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As a pre-election wrap-up, we sent email questions to several current ministers. We will be posting their answers as they come in.
Minister Amarjeet Sohi - Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)
1. WaterToday - Our questions pertain to the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities: Capacity Building Stream. You had two call for proposals both of which are now closed. Can you tell us how many were received and accepted? Where they came from, (for profit or non for profit organizations, governments, Indigenous Organizations)?
NRCan - The Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities (CERRC) Program, delivered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), officially launched in February 2018 to support the clean energy projects that will reduce diesel reliance as well as build local capacity. Through two rounds of funding, NRCan has received 181 proposals, from every region in Canada. In the first round of proposals, 11 projects were recommended for funding which will be located in Indigenous communities. The second round of proposals are due by July 30, 2019.
Applicants come from a wide range of organizations, including private companies, non-profit organizations, communities, development corporations, and academic institutions.
2. WaterToday - Which of the three proposed streams - Scaling up, modifying or improving curriculum and technical training; Network development / peer-to-peer learning opportunities; or Community energy planning or community energy literacy- was the most popular? Can you give us a brief overview of one of these projects?
NRCan -The CERRC capacity building stream aims to support community-driven projects related to knowledge and skill development that will position or enable the reduction of diesel use in rural and remote communities. The thematic areas are designed to guide applicants, to focus their proposals and to target outcomes, however, they are encouraged to submit proposals that cut across several themes as they are interconnected. Many of the proposals touch on more than one of the thematic areas identified, however the majority of the proposals NRCan has received to date include some component of energy planning and awareness building on energy use in their community and the potential opportunities of transitioning to cleaner sources of energy for heat and power. The following two CERRC projects are good examples of this:
Energizing Youth: Capacity and Skill Building Program (NRCan supporting $400,000 over six years): Led by Opiikapawiin Services LP, this program will create pathways for interested youth to pursue employment in the clean energy field among 24 First Nation partners in Northern Ontario, 16 of which are remote, diesel reliant First Nation communities. The program will focus on teaching participants about the fundamentals of electricity transmission and distribution and provide them with job-shadowing opportunities and technical training. Its curriculum will incorporate traditional knowledge from participating communities and cross-cultural sharing.
NunatuKavut Youth Community Engagement Projects (NRCan supporting $245,000 over four years): Led by the NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC), this project will support the hiring of a clean energy coordinator, who will liaise between the NCC, research and not-for-profit partners, and communities to implement clean energy alternatives to diesel fuel. The funding will also assist in hosting gatherings that focus on community perspectives and youth engagement activities.
3. WaterToday - The main goal for this program was decreasing reliance on diesel in remote communities. Can you tell us how successful the program has been so far, how much diesel has or will be saved?
NRCan -The ultimate goal of the CERRC program is to provide opportunities for rural and remote communities to reduce diesel reliance for heat and power generation. The program will provide $220 million in funding over the next six years (April 2018 – March 2024), of which $210 million is for clean energy projects. Under this part of the CERRC program, NRCan may support projects related to one or more of the following components:
While it is still early days for many of these projects, the Government of Canada is estimating that once they are operational, around 33 million litres of diesel fuel will be eliminated annually from off-grid communities for heat and power.
- Deployment of renewable energy technologies for electricity including hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, and bioenergy. Heat may also be produced, but the primary purpose of the project must be electricity production.
- Innovative demonstrations to reduce diesel use through the validation of novel renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, and smart-grid technologies and applications.
- BioHeat to reduce fossil fuel use through the installation or investigation into the feasibility of biomass heating or combined heat and power systems for community and/or industrial applications.
Minister Ralph Goodale - Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
1. WaterToday - As per your announcement at the Prairie Water Summit, Canadian municipalities need to plan and prepare for more flood events, the cost of paying for the damages after the fact is too high. How is your government recommending that municipalities
protect Critical infrastructure ahead of the next flood season?
Public Safety - In response to your questions, provincial and territorial governments are ultimately responsible for overseeing flood mitigation efforts within their jurisdictions. Provincial and territorial governments design, develop and deliver disaster response and assistance programs within their own jurisdictions.
Although each province and territory manage flood risks separately, with the involvement of different departments and ministries, these efforts invariably involve working with local municipalities or other water agencies to identify flood mitigation needs, establish priorities and implement initiatives, such as preparing and maintaining flood mapping. Generally, local governments, working in conjunction with provincial/territorial authorities, are ultimately responsible for the identification of flood risks and the implementation of flood mitigation measures.
In addition, the federal government:
- Shares the cost of mitigation projects under the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) and the New Building Canada Fund (NBCF)
- Launched the $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to support large-scale infrastructure projects to help communities better manage the risks of disasters triggered by natural hazards.
- Released the Federal Floodplain Mapping Framework to strengthen floodplain mapping, better addressing overland flooding.
- Created the Flood Ready public awareness campaign to offer tools and tips to help people protect themselves before disaster strikes.
- Is integrating climate resilience into the National Building Code and conducting research to factor climate resilience into the design of buildings and infrastructure.
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