WHITEHORSE – The Council of Yukon First Nations, Yukon First Nations, and Government of Yukon leaders came together this week to discuss ways forward for Yukon’s sustainable energy future.
Hosted by the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) with funding support by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, the leadership summit brought together leaders representing Yukon First Nations, Yukon Energy Corporation, ATCO Electric Yukon, and the Government of Yukon.
Emphasizing the urgency posed by climate change and the unique energy context in the Yukon, the leadership summit built upon recommendations resulting from an energy technicians forum that CYFN hosted in late October. The forum brought together technicians from Yukon First Nations, the Government of Yukon and public utilities who collaborated on recommendations to inform Yukon’s energy future within overarching themes of governance, planning, and investment.
Central to these conversations is the shared recognition that the future of energy in the Yukon requires a collaborative approach—one that involves all parties vested in the territory’s well-being. Echoing the spirit of Chapter 22 of the Final Agreements, the meeting underscored the imperative for Yukon First Nations active economic participation in the energy sector, establishing a solid foundation for partnerships in potential energy endeavors.
The multifaceted challenges and opportunities in Yukon’s energy sector includes the need for substantial investments across the entire electricity infrastructure, coupled with the development of dependable renewable energy sources capable of meeting the territory’s winter energy demands. Related discussions identified a core commitment to ensure energy remains accessible and affordable for all Yukoners while progressively steering towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy landscape.
Yukon First Nations are integral partners in the collaborative journey towards a sustainable energy future in the Yukon. An unwavering dedication to harmonizing economic progress with environmental stewardship sets the tone for inclusive and forward-thinking dialogue. Yukon’s energy leaders remain resolute in fostering a resilient, renewable, and equitable energy landscape for generations to come as they collectively navigate the complexities of energy transition through collaboration and partnership.
As stewards of the land and custodians of its resources, Yukon First Nations recognize the critical importance of charting a sustainable energy future for the Yukon. Our commitment to collaboration with all stakeholders underscores our dedication to preserving our heritage while advancing towards a cleaner and more resilient energy landscape. Through inclusive dialogue and partnerships, we aim to weave together the threads of tradition, innovation, and environmental responsibility to illuminate the path towards a brighter, greener future for our communities and generations to follow.
– CYFN Grand Chief Peter Johnston
The Yukon’s existing hydroelectric facilities were built in the 1950s without First Nations involvement. Today, we know that the way to build strong, sustainable and effective energy infrastructure is in partnership, and our government is actively working with Yukon First Nations to do so. This includes identifying and building projects like Haeckel Hill, collaborating on the relicensing of hydroelectric facilities, and planning for the territory’s energy future together.
– Premier Ranj Pillai
The way Yukoners use energy is changing rapidly. This means that Yukon Energy has to be able to move new and existing projects forward so that the system can meet our collective needs. While we are proud that over 90% of the electricity we generate comes from renewable sources, significant and urgent investments are needed in all parts of our electricity grid so that we can continue to provide renewable electricity to Yukoners. The meaningful involvement of Yukon First Nations is critical to our energy future and Yukon energy is committed to working together in a good way.
– Lesley Cabott, Chair, Yukon Energy Board of Directors– [ATCO Electric Yukon]
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