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Federal government and Indigenous communities partner on public transit planning projects

Press Release

From: Infrastructure Canada

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, March 5, 2024 — The federal government is investing $150,000 to support public transit studies in three communities.

Announced by Minister Gary Anandasangaree, these projects will support the Nahanni Butte First Nation, Yellowknives Dene First Nation, and the Hay River Métis Government in establishing public transit options for their residents.

All three communities are using the funding to conduct feasibility studies to determine the needs and requirements for their respective communities. The Yellowknives Dene First Nation and the Hay River Metis Government are conducting transit assessments, laying the groundwork for future transportation projects and more efficient ways to connect to Yellowknife. The Nahanni Butte First Nation received funding for a study, public consultations, and field research to better understand transit needs in its community.

These public transit initiatives will help make Indigenous communities more inclusive and enhance the safety and quality of life for users of these services, including Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse people.

“Better and reliable public transportation infrastructure in the Northwest Territories will ensure that communities are safer, more inclusive, and more sustainable. Supporting Indigenous-led, evidence-based solutions will help improve the safety of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse people and assist them in travelling safely in their communities and to other parts of the territory. These studies and assessments are critical to determine the best ways of connecting residents to schools, jobs, and medical services through safer modes of travel.”

The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities
“Nahanni Butte is a remote community located in the Dehcho region of Northwest Territories. The funding announced today will support the development of a study to identify possible transit solutions to address the needs of our Elders, kids and our growing population. Transit options will help our residents travel safely within the community and visit other towns and nearby communities for essential goods and supplies, while reducing dependency on Fossil Fuel. This strategic investment will not only provide a much needed long-term transit solution for Nahanni Butte but also improve the quality of life of our residents.”

Chief Steve Vital, Nahanni Butte Dene Band.
“This funding will help us engage with our members and identify typical and non-traditional public and community transportation options for Ndilǫ and Dettah. This should contribute to the ability of YKDFN community members to meet their day-to-day needs, including access to important health and social services, greater employment, and recreational opportunities..”

Chief Ernest Betsina, Yellowknives Dene First Nation

Quick facts

  • The federal government is investing $150,000 split equally between these three projects through the Rural Transit Solutions Fund (RTSF).
  • The RTSF helps Canadians living in rural and remote areas get around their communities more easily. It supports the development of rural transit solutions, including new transit service models that could be replicated or scaled up.
  • A minimum of 10% of RTSF’s funding is allocated to projects that benefit Indigenous populations and communities.
  • Applications to the RTSF’s Planning and Design Projects stream are accepted on an ongoing basis. Eligible applicants can receive a grant of up to $50,000 to plan and design a new or expanded transit solution.
  • One in five Canadians live in rural communities. Rural communities in Canada account for nearly 30% of the nation’s gross domestic product.
  • The RTSF complements Canada’s strengthened climate plan: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy. Through the plan the federal government has committed to providing permanent federal funding for public transit in support of making clean and affordable transportation available in every community.
  • Since 2015, the federal government has announced an unprecedented investment of over $30 billion in thousands of transit projects in communities across the country.
  • This funding announced today helps respond to Call for Justice 4.8 from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It calls upon all governments to ensure that adequate plans and funding are put into place for safe and affordable transit and transportation services and infrastructure for Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people living in remote or rural communities.
  • The 2021 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan was developed in partnership with survivors, families, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous women’s and 2SLGBTQI+ organizations, as well as provincial and territorial governments, in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  • The Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People is Canada’s contribution to the National Action Plan. It is supported by historic investments and a significant part of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan in which measure #9 states that the federal government will continue to “implement the Federal Pathway to address the root causes of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people.”

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Micaal Ahmed
Communications Manager
Office of the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154



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