Ontario Expands Access to Natural Gas in Rural, Northern and Indigenous Communities
June 09, 2021
Toronto — The Ontario government is expanding access to natural gas across the province to help keep the cost of energy low for families, businesses and farmers. Phase 2 of the Natural Gas Expansion Program will allocate more than $234 million to support approximately 8750 connections in 43 rural, northern and Indigenous communities. “Today we’re celebrating an important milestone in Ontario’s energy history with Phase 2 of the Natural Gas Expansion Program,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We’re making good on our promise to deliver affordable energy and expand natural gas pipelines to more communities, while at the same time improving economic development and creating thousands of new jobs.” In addition to connecting thousands of residential customers across Ontario, Phase 2 will support economic development in the Hamilton and Niagara areas with expansion projects planned for Grimsby-Lincoln and the Hamilton Airport and surrounding areas. The projects are expected to create approximately 5000 jobs within these communities. “We’re sending a clear message that Ontario is open for business,” said Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy. “As part of our government’s plan to make life more affordable, we prioritized broad distribution across Ontario to help as many homes and businesses keep the cost of energy low, support jobs and attract new investment. This will be a game-changer for these 43 communities.” The average household could save between $250 to $1,500 per year in energy costs by switching to natural gas from costlier fuel sources. Businesses are expected to save up to 30 per cent on energy costs per year. Construction for projects under Phase 2 will begin as soon as this year, with all 28 expansion projects expected to be underway by the end of 2025.
Phase 2 of the Natural Gas Expansion Program will allocate more than $234 million to support 28 new natural gas expansion projects, which are expected to be underway by the end of 2025.
Two expansion projects will directly benefit Indigenous communities, specifically the Red Rock First Nation and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation.
Since its launch in 2019, Phase 1 of the Natural Gas Expansion Program has supported projects that are forecast to connect over 9,000 customers, in 16 communities, to natural gas.
Phase 1 and 2 projects are funded through a $1-per-month charge to existing natural gas customers.
"Through Ontario’s Natural Gas Expansion Program, these projects will bring much needed and wanted natural gas to additional communities while supporting jobs, helping to attract local investment, and providing energy savings to residents and businesses. We are thrilled that the Government of Ontario selected these projects and look forward to working together with the province and local municipalities to continue to bring natural gas to more Ontario homes and businesses." - Cynthia Hansen Executive Vice President & President, Gas Distribution & Storage, Enbridge Inc. "EPCOR is looking forward to expanding our natural gas infrastructure and connecting neighbours to an affordable, reliable, convenient and clean source of energy. Under the province’s Phase 2 expansion, more families, farms and businesses throughout rural Ontario will be able to access natural gas while generating economic development in the region." - Susannah Robinson Vice President, Ontario Region, EPCOR "Natural gas is a reliable and affordable source of energy for households and businesses across the province, and it is currently the only resource with enough flexibility and capacity to meet peak demand periods year-round. We are pleased to see the Ontario government move forward with the expansion of natural gas to ensure businesses can continue operating throughout economic recovery and beyond." - Rocco Rossi President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce "The OGVG is pleased to hear of the outcomes from the Natural Gas Expansion program and the efforts of the Ontario government, Ministers Walker and Rickford, and all staff at the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, that will ensure increased accessibility for rural communities and potential greenhouse development." - Aaron Coristine Manager of Science, Regulatory Affairs, Government Relations, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers "OFA is pleased to see the continuation of natural gas expansion to rural and remote communities across Ontario. Natural gas access is vital to farms and rural businesses, providing reliable, affordable energy options with the potential to drastically boost businesses opportunities by significantly lowering energy costs." - Peggy Brekveld President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture