First Nations Energy Summit 2021

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First Nations Energy Summit 2021

November 22 @ 9:00 am November 23 @ 1:00 pm

Led by the New Relationship Trust, BC First Nations have set a course for securing a place in BC’s electricity markets. This two-day event discussed plans to create a First Nations Power Authority in BC and the policies that are needed for favourable market conditions. Speakers reflected on the important role that renewable energy plays in self-determination and reconciliation.

First Nations across Canada are forging ahead with fully-owned and partnered projects in renewable energy and transmission. We also heard from leaders of some of the most exciting energy projects and partnerships that are leading the way. Additional presentations addressed the utility models that are working for municipalities, new funding programs, and opportunities for Indigenous youth!

First Nations: Thanks to the generous funding of the New Relationship Trust, BC First Nations delegates receive complimentary registration. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

Watch the Recordings

Day 1 (November 22, 2021)

Day 2 (November 23, 2021)

Master of Ceremonies

Cole Sayers is from the Hupacasath First Nation, one of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nations on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Cole studied Political Science …

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and Indigenous Studies at the University of Victoria while working for, and with, Indigenous students in creating safe, supportive spaces and services that contributed to student success and well-being. In September 2017, he completed the 12 month Aboriginal Youth Internship Program (AYIP) before joining the New Relationship Trust team.

Speaker Sessions

November 22

Blessing & Opening Address, 9:00 – 9:30 am

Kekinusuqs, Dr. Judith Sayers is President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. She is also Chancellor of Vancouver Island University She is an adjunct professor with the …

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Gustavson School of Business and the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria.

Session 1: First Nations & Community Clean Energy Across Canada, 9:30 – 10:30 am

Mr. Guy Lonechild (White Bear First Nations- Treaty #4) is a well-known advocate in creating new economic opportunities and serves as President and CEO …

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of the First Nations Power Authority connecting both Indigenous and Industry leaders in renewable and alternative energy development.

As a first of its kind organization, Mr. Lonechild heads the organization as our strategic leader and serves the FNPA Board and provides leadership direction to the FNPA Team.

Jason Owen, P.Eng., M.Sc, is the manager of the Sustainability and Energy Services Division at the City of Surrey. Jason is a professional engineer and …

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urban planner with a background in municipal infrastructure, green buildings, community energy planning and renewable energy systems. Jason is a professional engineer and urban planner with a background in municipal infrastructure, green buildings, community energy planning and renewable energy systems.  Jason has an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from McGill University and a graduate degree in urban planning from the University of British Columbia.

Shaun Green is Marketing & Business Development Manager, Indigenous Relations at Stantec. He has worked in this area for both private sector engaging …

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indigenous communities and working for First Nations and Tribal Councils. He brings his perspective of understanding both Anishinaabe (Saulteaux-Ojibwe) and mainstream Canadian and how to bridge indigenous cultures in North America. He has experience in business development, municipal affairs and modular construction and has worked with dozens of First Nations in Western Canada. Clean energy offers an amazing opportunity for Indigenous communities that pairs with the values of a shared relationship with the land and looking after our Mother (Earth). Shaun is a status member of Berens River First Nation in Treaty 5 territory of Manitoba.

Of mixed Anishinaabe and European descent, Graeme Reed works at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) as a senior policy advisor, ensuring federal and …

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international climate and energy policy safeguards First Nations rights, jurisdiction and knowledge. During this time, he has had the opportunity to represent the AFN at the COP 23, COP 24, and COP 25 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In his spare time, he is a doctoral candidate at the University of Guelph, studying the intersection of Indigenous governance, environmental governance, and the climate crisis. 

Session 2: The Future of First Nations Clean Energy in BC, 11:00 – 11:45 am

Dave Lovekin is the director of the Pembina Institute‘s work on renewables in remote communities. In his years with the Institute — Canada’s leading energy …

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think tank — he has managed numerous corporate, community and government projects focusing on research and analysis to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions in Canada.

Cameron Lusztig is the President of Keppel Gate Consulting, Ltd. Mr. Lusztig is an economist specializing in energy markets and related public policy. During his …

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more than 30 years focused on British Columbia economics and public policy, Mr. Lusztig has worked with project developers, First Nations, utilities, and regulatory agencies.

Cole Sayers is from the Hupacasath First Nation, one of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nations on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Cole studied Political Science …

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and Indigenous Studies at the University of Victoria while working for, and with, Indigenous students in creating safe, supportive spaces and services that contributed to student success and well-being. In September 2017, he completed the 12 month Aboriginal Youth Internship Program (AYIP) before joining the New Relationship Trust team.

Keynote Speaker, 12:15 – 12:50 pm

Murray Rankin was elected the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head in 2020. He is the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Murray is a lawyer with expertise in environmental …

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Indigenous, and public law. He holds law degrees from the University of Toronto and Harvard Law School.

He was elected as the Member of Parliament for Victoria and served from 2012 until 2019. During this period, he was appointed Justice and Attorney General critic, Health critic and also served as NDP House Leader. In 2018, he was nominated by his colleagues from all parties as a finalist for Maclean’s “Hardest Working Parliamentarian.”

