Efficiency Manitoba provides funding for First Nation ground source heat pump training and installation program

Crown corporation supports Indigenous-led sustainable energy sources and long-term green job creation

Efficiency Manitoba is providing critical funding for Indigenous trainees on ground source heat pump technology and installation in First Nation communities. The Crown corporation, which is focused on helping Manitobans reduce their energy consumption, is partnering with Indigenous social enterprise Aki Energy to fund a training program that creates local employment opportunities in First Nation communities in Manitoba.

Through an intensive hands-on training program, now underway for 15 Indigenous trainees, Aki Energy is building capacity within First Nation communities to install and maintain the ground source heat pumps, including plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), ducting, and heavy equipment operation. Efficiency Manitoba is providing a contribution of up to 50% of the course costs to a maximum of $185,000. Additional support will come from the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association (MEIA), with the balance paid by participating First Nation communities.

“Partnerships such as this are a demonstration of reconciliation in action. Efficiency Manitoba is showing its commitment to working with First Nation communities and partners to find new and creative solutions to save energy and reduce energy bills,” said Environment and Climate Minister Kevin Klein. “It is exciting to see this important training program providing concrete and supportive action that develops skilled career opportunities in First Nation communities.”

Through this training, Efficiency Manitoba anticipates nearly 400 ground source heat pumps will be installed in Manitoba over the next four years in homes in First Nation communities. These installations will come through Efficiency Manitoba’s Community Ground Source Heat Pump Program, which partners with Raven Indigenous Capital Partners who use an innovative social finance model to cover the capital cost of the ground source heat pump systems.

“We’re excited to support this training initiative and work with several key partners to help more First Nation families access our Community Ground Source Heat Pump Program,” said Colleen Kuruluk, CEO, Efficiency Manitoba. “It’s through programs and collaborative initiatives like this that we can work with First Nation communities to reduce their energy bills, build strong relationships, and create a more sustainable future.”

The success of this initiative will help First Nation families enjoy improved heating and cooling in their homes while saving money. It also has the added benefit of enabling employment via training and skill development for Manitoba First Nations, leading to long-term green job creation.

“We love to put solutions in the hands of Indigenous people,” said Jeffrey Cyr, Managing Partner, Raven Indigenous Capital Partners. “Our goal is to work with communities to identify social problems—such as rising households costs—and their solutions. We find partners such as Efficiency Manitoba and Aki Energy who can help us bridge the financial gap that allows these programs to move forward at a lower cost to the communities.”

Efficiency Manitoba’s support of Aki Energy’s training program provides the opportunity for more Indigenous Manitobans from First Nation communities to be professionally trained to install and maintain ground source heat pumps, growing the number of certified installers in the province and providing future employment opportunities. To enable and support participation, trainees who are recruited from First Nation communities to complete Aki Energy’s training program have their course, accommodation, and food covered while in the program. Aki Energy also provides various social supports while trainees are in the program such as family financial planning, CPR training, and family counselling support.

“Community is at the centre of everything we do,” said Darcy Wood, CEO, Aki Energy. “Our goal is to provide comprehensive training opportunities to ensure long term economic development and sustainability within communities. Our approach is a holistic one; we provide support not only through hands-on experience but in social aspects as well. We want the individuals we teach to support their communities—to spread the word about sustainability.”

For more information about Efficiency Manitoba’s rebates and offers, visit efficiencyMB.ca.

About Efficiency Manitoba

Efficiency Manitoba is Manitoba’s Crown corporation dedicated to energy efficiency. With legislated long-term energy savings targets to achieve, the organization has over 40 programs and offers available to help Manitobans save energy, money, and the environment. Efficiency Manitoba is contributing to reconciliation through ongoing, collaborative, and mutually respectful dialogue directly with Indigenous communities and groups along with ongoing engagement, action, and support leading to energy and bill savings.

Release date: April 18, 2023