GUELPH, ON – The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) welcomes the provincial government’s plan to bring affordable energy to more families, farms and businesses by expanding access to natural gas in rural, Northern and Indigenous communities.
In an announcement on June 9, Premier Doug Ford unveiled the second phase of the government’s Natural Gas Expansion Program, which will allocate $234 million to support 8,750 natural gas connections in 43 communities. The expansion of natural gas pipelines is expected to save the average household between $250 and $1,500 per year in energy costs, with a projected 30% savings for businesses in rural, Northern and Indigenous communities.
“Natural gas is a key investment to give rural businesses — including farms — a competitive edge,” said Peggy Brekveld, OFA President. “This has been a top priority for the organization and our members for more than a decade, and we’re pleased to see these projects moving forward.”
Energy is one of the largest costs for rural homes, farms and small businesses. Providing access to natural gas in these communities will dramatically boost economic opportunities by significantly lowering energy costs for farmers, families and business owners.
“Rural Ontario needs reliable and affordable energy,” said Brekveld. “It’s vital to farms and rural businesses to remain competitive and drive economic growth.”
OFA estimates the lack of natural gas access in rural Ontario costs businesses and residents more than $1 billion in annual energy costs. Phase 2 of the expansion program will fund the construction of 28 natural gas projects. Work is scheduled to begin this year with the completion of all 28 expected by the end of 2025.
The first phase of the program — currently underway — is expected to connect more than 9,000 homes and businesses in 16 communities.
“Investments like these in rural Ontario will have significant benefits for the entire province,” stated Brekveld. “It will create jobs, stimulate the provincial economy and ensure Ontario has a secure, sustainable food production system.”Source : OFA