From 2019 to 2020 he was the Chair of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, overseeing all national security and intelligence activities carried out by the Government of Canada.

Previously he was a University of Victoria professor of law and taught environmental and administrative law. During this period, he helped develop groups such as the West Coast Environmental Law Association and the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre. More recently, he served as community co-chair of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria, a student-run legal clinic doing public interest work in environmental law.

Throughout his career he has been a dedicated advocate for climate action, accessible health care and child-care and has worked extensively to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Murray Rankin lives in Oak Bay with his spouse, Linda Hannah, and they have two adult sons, Ben and Mark.

November 23

Session 3: Transmission & Partnerships, 9:15 – 10:15 am

Niilo Edwards is the Executive Director of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition, a national First Nation led not-for-profit business capacity organization …

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Niilo joined the organization as Executive Director upon establishment in 2017. He is responsible for the overall organizational strategy including the management of the technical services provided to Coalition members to assist them in participating in major infrastructure projects on a commercial basis across Canada.

Margaret Kenequanash has been CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power since August 2017: an Indigenous-led licensed transmission entity bringing grid connection …

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to remote First Nation communities in northern Ontario currently powered by diesel generators. Margaret has a vast wealth of knowledge gleaned from over 20 years in various high-level positions, including being on the Sioux Lookout Municipal Council from 1990-1994 & Executive Director of the Shibogama First Nations Council from 2005-2017. 

Over the past 25+ years, Mr. Tim Lavoie has held various management and technical roles within the power utility sector. He has all the duties and …

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responsibilities associated with the human resources, information technology, legal counsel and corporate secretary staff/departments, of an Ontario-based diversified and growth oriented electricity transmission and distribution company. FortisOntario is a licensed generator, transmitter and distributor of electricity in Ontario and provides distribution services to 67,000 customers.

Sashen Guneratna is a Managing Director within the investments group and assists the Executive Team with implementing the Canada Infrastructure Bank‘s …

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investment strategy. Sashen has more than 20 years of banking and advisory experience encompassing several sectors and jurisdictions. Most recently, Sashen was a Partner within the Capital Projects and Infrastructure group at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP with a focus on Water and Wastewater, First Nations led projects, Power and Utilities.

Session 4: Reconciliation & the Legal Landscape, 10:30 – 11:00 am

Merle Alexander practices Indigenous resource law empowering nations through title and rights affirmation, sustainable economic development and …

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environmental conservation. Merle is a ‘life of project’ lawyer assisting with negotiations of all stages of impact benefit agreements, joint ventures, regulatory engagement, traditional knowledge collection and other corporate and tax-related advice. 

Session 5: Financing, Funding, & Industry Trends, 11:15 am – 12:15 pm

Eliana Chia joined the Fraser Basin Council in 2015 as part of the Climate Change and Air Quality Program and she is currently the Program Manager of Climate …

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and Energy Resilience. At FBC, Eliana manages the First Nations Home EnergySave program, the Renewable Energy for Remote Communities program, and the Adaptation program. She is passionate about building community resilience and engaging communities on social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Hillary Thatcher is Senior Director, Project Development, Indigenous Infrastructure. Hillary leads the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s Indigenous relationships …

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and opportunities to engage with Indigenous communities. She is part of the team offering advice and making investments consistent in CIB’s priority initiatives. Previously Director General of Innovation and Services at Indigenous Services Canada, Hillary spent 15 years with the Ontario government in senior roles across Indigenous Affairs, Energy and Infrastructure and Natural Resources.

Ricky-Lee Watts (Quu-as name Aamiitlaa) is the Youth Programme Manager at Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE), which is a pan-Canadian not-for-profit …

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platform which advances Indigenous inclusion in Canada’s energy futures economy through Indigenous leadership, and broad-based collaboration across the industry. With experience working with Indigenous communities, universities, government, he oversees Generation Power at ICE, an Indigenous youth clean energy and career training programme. He is Nuučaan̓uł, from Pacific northwest in Canada, and is a councillor for the Hupač̓asatḥ First Nation.

Sean LeRoy is Director of the Community Clean Energy Branch at the Ministry of Energy, Mines, & Low Carbon Innovation, whose mandate is to support the decarbonization of community energy systems across the province. Sean’s career spans several …

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sectors in the provincial and federal governments, including environmental assessment, mining, low-carbon fuels and intergovernmental relations. He is based in Victoria on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen speaking peoples.

Yuho Okada, MBA, is the President of Barkley Project Group. Based on Vancouver Island, Barkley Project Group is a relationship-driven business growing through …

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strong partnerships with Indigenous communities across BC. Known for its pragmatic approach to project management, Barkley Project Group works together with communities to provide the technical capacity needed in developing community owned sustainable energy and infrastructure projects from idea to operation. Barkley Project Group brings industry insights, extensive technical expertise, and tireless work ethic in assisting clients who pursue sustainable community development.

Previous to engaging in his current executive management role, Yuho has 8 years of hands-on experience in project management including project development, financing, strategic planning, economic analysis, and business planning for numerous clean energy projects in BC and Yukon. Yuho has also been leading Barkley’s business interests in the Japanese renewable energy market since 2013. He holds a BSc in Natural Resources Conservation from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from Royal Roads University.


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