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Jul 22, 2019

On July 22, 2019, Wataynikaneyap Power LP (“Wataynikaneyap Power”) the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada signed agreements that formalized support for the Northern Ontario Grid Connection Project. The signing of definitive documents enables all partners to work within the intricate business model agreed to by both levels of government, First Nations and other partners.

The Project will build approximately 1,800 kilometres of transmission lines in Northwestern Ontario to connect 17 remote First Nations communities to the Ontario power grid.

Among the multiple benefits of the Wataynikaneyap Project, residents across the region will now be connected to clean, reliable and accessible energy. It will also create new economic opportunities including an estimated 769 jobs during construction and close to $900 million in socio-economic value.

The McMillan team, led by Robert Scavone and Eric Friedman, acted for the Federal Departments of Justice and Indigenous Services on the CAD$1.9 billion Wataynikaneyap Transmission Project in northwestern Ontario.

Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission company, regulated by the Ontario Energy Board, and majority-owned by a partnership of 24 First Nation communities in partnership with Fortis Inc.and other private investors. The 24 First Nation communities established Opiikapawiin Services to lead the community engagement and participation for Wataynikaneyap Power LP. Fortis Ontario Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc., acts as the project manager through its wholly owned subsidiary, Wataynikaneyap Power PM Inc.

McMillan has broad experience acting for First Nations, governments and natural resource companies on a broad range of economic development initiatives.  This includes partnership agreements, impact and benefit agreement, project finance and environmental issues.  Through this work, we are well placed to identify common interests and develop options that can provide mutual benefit to Indigenous communities and society at large.

McMillan’s Financial Services Group represents clients around the world, with a substantial practice acting for Canadian and international financial institutions. Our team combines experience working in key Canadian national markets as well as established and emerging financial centres. We work in inter-disciplinary teams to delivery industry-specific expertise.