Powering Economies

 
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With assets worth more than $25 billion and a responsibility to serve hundreds of Ontario communities, Hydro One is one of the province’s largest organizations. The work we do has significant economic and social impacts on the people of Ontario.

Indigenous
Engagement

Our goal is to become the primary business partner of Indigenous communities in Ontario by 2021. In 2017, we developed an Indigenous Relations Strategy Framework Implementation Plan to guide our actions and to further engage with Indigenous communities in the coming years to achieve this goal.

Approach

We are committed to developing and maintaining respectful and positive relationships with Indigenous communities across the province. Forging relationships with Indigenous communities based upon trust, confidence and accountability is vital to achieving our corporate objectives.

We own and operate transmission assets on 23 First Nations reserves and provide distribution services directly to 88 First Nations communities and over 20,000 customers. Our Indigenous Relations team has staff dedicated to each region of the province as part of our commitment to building and growing our relationships with Indigenous communities.

Our goal is to become the primary business partner of Indigenous communities in Ontario by 2021. In 2017, we developed an Indigenous Relations Strategy Framework Implementation Plan to guide our actions and to further engage with Indigenous communities in the coming years to achieve this goal.

The key objectives of this strategy are to:

  • Become top of class by fully integrating Indigenous relations into each line of business;
  • Become the primary utility partner of Indigenous communities by creating business, technical, traditional knowledge and advocacy partnerships; and
  • Support Indigenous leaders by working with communities and advocating for future leaders.

The strategy has earned the confidence of Hydro One at all levels, including the support of the executive leadership team and approval by the Board of Directors’ HSEIP Committee. Indigenous relations is increasingly being integrated into our business and performance and is discussed at Board meetings and by the HSEIP Committee. A data tracking and management reporting framework has been developed to support the strategy’s success.

Going forward, partnering with Indigenous communities will be a key growth opportunity that will help fuel our business strategy.

Performance

In parallel with the development of our strategy framework, Hydro One’s application for Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) certification was assessed and certified at the Bronze level by the CCAB during 2017. PAR Bronze certification signifies to communities that Hydro One recognizes:

  • The business case for working with Aboriginal businesses and communities;
  • The mutually-beneficial impact of business development with Aboriginal-owned businesses; and
  • The value that Aboriginal people bring to the workplace and the potential of Aboriginal communities.

In support of our goal to become the primary business partner of Indigenous communities, we have set an annual target to increase Indigenous procurement spending by 20% year-over-year.

In 2017, our total spend with Indigenous businesses was valued at $24.1 million. As this is our first year of data, we will look to report against our procurement spending target in our 2018 report.

Hydro One’s Indigenous Procurement Procedure Guidelines are designed to be fair, flexible and to maximize and leverage Indigenous business participation. Every Request for Proposal (RFP) includes participation clauses to encourage and support Indigenous businesses, with bidders ranking higher in the process based on their level of inclusion. These levers include: Indigenous business participation, desirable or preferred; Indigenous business participation specified for contract portions; targeted procurement with competition limited to Indigenous businesses; direct awards; and direct awards for remote communities (i.e. in situations where a remote community has a vendor available and is capable of fulfilling the contract).

In 2017, we completed Indigenous Cultural Awareness training for all Directors and above, which included online and in-class training. This supplemented a short Indigenous Cultural Awareness online training module all employees must take. We also had requests to deliver four in-depth customized Indigenous Cultural Awareness training workshops across different lines of business.

We visited 21 Indigenous communities and held over 1,500 one-on-one sessions with customers as part of Hydro One’s Get Local Indigenous Relations Program. These sessions have been very well received by Indigenous communities. Customers receive advice on energy conservation programs, low-income assistance programs and repayment plans, with a goal of lowering their monthly electricity bills.

In February 2017, we introduced our first ever annual Indigenous engagement session between our senior leadership team and Ontario First Nation Chiefs. The session was well attended, with 71 out of 88 Chiefs invited in attendance, resulting in two-way learning and dialogue in areas of mutual interest. A similar session was conducted in May with all the Métis Nation of Ontario’s Councils. We have posted all engagement session reports here.

