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Canada and Ontario invest over $14.2 million in five community and Indigenous education broadband infrastructure projects across Northern Ontario

Press Release

From: Infrastructure Canada

Thunder Bay, Ontario, August 11, 2021—The safety and well-being of Canadians are top priorities for the governments of Canada and Ontario. Investments in Ontario’s infrastructure during this extraordinary time provide an opportunity to create jobs, economic growth, and make our communities more sustainable and resilient.

Today, Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Rainy River, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, on behalf of the Honourable Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure; and Alvin Fiddler, Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, announced funding for five community and education infrastructure projects across Northern Ontario.

The Government of Canada is investing over $11.3 million in these projects through the COVID-19 Resilience Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of Ontario is providing over $2.8 million.

Among the projects announced is the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Student Internet Connectivity Project. The project involves providing secure internet connectivity to NAN students to attend school remotely, which will also support improved access to online mental health support. Work includes the purchase and installation of connectivity kits for student learning hubs and homes in NAN communities. These connectivity kits will allow students to connect to low earth orbit satellites and will help develop cloud-based servers to enable secure access to school websites and provide cyber-security protections.

Two more student internet connectivity projects for the Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council and five member communities, Animakee Wa Zhing #37 First Nation, Big Grassy First Nation, Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation, Anishinabe of Wauzhushk Onigum, Northwest Angle No 33 First Nation, and the Seven Generations Education Institute for 8 First Nations: Anishinaabeg of Naongashiing, Couchiching First Nation, Lac La Croix First Nation, Mitaanjigamiing First Nation, Naicatchewenin First Nation, Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation, Rainy River First Nation, Seine River First Nation, will provide students with an improved internet connectivity, allowing for better learning outcomes through remote learning, and better access to school websites and online mental health resources. These two additional projects will serve 13 First Nation communities in Northern Ontario.

Additional investments in community infrastructure projects across the region include upgrades to Berglund Road in the Township of Machin, Ontario. Work to the road’s culverts, subgrade, and gravel will improve ditching and allow for better flood mitigation. In the Township of Ignace, Ontario, work to the landfill facility, such as new security cameras, expansion of the landfill attendant transfer facility, and new gates will improve the facility’s operational management.

The COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream, implemented in response to the pandemic, allows the Government of Canada to invest up to 80 per cent of eligible costs for projects in provinces, and up to 100 per cent for projects in territories and Indigenous communities. The government of Ontario will invest 20 per cent of the eligible costs for projects across the province.

Quotes

“Ensuring our communities have access to reliable infrastructure is vital for their safety and well-being. Today’s announcement for five community and education infrastructure projects will improve internet access for students in Indigenous communities across Northern Ontario, and provide better learning outcomes and access to online mental health support. In Machin and Ignace, the projects will provide better flood protection and landfill management. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Rainy River, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Since day one, the Ontario government has worked to address gaps in important community infrastructure in Indigenous and northern communities. Today, we are proud to partner with the federal government to fund five key infrastructure projects right here in Northern Ontario. These investments will deliver improvements for student internet access in northern First Nations communities, upgrade a municipal landfill in Ignace, and build better flood mitigation in the township of Machin. We remain committed to ensuring that northern communities have modern, resilient infrastructure that supports growth and prosperity.”

The Honourable Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, on behalf of the Honourable Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure

“We are pleased that our federal and provincial Treaty partners are supporting upgrades to broadband connectivity to so many of our First Nations communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how crucial it is to have highspeed broadband access so members across NAN territory can receive much-needed services, including health care and education. This significant investment in Starlink technology will allow our communities to develop capacity for information technology and support online services that will help provide a better quality of life.”

Alvin Fiddler, Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation

Quick facts

  • Through the Investing in Canada plan, the federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
  • Ontario is investing $10.2 billion under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to improve public transit; community, culture and recreation; green, and rural and northern community and other priority infrastructure.
  • Across Ontario, the Government of Canada has invested more than $14.4 billion in over 3,900 infrastructure projects.
  • Across Canada, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic the Government of Canada has contributed $9.7 billion to 3,500 infrastructure projects.
  • To support Canadians and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, a COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories.
  • The COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream funding stream guarantees a minimum of $100,000 to each of the province’s 444 municipalities. Additional funding has been allocated to municipalities based on a variety of factors, including the value of infrastructure and median household income in each municipality.

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Contacts

Emelyana Titarenko
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
873-355-9576
emelyana.titarenko@infc.gc.ca

Hayley Cooper
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure
437-233-3224
hayley.cooper@ontario.ca

Sofia Sousa-Dias
Communications Branch
Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure
437-991-3391
sofia.sousa-dias@ontario.ca

Michael Heintzman
Director of Communications
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
807-625-4965
mheintzman@nan.ca

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
Email: media@infc.gc.ca

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