Congratulations to the Graduates of All-Women Line Crew Ground Support training on the Wataynikaneyap Power Project!

Fort William First Nation, Ontario – On November 19, 2021, All-Women Line Crew Ground Support (LCGS)
trainees successfully graduated with 25 transferable certificates to advance in future apprenticeship
opportunities and pursue careers on the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Line. Congratulations to the
graduates from North Caribou Lake, Pikangikum, and Bearskin Lake First Nations!

Opiikapawiin Services’ Training Program Manager, Laura Calmwind, organized the all-women program after
seeing the large discrepancy between men and women applicants for the co-ed LCGS program: “I thought it
may bring in more applicants, if we offered the training for women only. It may encourage more women to
think about the trades. We also looked at what barriers stopped women from applying to our training
programs.” Ms. Calmwind explains, “That led to us offering childcare services, along with other supportive
services, as it is a long time for parents to be away from home.”

Jamie Keeash brought her son along with her to the course: “Having childcare included with this training
program has made it possible for me to pursue my career. Having my young son Kingston with me has kept
me going.”

This is the only course of its kind in Canada, specifically organized for First Nation women from
Wataynikaneyap Power’s owner communities. Course structure from Canada’s Infrastructure Health and
Safety Association provides graduates with 25 transferable certificates. Ms. Calmwind also incorporated
Indigenous knowledge, land-based learning, and health and wellness workshops: “With most of our training
programs, we include Traditional Knowledge and land-based skills, as well as invite speakers like local Elders
to come share with the students. It is not just about certificates.”

The course started August 16 and ran for 14 weeks: seven weeks at the Quetico Conference Centre near
Atikokan, Ontario followed by seven weeks at the Fort William First Nation training site near Thunder Bay,
Ontario for hands on skills, pole climbing, and equipment training.

Graduates are now looking forward to their next steps. Shirley King explains, “I want to work towards an
apprenticeship and keep going with my career in the powerline trades. It is encouraging to see more women
being part of the construction.”

“I am very proud of the success of these graduates. It is not easy to be away from your family, friends, and
community while undertaking a course of this length. They took on the challenge and now they are in positions to rise up and become leaders in their communities,” remarks Frank McKay, Chair of the Wataynikaneyap
Power GP Inc. Board.

Eliezar Mckay, Chair of First Nation Limited Partnership, also comments:“Congratulations to the students on
their hard work and perseverance! Training opportunities like this program build up our Peoples’ capacity for
long term careers on the transmission system and are an important part of meaningful participation and
involvement on the Project – one of the Guiding Principles that our leadership provided.”

“Education is an important part of this Project, from training programs to apprenticeships. We are proud to
work with our First Nation partners in bringing both training opportunities and reliable electricity to
communities,” said Scott Hawkes, President and CEO, FortisOntario Inc. “Congratulations to the graduates
and best of luck as they continue to grow their careers!”