalities as part of its final report on residential schools, Sault Ste. Marie’s mayor is establishing a Bawating Advisory Circle to begin acting on those calls to action.

The new advisory circle is being set up following consultations with Batchewana Chief Dean Sayers and Garden River Chief Paul Syrette.

Read More: https://www.sootoday.com/local-news/mayor-sets-up-indigenous-advisory-circle-989583

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