Scugog Island First Nation company key player in Pickering and Darlington nuclear projects

Published August 18, 2023 at 4:59 pm

Voyageur workers help execute trenching and excavation for a water treatment plant at Darlington Nuclear.

One of Ontario Power Generation’s key service providers is a two year- construction and maintenance company based in Scugog Island First Nation.

Voyageur Services, established in 2021, is helping provide lasting economic benefits for First Nations communities by providing civil construction and maintenance services for OPG’s nuclear operations and commercial facilities.

When OPG released its Reconciliation Action Plan two years ago Clint Keeler saw an opportunity to make a real difference for Indigenous communities and businesses while supporting Ontario’s clean energy future.

That same year, the energy industry veteran helped establish Voyageur Services Ltd., an Indigenous-owned company specializing in civil construction and facilities maintenance, particularly in the clean energy sector.

With about 50 employees and a head office located in the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Voyageur is now helping to bring lasting, positive change to Indigenous communities while supporting OPG’s nuclear operations and new nuclear development.

Groundbreaking in 2021

“When we started Voyageur, we wanted to structure the company so that the community owns a portion of the business and we had a management team in place that was familiar with clean energy and working with nuclear power,” said Keeler, now the President of Voyageur. “We said, ‘Let’s try to build something that truly meets OPG’s RAP goals,’ to bring true lasting benefit to some of the communities in our local area.”

“We really see Voyageur as the best fit to be that bridge of trust for Indigenous communities, to act as the mechanism for these new opportunities when larger energy projects come into the communities.”

OPG’s action plan AP outlines several ambitious goals and actions, including growing the company’s economic impact on Indigenous communities and businesses by $1 billion over 10 years.

One of the ways it will achieve this goal is by increasing procurement of Indigenous businesses like Voyageur.

As a Certified Aboriginal Business, Voyageur is a majority Indigenous-owned company, with the Noozhoo Nokiiyan Limited Partnership (NLLP) a primary equity owner. As the NLLP is the economic development business of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, proceeds from Voyageur’s business operations directly benefit the community.

In addition to Scugog Island, Voyageur works closely with other Williams Treaties First Nations across central and southern Ontario, including Alderville, Hiawatha, and Curve Lake, providing employment and economic opportunities for community members and businesses.

In its young history, Voyageur has already completed several projects for OPG, with contracts totalling more than $13 million. These included a forebay dredging project at Pickering Nuclear, trenching and excavation for a water treatment plant at Darlington Nuclear, and supporting E.S. Fox with the ongoing early site preparation work at Darlington Nuclear for North America’s first commercial Small Modular Reactor.

Voyageur Services is helping to bring lasting, positive change to Indigenous communities while supporting OPG’s nuclear operations and new nuclear development. The company also has a contract with OPG to provide on-demand repairs and emergency maintenance for 16 commercial facilities around the GTA.

As a growing company, Voyageur continues to participate in job fairs and trade shows, particularly in the Williams Treaties First Nations, to help recruit more skilled trades and match the skills offered by community members with the current needs of the energy sector.

The company is also helping break down some barriers for smaller reserve-based companies to participate in the energy sector by bringing them on as subcontractors.

“We really see Voyageur as the best fit to be that bridge of trust for Indigenous communities, to act as the mechanism for these new opportunities when larger energy projects come into the communities,” said Keeler. “We’re still early in the journey, still building out our capacity, but we’re making good progress.”

Indigenous-owned Voyageur Services is empowering First Nations communities

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