The York Factory Keeyask Implementation office maintains this website for use by YFFN members. It provides information about current and future hydroelectric developments on the Nelson River and YFFN’s consultations and negotiations with Manitoba Hydro.

The site currently focuses on the Keeyask Generation Project at Gull Rapids on the Nelson River and the Keeyask Infrastructure Project (KIP), which is the access road from the PR 280 to the potential Keeyask Generating Station. For the Keeyask Project, YFFN has partnered with Manitoba Hydro and three First Nations (Tataskweyak Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, and Fox Lake Cree Nation) to form the Keeyask Hydropower Limited Partnership.

Site Celebration on Indigenous Employment

Remarks From YFFN Councillor Louisa Constant August 2nd, 2017

Good Afternoon. I’m YFFN Councillor Louisa Constant. I’m attending today on behalf of Chief Bland, who is away on holidays. I’ve also been a member of the KHLP Board since April of this year.

We’ve learned that in the month of June, the Keeyask Project reached 2 million hours worked by members of the 4 Cree nations – and 4 million hours by Indigenous workers at Keeyask. That’s something significant. It’s a positive milestone for our people and for the Keeyask Partnership.

When York Factory signed the Joint Keeyask Development Agreement in 2009 our members experienced many mixed feelings.

  • There was reluctance to trust and work with Manitoba Hydro.
  • There was unease about becoming part of a project that would affect our water and land.
  • And there was skepticism about whether the benefits promised for our people would really appear.

There was also hope.

  • We hoped that the project would help to improve economic and social conditions in our community…
  • That we would gain a management position in a development on our lands…
  • And that our members would build skills and support their families through work on the project.

It was that hope that drove our decision to sign the JKDA and join the Keeyask Partnership.

And so I am glad today, 8 years after the JKDA was signed, to be recognizing a milestone of 2 million hours worked by the people of our 4 nations. At the KHLP Board meeting last week, we heard that 102 YFFN members are working on-site now.

Since the beginning of construction, I’ve seen many of our members find their places in the Keeyask Project. There were many success stories:

  • George Ponask – is a certified Red Seal Chef, who is helping to mentor young members through Sodexo joint-venture.
  • Amelia Saunders – at 67 years old, had found meaningful work at the Keeyask site.
  • Irah Lauzon, one of our people in electrical trade, employed now for 16 months, started residential, and has moved to commercial and industrial.
  • Women – need highlights
  • Young workers – need highlights.

These are the positive effects of the Keeyask Partnership.

Of course, like the rest of you, I’m very much aware of the struggles that remain here on site and back in the community.

I’ve heard many stories of our people being treated badly, overlooked, or discharged without compassion. The stories are the most heartbreaking when they come from our young people who have set out to take their first jobs and found that the world is not what they hoped it would be. Many of them do not know their rights, and are falling through the cracks too easily.

We want to see better.

Our Nation appreciates the resources that have gone into the workplace cultural review over the last year.

We applaud the work of our KCN site reps, the Site Liaison workers, and others who are working to improve conditions on site. Your efforts are important, and they will make a difference.

There is still a long way to come.

This Saturday, the ERS program will be leading a ceremony to acknowledge another milestone: That sturgeon and other fish can no longer move upstream over Gull Rapids.

That is an important event, and I encourage all of you to take part. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the effects that the Project is having on Askiy – and show respect to the animals that are being affected by it.

As I’ve said – when York Factory signed the JKDA in 2009, we were hoping for a project that would bring employment and benefits to our people – provide us with a voice in project management – and show respect towards Askiy.

The milestones being acknowledged this week – on employment and the environment – are important steps in making sure that Keeyask is done right.

We have come a very long way since 2009. We have a long ways to go, But we are glad to take today to recognize and celebrate the milestones that have been reached.


Keeyask Hearings Complete


The Manitoba Clean Environment Commission recently completed the Keeyask public hearings on January 9, 2014. The hearings first began on September 24, 2013 in Gillam, Manitoba. The hearings were held in Gillam, Bird, York Landing, Thompson, Split Lake, Cross Lake, and Winnipeg.

There were many presenters who spoke on behalf of registered participants, citizen groups, and the Keeyask Hydropower Limited Partnership. Chief Louisa Constant, Ted Bland, Martina Saunders, and Brad Regehr (York Factory legal counsel) spoke on behalf of YFFN, who is a co-proponent of the Keeyask Project.

The Chair and four members of the Keeyask Clean Environment Commission will now review the evidence and information presented to them before and during the hearings. These materials include presentations, written submissions, and questions asked and answered before and during the hearings. These materials are available online at www.cecmanitoba.ca/hearings/

The Clean Environment Commission will submit a report to the Minister of Conservation within 90 days of the completion of the hearings (beginning of April 2014). The report will provide recommendations to the Minister whether the Commission thinks the project should be granted a license, and if so, what conditions the license might contain. The report will be publically available.

Clean Environment Commission to Visit York Landing

On September 26th, the CEC Panel will visit York Landing  and hold a community hearing at the George Saunders Memorial School starting at 1:00 pm.

