THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO ---- April 7, 2015 - The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) was on hand for the announcement today that the Province of Ontario will move forward to make the Northern Industrial Energy Rebate (NIER) program permanent and funded at $120 million annually.
The NIER program reimburses industry, including mining and forestry with a 25% energy cost rebate per year. Valued by both industry and the region, NOMA has been requesting that the government make the program permanent.
“We are very pleased with today’s announcement,” said Iain Angus, NOMA Vice President adding that NOMA has been advocating to bring sustainability in energy costs for large industrial consumers. “In the instance of mining companies, they project their operating costs well into the future even before they put a shovel into the ground. An energy rebate program like the NIER program provides investors with the confidence they need to know in terms of what their long-term energy costs might be.”
NOMA welcomes the initiative of the Ontario Mining Association Energy Committee who have also been advocating a change in the policy. “They fully understand the benefits of making the program permanent as we see the mining industry expand in the Northwest,” said Angus.
NOMA will encourage the government to expand the NIER program to include small and mid-tiered energy consumers. Current energy thresholds in place exclude smaller consumers from eligibility.
“We will continue to work with the government to enhance this program making it eligible for smaller energy consumers as well as new investors in the northern resource sector,” said Angus. “The north is seeing a rebound in forestry as well as new mining companies coming online. The NIER
Northern Industrial Electricity Rate (NIER) program
As Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines, I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes that investing in the North is investing in Ontario’s future.
We know that attracting and retaining industry investment in the North is critical to the economy, which is why I announced that in the upcoming budget, our government is committing up to $120 million per year in permanent support for the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate (NIER) program. Industry has said that the cost and availability of electricity is a major consideration when they choose where to do business and we’ve listened. And we want them to choose Ontario.
Our government created the NIER program in 2010 to help qualifying major industrial electricity consumers reduce their electricity costs so they could focus on creating and sustaining jobs, and maintain global competitiveness. I’m proud to say it’s been a success.
In fact, over the last five years our government has worked in collaboration with industry to maximize the opportunities associated with Northern Ontario’s abundant natural resources, thanks to NIER. It’s helped keep Ontario a stable and attractive destination for companies to do business. Forestry, mining and steel production continue to be the backbone of Northern Ontario’s economy. In fact, forestry and mineral related industries provide more than 245,000 direct and indirect jobs in Ontario. With today’s announcement, we are taking another step forward to maximize those job markets.
Investing in NIER is about ensuring the future growth of our Northern industries that employ Ontarians and drive the economy of Northern Ontario.
By Michael Gravelle,
Minister of Northern Development and Mines