Torys is project counsel to Wataynikaneyap Power, a partnership between 24 First Nations communities and FortisOntario Inc., the largest First Nations majority-owned infrastructure project to be developed in Canada. It is an unprecedented undertaking that will supply clean, reliable energy to thousands of residents in remote First Nations communities across Northwestern Ontario and will eliminate the financially unsustainable and environmentally risky reliance on diesel generation. Torys has acted on the project since 2013 and has advised on a wide range of commercial, regulatory and strategic matters related to the development, construction, financing and operation of the C$1.9 billion project. The project, over ten years in the making, involves the construction of a 1,725 km transmission system in northwestern Ontario to connect 17 remote First Nations communities to the provincial electricity system. This project won the International Financial Law Review Canada’s inaugural Canada Banking and Finance Deal of the Year award.
Trans Mountain Expansion Project
Following the August 30, 2018 decision of the Federal Court of Appeal quashing the Governor in Council’s initial approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, Torys (with a team led by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci) provided oversight and guidance to the federal government in respect of re-initiated consultations with 129 potentially affected Indigenous groups. The Federal Court of Appeal in its February 4, 2020 decision found the design of the consultation process, the mandate of consultation teams, the discharge of the duty to consult, and the development of appropriate accommodations to be reasonable, and upheld the Governor in Council’s approval of the project.
Tłı̨chǫ All-Season Road
Torys acted as counsel to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) as the public authority for the Tłı̨chǫ All-Season Road PPP project, to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a new 97 km, two-lane all-season road to the community of Whati (located 164 km northwest of Yellowknife). Developed in partnership with the Tłı̨chǫ Government—established under the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement in August 2005 as the governing authority for the Tłı̨chǫ territorial lands—this is the first transportation project undertaken by the GNWT as a public-private partnership. The project will greatly improve the quality of life for residents of the Whati community, which has historically been accessible only by an ice road that is closed several months of the year.
Henvey Inlet Wind Energy Centre
Torys also acted for Henvey Inlet Wind, a joint venture between Henvey Inlet First Nation-owned Nigig Power Corporation and Pattern Energy Group LP, in its application to the Ontario Energy Board for leave to construct a 103 km, 230 kV transmission line to connect the 300 MW Henvey Inlet Wind Energy Centre. The project is located on Henvey Inlet First Nation Reserve No. 2, on the northeast shore of Georgian Bay in Ontario, and was one of the largest wind projects in Ontario at the time of construction. Torys also acted as counsel to the lead arranger in the nearly C$1 billion financing for the project—one of the largest and most complicated financing transactions in the province of Ontario. As the first-ever project of this scale in Canada to be built entirely on Reserve lands, Torys worked with Henvey Inlet First Nation and its counsel to develop a bespoke environmental and land management regime under the First Nations Lands Management Act.