Canada, Ontario supporting small air carriers serving remote First Nations communities
Tim Brody - Editor
The federal and provincial governments are partnering to support small air carriers serving remote First Nations communities in Northern Ontario.
The Government of Canada is contributing up to $11,134,000 for air services to remote communities to cover the period of July 1 to December 31, 2020.
The Government of Ontario is investing $14.2 million to operate remote airports in 2020/21, including an additional $4 million this year to ensure continued safe operations during the pandemic.
“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. This agreement with the Government of Ontario will allow for reliable air services to keep remote communities in Ontario connected to the rest of the country,” stated Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra
“Small air carriers provide remote northern First Nations communities with a vital connection to critical supplies and essential services, including health care,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “This funding will help ensure the unique and immediate needs of these communities are continuously met during COVID-19.”
“Our government’s investment in the remote and northern airports program demonstrates our continued commitment to supporting communities in Northern Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “This funding is part of our transportation plan for Northern Ontario, Connecting the North, which clearly indicates how we will provide reliable transportation to meet the unique needs of the region and help ensure people have access to critical services.”
Air carriers provide remote First Nations communities with access to employment, health care, education, justice, child and family services, and social services, in addition to helping maintain cultural and familial connections.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation owns and operates 29 airports, 27 of which support remote First Nation communities.
There are 34 remote communities in Northern Ontario, 28 of which do not have year-round road access and rely on small commercial air carriers for essential services and goods.