First Light, New Workers for Wataynikaneyap
Thunder Bay, Ont. – A major milestone was hit on Canada’s Largest First Nations-led infrastructure project as the Pikangikum First Nation was officially connected to Ontario’s power grid through the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Line Project. The Project is one of the most ambitious and transformative infrastructure projects in Canada’s history, led by 22 First Nations communities.“Like many First Nations communities, Pikangikum has relied on aging and outdated diesel generators for electricity for far too long. With the connection of our community to the provincial power grid we see access to safe, reliable energy and, more importantly, we see a brighter future,” says Chief Dean Owen, of the Pikangikum First Nation. “Today, we see a future where there are jobs for our people, where our children can consistently go to school, where we can build, power, and live in new homes, and where there are business opportunities for even more growth.” The late December news of the official lighting ceremony followed on the heels of another celebration for the project team: the second round of Line Crew Ground Support graduates emerged from their 15-week certificate program. Held at Gridlink for those looking to gain direct or in-direct employment in the construction of the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project and the powerline industry, the course is one of several being presented by Wataynikaneyap Power PM, Opiikapawiin Services LP, Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA), PowerTel and Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: The Wenjack Education Institute. Past graduates have found meaningful employment in the powerline construction sector, mining, construction, environmental monitoring and some have enrolled in further education. Opiikapawiin Services LP (OSLP) is coordinating the delivery of the training program and has two more intakes planned for April and August of 2019. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.