All community members are welcome to attend and share their thoughts and concerns to the Panel. Speakers may want to share their personal knowledge, views and concerns about the proposed project to the Panel. Speakers are asked to limit their presentation to a maximum of 15 minutes. Presenters may get less time if there are many individuals who want to speak.

The hearings will be recorded and a written record (or transcript) of what is said each day will be posted on the CEC’s website as soon as possible after the community hearing.

Community members can also provide a written submission to the Panel if they cannot attend the community hearing or don’t feel comfortable speaking in public. Written submissions can be sent to the CEC Panel as a letter (Clean Environmental Commission, 305-155 Calton St., Winnipeg, MB, R3C 3H8) or an e-mail  (cec@gov.mb.ca).


Clean Environment Commission Hearings on the Keeyask Project

The Clean Environment Commission, or “CEC”, is an arms-length provincial government agency that provides opportunities for the Manitoba public to play a part in ensuring the protection of the environment. For more information, visit the CEC website.

The CEC will hold a series of public hearings from September 24th to November 28th, 2013 in Winnipeg, Thompson, York Landing, Gillam, Bird, and Split Lake to gather public opinion on the Keeyask Project (click here for the hearings schedule).

The CEC Panel will visit York Landing on September 26th and hold a community hearing at the George Saunders Memorial School starting at 1:00 pm. The CEC Panel wants to hear from community members about their thoughts and concerns about the Keeyask project. All community members are welcome to attend and speak to the Panel. To prepare for September 26th, YFFN held a community meeting on September 16th in York Landing.

As a Keeyask partner, YFFN will have witnesses participating in these public hearings as part of the Keeyask Partnership. They will speak on behalf of YFFN and the Partnership and answer questions from the CEC panel and registered participants. Within 90 days of finalizing the hearings, the CEC must provide a report to the Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship who will decide whether to license the Keeyask Project and what conditions to put in the license.

For more information about the CEC hearings and the Keeyask Project, read the most recent YFFD Newsletter distributed to community members in August 2013.

York Factory Representatives Attend Sturgeon Stewardship Committee for the Lower Nelson River

In March 2013, the Lower Nelson River Sturgeon Stewardship Committee was formed. This Committee will take care of sturgeon on the lower Nelson River from the Kelsey Generating Station to the Nelson River estuary.

Members of this Committee include: York Factory First Nation, Tataskweyak Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, Fox Lake Cree Nation, Shamattawa First Nation, Manitoba Hydro, the Keeyask Hydropower Limited Partnership, and Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship.

Chief and Council have selected Darcy Wastesicoot as its voting representative and Stanley Spence as its alternate representative. These representatives attended the Committee’s first meeting in Thompson on May 23rd, 2013, and the second meeting in Winnipeg on August 1st, 2013.

You can contact Darcy Wastesicoot at YFFD (204-341-2236) or Stanley Spence for more information.

Engaging Younger Community Members


Based on feedback from members, Chief and Council and YFFD have started a program to engage younger community members to get their thoughts on the Conawapa Project.

Chief and Council and Future Development want to know what younger community members know about this project, what they want to know, and how they want to be engaged.

Evelyn Beardy and Darcy Saunders have distributed a pamphlet to younger community members in York Landing to start them thinking about the Conawapa Project.

York Factory has also been planning the 2nd Annual Keeyask Cree Nation Youth Gathering. This gathering is being planned for August 25th – 28th in York Landing.

You can phone Evelyn Beardy, Georgina Beardy, or Darcy Wastesicoot for more information at YFFD: 204-341-2236.

Caribou Workshop

There will be a community workshop on Caribou Tuesday July 23 2013 from 2:00-6:00 at the George Saunders Memorial School Gym. Laura Hebert, a graduate student from the University of Manitoba will be coming to talk about her research project, and Future Development will talk about caribou in relation to the Conawapa and Keeyask projects. Please come if you have any knowledge or experience with caribou you would like to share. Everyone is welcome!

Conawapa Community Meetings

Community Meetings

Chief and Council have held two community meetings over the past two months. Here is a summary of what was heard at the meetings:

  • Community members want to be more involved in understanding the Project and giving feedback.
  • Younger community members have been missed and need to be engaged.
  • Some community members are opposed to Conawapa.
  • Community members want Chief and Council and Future Development Team to take a stronger approach with Hydro.
  • Some community members suggested that Chief and Council create a new team to work on Conawapa and talk to Hydro.

Chief and Council and YFFD are planning Conawapa meetings on June 5th and 6th in York Landing for community members.

Field Trip to Keeyask Infrastructure Project

With Manitoba Hydro, YFFD coordinated a field trip to the Keeyask Infrastructure Project site on September 20th, 2012.

As Project Manager, Manitoba Hydro gave several YFFD staff and one advisor a site tour of the Keeyask Infrastructure Project site. This group observed, learned about, and discussed the environmental impacts and measures used to reduce some the impacts at the site.