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Ontario Awards Contract for Highway 17B Improvements

Press Release

June 11, 2021

Supporting Safe, Reliable Highways in Northeastern Ontario

SAULT STE. MARIE, GARDEN RIVER FIRST NATION – Today, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Chief Andy Rickard, Garden River First Nation, announced that a contract has been awarded to KSMM 2020 for work on Highway 17B through the province’s Aboriginal Procurement Program. KSMM 2020 is a partnership between Garden River First Nation, Shwe Miikaan Corporation and Miller Paving Limited. This work builds on the Ontario government’s efforts to improve highway safety for people in the North.

“Ontario is working with Indigenous communities to improve transportation in Northern Ontario,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Highway 17B travels through parts of Garden River First Nation, which makes this a win for all involved by supporting local jobs while improving and maintaining this important highway.”

The project includes 20 kilometres of paving work on Highway 17B and intersection improvements at Syrette Lake Road. Fully paved shoulders for cyclists and pedestrians, a curb, right and left turn lanes and new lighting will be added. Culvert, gutter and guiderail work will also be done. This work will improve safety and visibility on the road.

“This partnership between Garden River First Nation, Shwe Miikaan Corporation and Miller Paving will help ensure that Highway 17B remains a reliable option for residents of Garden River First Nation,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “This initiative supports local jobs and brings economic benefit to Garden River First Nation.”

Construction is expected to begin in summer 2021 and be completed in fall 2022. The contract requires that one-third of the contract value must be done by Indigenous businesses or members.

“This project has been a dream for our community for quite some time and to be involved in the planning from start to finish is what we define as meaningful relationships with the Ontario government,” said Chief Andy Rickard, Garden River First Nation. “We look forward to this amazing opportunity to build a pool of skilled members, enhance our capacity, ensure economic benefits and add more safety measures within our community.”

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s draft Transportation Plan for Northern Ontario includes more than 60 actions including improving highways and roads to ensure safe and reliable travel.
  • The Aboriginal Procurement Program promotes Indigenous economic development by increasing contracting opportunities for businesses that are First Nation, Métis and Inuit owned.
  • In 2021-22, the province is committing $641 million to expand and repair northern highways and bridges, estimated to create or sustain approximately 4,488 direct and indirect construction jobs in Northern Ontario.

Additional Resources

Related Topics

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Learn more about hunting and fishing, provincial parks, festivals and events, and visiting Ontario. Learn more

Media Contacts

Chief Andy Rickard
[email protected]

Natasha Tremblay
Minister’s Office
[email protected]

Simisola Ikotun
Communications Branch
[email protected]


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