Press release from Transport Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the remote communities that depend on small air carriers for essential goods, services, and access in and out of the community. As the pandemic continues to evolve, the Government of Canada is working with partners, including provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous partners and the air industry to address the unique needs of these communities.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau; the Minister of Northern Affairs, the Honourable Daniel Vandal; and Minister of Finance for the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable Caroline Wawzonek, announced a new agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories to support essential air access to remote communities.
The Government of Canada is contributing up to $17.1 million to ensure continuity of service for at least six months and up to 18 months if necessary. The Government of the Northwest Territories is also providing up to $3 million through this agreement.
Under this agreement, the Government of the Northwest Territories will determine minimum levels of essential services to remote communities and allocate funding to air operators to ensure the continued supply of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods and services to these communities.
“While we continue to work together to limit the spread of COVID-19, we must also ensure remote communities continue to have the air connectivity they need for essential goods and services, travel and business. Our agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories will allow for reliable air services to keep remote communities in the Northwest Territories connected to the rest of the country.”
Minister of Transport
The Honourable Marc Garneau
“COVID-19 continues to put pressure on the transportation sector in the North and Arctic, and the people who live there. Our government recognizes it is crucial to support critical transportation links in order to continue to maintain and strengthen supply chains throughout the Northwest Territories. This investment in air support will ensure communities in the Northwest Territories remain connected and supported with access to essential goods and health services when they need it the most.”
Minister of Northern Affairs
The Honourable Daniel Vandal
“This funding demonstrates the shared commitment of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada to ensure that all Canadians—including those in our most remote communities—continue to have access to essential goods and services throughout the pandemic. I would like to thank the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau; the Minister of Northern Affairs; the Honourable Daniel Vandal; and the Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Marc Miller for their ongoing commitment to the residents, businesses and community of the Northwest Territories.”
Minister of Finance
Government of the Northwest Territories
The Honourable Caroline Wawzonek
- This funding is for the period of July 1 to December 31, 2020. Additional funding will depend on the needs of communities and the pace of recovery of air travel into remote communities.
- Remote communities are those that rely on air service as the only year-round mode of transportation.
- There are 22 communities with airports in the Northwest Territories that were considered remote while designing this program.
- Some communities may have limited access to seasonal ice roads or long and unreliable gravel roads.
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa
Date of publication: 2 Nov 2020
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