For more information on our direct Indigenous employment, please see the Human Resources and Workplace section of this report.

Six Nations MOU

In 2017, we signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) in conjunction with the Ontario Ministry of Energy to complete the Niagara Reinforcement Line (NRL).

The MOU includes a contract offer to SNGRDC’s joint-venture group to complete the remaining NRL transmission work; 25% equity ownership in the line for approximately $13 million; and a grant for renewable energy capacity set-aside to Six Nations of the Grand River. This would be used by SNGRDC on behalf of Six Nations, for up to 300 megawatts of new projects within the region, if further renewable generation is needed in the future. Following 60 days of community consultation, the Six Nations Elected Council approved this solution in February of 2018. Project work is anticipated to begin in the second quarter of the year.

Key Programs & Future Initiatives

In 2018, we plan to roll out mandatory Indigenous Cultural Awareness online training to all manager levels with direct reports in each of our lines of business. We will also conduct another province-wide Indigenous engagement session, with a commitment to discuss, for example, reliability performance of electricity for Indigenous communities and the potential for conducting related studies.

As part of the rollout of the province’s Affordability Fund, which has a mandate to include Indigenous communities, we have developed a proposal to be submitted to the Affordability Fund Trust to secure better benefits for Indigenous communities.

For the first time, we have identified an Indigenous Relations innovation goal to promote renewable energy projects and partnerships with Indigenous communities across the province. To date, we have submitted two funding proposals to Natural Resources Canada. One proposal is to install electric vehicle charging stations near Indigenous communities to address gaps across Ontario. We engaged with and have support from, four specific First Nations communities, should the proposal move forward. Additionally, with a First Nation’s support, we have submitted a proposal to build a battery storage facility on an island First Nation community that faces electricity reliability performance issues.

Finally, we are exploring an opportunity to partner with Indspire to increase our awards for Indigenous students from $75,000 to $200,000, as well as identifying paid work opportunities for Indspire Award recipients.

Economic Value and
Community Investment

We contribute to the well-being of the communities we serve through the jobs we provide, the dividends we pay, the revenues we generate and the taxes and payments we make to government.

Approach

Hydro One is committed to investing in communities across Ontario.

Directly and indirectly, Hydro One touches millions of lives. We create economic and social value for customers, shareholders and employees. Value measured in jobs, services, reliability and productivity.

As Hydro One transforms into a best-in-class electricity utility, we are strengthening the platforms we use to help maximize the value we bring to Ontario communities through our economic contributions, supply chain and community investment programs.

Performance

Economic Value & Benefits
We contribute to the well-being of the communities we serve through the jobs we provide, the dividends we pay, the revenues we generate and the taxes and payments we make to government.

We employ approximately 7,400 skilled and dedicated regular and non-regular employees who proudly serve suburban, rural and remote communities across Ontario. In 2017, Hydro One paid approximately $111 million in taxes to government and approximately $536 million in dividends to our shareholders.

Supply Chain
Hydro One strives to be a supply chain leader through programs and technologies that protect people, manage impacts on the environment and promote energy efficiency. We pursue alignment with suppliers that share our vision of CSR and safety, while providing the right material or service at the right place, at the right time and for the best value. We recognize that a strong, diverse supplier community is essential to economic vitality and proactively seek opportunities to create strategic partnerships with our suppliers.

In 2017, we began developing a Supplier Code of Conduct for Board review and approval in 2018. We also continued to focus on reducing red tape throughout the Hydro One supply chain. We launched a new tool called Ariba, which replaces our former sourcing tool and bidding engine. Our goal is to respond faster and ensure both Hydro One and our suppliers are operating more efficiently.

In total, we spent approximately $1.15 billion on the procurement of all goods and services, with the proportion spent with Canadian suppliers remaining steady at 96%.

We also enhanced our commitment to buy goods and services from Indigenous communities and business partners, targeting to increase our Indigenous procurement spending by 20% year-over-year. To read more about our approach to Indigenous procurement, please see the Indigenous Engagement section of this report.

