the Peace Tower in Parliament Hill at Ottawa in Canada

Projects will be funded through NRCan’s ZEVIP and ZEVAI programs, to promote access to electric vehicle charging and raise awareness about EVs and clean fuels in Indigenous communities

Natural Resources Canada today launched two calls for proposals to support Indigenous-led EV projects that will help lower emissions in the transportation sector.

The two-tiered initiative aims to promote access to electric vehicle charging and raise awareness about EVs and clean fuels in Indigenous communities.

The charging project is to be funded through NRCan’s Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP), while the education and awareness project is running under the Zero Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI).

“Indigenous communities are vital partners in decarbonizing transportation and building a more sustainable future,” says Julie Dabrusin, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in a press statement. “We look forward to supporting important projects that will help deliver clean air and economic opportunities.”

Up to 75 per cent of costs covered

Under the ZEVAI program, the government is looking to fund Indigenous pilot projects that will increase knowledge and confidence in EVs, low-emission vehicles and clean fuels such as biofuels or clean hydrogen. 

These public awareness-raising and educational initiatives are aimed at supporting the wider adoption of ZEVs and low-emission vehicles, which will further advance the decarbonization of transportation and other energy sectors for Indigenous peoples, says the government. 

Projects led or owned by Indigenous organizations are eligible for funding of up to 75 per cent of project costs and up to $150,000 per year per project. Applications will be taken on a continuous basis until March 2024, or until all funding has been committed. Projects may span multiple years, but must be completed by March 31, 2026. 

NRCan’s second program is a call for Indigenous-led EV charging projects that support the deployment of EV chargers in public spaces, on-street, multi-unit residential buildings, workplaces and vehicle fleets. The window for applications opens on April 20.

Each project under ZEVIP may be funded up to 75 per cent of the total cost to a maximum per technology and to a maximum of $2 million per project. 

Applications for the ZEVIP program may be submitted at any time until the end of the program on March 31, 2026, or until all funding has been fully allocated.

Fostering Indigenous partnerships

Since 2016, Canada has made over $1 billion in investments to lower the cost of electric vehicles and increase the availability of chargers.

The government says it is committed to working closely with Indigenous peoples to help them prepare for the adoption of zero-emission vehicles in the future. 

“We’re making electric vehicles more affordable and charging more accessible in communities across the country — including with Indigenous partners, says Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, in a press release. 

“Investing in more EV chargers, clean fuels, and awareness initiatives will put more people in the driver’s seat on the road to a net-zero future and help achieve our climate goals while supporting communities in building a more prosperous and sustainable future for generations to come.”