Ontario Building Vital Indigenous Road Links
Provincial investment connecting remote First Nation communities to essential goods and services
February 09, 2023
Table of Contents
- Quick Facts
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KENORA – The Ontario government is investing $6 million to help 32 remote First Nation communities and the Town of Moosonee build and operate 3,200 kilometres of temporary winter roads for the 2022-23 season. The funding is used to deliver essential goods and services, support special projects, including bridge improvements, maintenance of crossings and other repairs, and allow for inter-community participation in cultural events.
“The winter road network is part of our government’s vision to ensure prosperity, accessibility and connectivity is possible in every region,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “With this investment, we are helping Far North communities achieve their full economic potential and improve quality of life for northerners.”
The Ontario government’s multi-year funding commitment provides seasonal connections to all-season roads and makes it easier for remote communities to bring in essential goods and services, such as food, medical and construction supplies. Community members can also use the winter roads network to access cultural and sporting events, visit friends and family, and travel to health care and other appointments. The network serves over 24,000 Ontarians.
The Ontario government is also providing $2 million to Windigo First Nations Council to replace ice bridges with pre-engineered portable bridges and culverts. Replacing ice bridges is creating opportunities for social and economic prosperity in these communities by improving the reliability, safety, and environmental impact of the winter roads network.
“Improving winter roads is one of more than 60 actions outlined in our government’s Northern Ontario Transportation Plan to help provide more safe and reliable travel options for remote and First Nation communities,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “This investment will help ensure northern communities have access to the supplies and essential services they need when they need them, including fuel, food, and basic amenities.”
- At 3,200 kilometres, Ontario’s winter roads network is the longest in Canada. The network serves a population of approximately 24,000 across 32 remote Indigenous communities and the Town of Moosonee. Typically, these roads are open for approximately six to 11 weeks per year from late January until the end of March.
- The province has released Connecting the North: A Draft Transportation Plan for Northern Ontario, which is available in Cree, Oji-Cree and Ojibway.
- In 2022, the Ontario government established a local task force in Northern Ontario to focus on transportation needs and opportunities in the region. The Northern Ontario Transportation Task Force, made up of community-based leaders, is examining ways to make it easier for people and goods to travel, while boosting economic growth in the North.
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