Joint news release
Residents of Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and northern British Columbia will be able to connect more reliably with friends and family across Canada and around the world, participate in distance education, seize new business opportunities and search for jobs online. This is made possible thanks to investments in high-speed internet worth up to $79 million by the Government of Canada, the Government of Yukon and Northwestel.
The project will benefit communities, including 63 Indigenous communities, in Yukon, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and northern British Columbia. Funding was announced today by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, together with the Honourable Larry Bagnell, Member of Parliament for Yukon and the Honourable Ranj Pillai, Yukon Minister of Economic Development.
Funding will be used to build a 777-kilometre-long fibre network between Dawson City, Yukon, and Inuvik, Northwest Territories. This new fibre network line will also help close the 4,000-kilometre-long Canada North Fibre Loop to ensure a more robust internet service in northern communities. Currently, a cut to the existing fibre network can affect internet service to hospitals and debit and credit machines in retail stores. Construction of this new line will significantly reduce the risk of internet service interruptions throughout this vast region.
Funding is being provided by the following partners:
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is investing up to $30 million through Connect to Innovate, a federal program that helps provide Canadians in rural and remote regions of the country with internet access, allowing them to participate fully in the digital economy.
- Infrastructure Canada will invest up to $29 million through the Small Communities Fund.
- The Government of Yukon will invest up to $5 million.
- Northwestel will invest up to $15 million.
The federal funding aligns with the Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs and ensure Canadians have the skills to succeed.
The Government of Canada’s $500-million Connect to Innovate program is investing in building the digital backbone of high-speed internet networks. Backbone networks are the digital highways that move data in and out of communities. These highways carry large amounts of data that are essential for schools, hospitals, libraries and businesses to function in a digital world.
Access to high-speed internet is not a luxury; it’s essential. High-speed internet service is a basic tool that all Canadians should have access to, regardless of where they live. Our communities need this service to do business, upgrade their education and build stronger communities. Thanks to our Connect to Innovate program, more people will be able to participate fully in the digital economy.
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
The Government of Canada’s ongoing investments in broadband infrastructure are improving connectivity in remote communities across the country. By providing better access to a wider variety of online tools and resources, we are increasing the potential for economic growth and diversification in northern Canada, not to mention enhancing residents’ quality of life.
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Reliable telecommunications are vital to diversifying our economy and will help Yukoners and northern residents participate fully in the digital economy. Stable internet can also attract increased investment in the territory, creating jobs and other opportunities. Most of all, dependable high-speed internet can open up new economic and social possibilities for Yukoners and support healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities.
The Honourable Ranj Pillai, Yukon Minister of Economic Development
The 4,000-kilometere-long Canada North Fibre Loop that will be closed through this project is equivalent to the distance between Québec and Calgary.
Connect to Innovate is one of several Government of Canada measures to improve telecommunications services for Canadians. Others are a $100-million investment to improve coverage and connectivity in rural areas through low-Earth-orbit satellites; Connecting Families, an initiative that will provide many low-income Canadians with low-cost Internet and up to 50,000 computers to eligible households through the Computer for Schools program; a five-year plan for wireless spectrum release to promote competition and help drive down prices for Canadians and deliver better quality and coverage; and consultations to prepare Canada for 5G, the next-generation, high-quality wireless systems that will enable e-health, connected cars and smart cities.
The Government of Canada will invest 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.
$2 billion of this funding will support infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities—like local access roads, enhanced broadband connectivity and facilities to support food security. In addition, $400 million will be delivered through the Arctic Energy Fund to advance energy security in the territories.
$4 billion of this funding will support infrastructure projects in Indigenous communities.
Communications, Economic Development
Karl W. Sasseville
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities