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Minister of Transport welcomes appointment of new VIA HFR Board Member

Press Release

From: Transport Canada

June 28, 2023

High Frequency Rail will transform passenger rail service in Canada through the creation of a faster and more frequent rail service along the country’s busiest passenger rail corridor from Québec City to Toronto.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra welcomed the appointment of Ms. Fiona Blondin to the VIA HFR – VIA TGF Inc. (VIA HFR) Board of Directors. Ms. Blondin, a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in Northwest Territories, brings over 25 years of diverse experience in power, mining, public sector, and consulting for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities.

Throughout her career, Ms. Blondin has dedicated herself to improving the lives of Indigenous Peoples, promoting cultural awareness, traditions and understanding, and supporting Indigenous-led economic development initiatives. She attended Douglas College in British Columbia and received Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of her work with First Nations.

She has lived in Ontario for several years near the Québec City-Toronto passenger rail corridor, giving her a unique first-hand understanding of the significance of this project as well as the communities in the region that VIA HFR will be consulting with. Mrs. Blondin’s wealth of experience working with Indigenous peoples and on infrastructure projects involving Indigenous peoples, as well as her own personal experiences will prove invaluable to the VIA HFR Board.

The Government of Canada is committed to continuing to listen to, learn from, and work with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis partners on key priorities, including advancing reconciliation, to help build a more inclusive transportation sector.

Quotes

“I am thrilled to welcome Fiona Blondin to the VIA HFR Board of Directors. In this role, she brings extensive professional experience and will bring invaluable perspectives to the Board as we make Canada’s largest passenger rail project a reality. We look forward to the contribution Ms. Blondin will make in supporting VIA HFR’s efforts to build and maintain strong relationships with Indigenous Peoples and to create a more inclusive transportation system.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • High Frequency Rail will transform intercity passenger rail in the Québec City to Toronto corridor through a variety of ways, including, but not limited to:
    • Providing more frequent services;
    • Offering more reliable and improved on-time performance;
    • Shortening journey times. For example, travellers will save at least 90 minutes between Toronto and Ottawa;
    • Adding new services to Peterborough and Trois-Rivières; and
    • Providing a greener rail system travel option using electrified technology.
  • The next steps in the High Frequency Rail procurement process include:
    • Completion of the evaluation of the Request for Qualification submissions and identification of Qualified Respondents: April-July 2023
    • Launch of Request for Proposals: September 2023
    • Evaluation of Request for Proposal submissions: summer 2024
  • The Government of Canada is committed to building meaningful, nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous Peoples and engaging the public, including communities currently served by VIA Rail between Québec City and Toronto. Input and feedback from Indigenous Peoples throughout the life of the project will be essential to developing an effective project that creates mutually beneficial socio-economic development and project participation opportunities. Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians who may have input, questions or concerns about the project, can provide their feedback through the VIA HFR website.
  • During the RFP, Proponents will need to outline in their proposals how the Private Developer Partner would facilitate opportunities for Indigenous participation, including opportunities for: the exploration and creation of socio-economic benefits; considering Indigenous knowledge, when provided, to inform the project; and Indigenous communities, organizations, and entities, to participate in and inform all phases of the project.

Associated links

Contacts

Nadine Ramadan
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Nadine.Ramadan@tc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055
media@tc.gc.ca

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