Community Investments
At Hydro One, we believe in not only powering communities by delivering electricity, but also by investing dollars into the communities where our people and customers live and work. In 2017, our Community Investment focus was on safety and injury prevention, STEM education and recreation projects for Indigenous communities. Contributions included a continuing partnership with the Ross Tilley Burn Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital to support the creation of a second burn unit operating room. We also supported the ACT Foundation by empowering Indigenous youth with life-saving skills through CPR and defibrillation training.

In 2017, we began reviewing opportunities to better measure and report on our community investment activities. This greater rigour will enable us to measure the impact of each initiative in order to maximize its value to Ontario communities.

We invested a total of $2.16 million in our community donation and sponsorships program during the year, up from $1.80 million (20%) in 2016. Total sponsorships, including employee volunteer sponsorships, accounted for $1.15 million of that figure, a substantial increase from 2016 and reflects contributions to over 40 charitable partners and organizations.

The Hydro One Employees’ and Pensioners’ Charity Trust, in operation for more than 15 years – and with a history extending more than 70 years - reflects the strong philanthropic pulse that runs through our employee culture. The Trust raised $1.32 million in 2017.

Hydro One’s first priority is safety for our employees and the communities we serve.

Key Community Programs & Investments

Hydro One’s PowerPlay Program
We believe in the power of sport and recreation to develop leadership skills, promote cooperation and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. The Hydro One PowerPlay Program fosters healthier Indigenous youth by providing funding to build new facilities, refurbish existing ones, or buy sports and recreational equipment. Project grants can be up to $20,000. In 2017, we awarded two PowerPlay grants; one for upgrades to the Alderville First Nation Community Centre and the other to develop the Webequie First Nation Community Playground.

Hydro One Employees’ & Pensioners’ Charity Trust
In 2017, the $1.3 million raised for the Trust through voluntary payroll deductions went to more than 950 registered charities. Employees can specify the amount deducted from their regular paycheque and Hydro One absorbs the Trust’s operating, administrative and audit costs to ensure that 100% of charitable dollars go to the specified charities.

International Plowing Match
We have been supporting the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo, run by the Ontario Plowmen’s Association, for many years. It is a premier event in the agricultural community, attracting some 100,000 spectators annually from across Canada and the United States. We contribute by providing the temporary mini-electrical grid for the five-day event, installing poles, wires and transformers in a farmer’s field about a month before the event. The cost of Hydro One’s in-kind contribution is approximately $350,000 annually.

Making Communities Safer
Hydro One’s first priority is safety for our employees and the communities we serve. To drive the safety message home and contribute to quality of life, we offer Safe Community Grants. The 2017 recipients were: Haldimand County for the Jarvis Lions Walking Trail, the Municipality of South Huron for a wheelchair lift at the community pool, the Municipality of Clarington for upgrades to Enniskillen Park, the Township of Madawaska Valley for a defibrillator for the North Fire Station and the Township of Rideau Lakes for the Lower Beverley Lake Park Playground.

Advancing Literacy in Indigenous Communities
In 2017, we partnered with the Lieutenant Governor’s Indigenous Summer Reading Camps, which are managed through Frontier College. These camps make a huge difference in the lives of young people, reaching almost 2,700 children and youth in 24 First Nations in Northern Ontario during the year. The camps help prevent summer learning loss and promote a love of reading and learning so that students return to school better prepared to learn and succeed.

About this Report

Hydro One’s 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report updates the progress we made during the past year to advance our health, safety, environmental and social performance. Our report is organized around Hydro One’s five strategic CSR pillars: customers come first, using resources responsibly, people and potential, powering economies, and building a grid 
for the future. It also describes our performance under the Canadian Electricity Association’s (CEA’s) Sustainable Electricity™ Program, which promotes the integration of CSR in business decision-making and pursues leading practices in continuous improvement.

As our CSR strategy and reporting program continue to evolve in support of Hydro One’s business strategy, we will review further opportunities to align our reporting with the internationally recognized Sustainability Reporting Standards, developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

The information in this report reflects our performance from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 and covers our Canadian operations. This CSR report is limited to Hydro One Limited (referred to as “Hydro One” throughout this report). All dollar amounts are in Canadian dollars. The scope of the report excludes Hydro One Remote Communities Inc. and Hydro One Telecom Inc.