OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 2, 2020 /CNW/ - The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the remote communities that depend on small air carriers for essential goods, services, and access in and out of the community. As the pandemic continues to evolve, the Government of Canada is working with partners, including provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous partners and the air industry to address the unique needs of these communities.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau; the Minister of Northern Affairs, the Honourable Daniel Vandal; and Nunavut's Minister of Economic Development and Transportation, the Honourable David Akeeagok, announced a new agreement with the Government of Nunavut to support essential air access to remote communities.
The Government of Canada is contributing up to $17.1 million to ensure continuity of service for at least six months and up to 18 months if necessary. The Government of Nunavut is willing to commit an equal amount, up to $17.1 million, through a combination of monetary and in-kind contributions.
Under this agreement, the Government of Nunavut will determine minimum levels of essential services to remote communities and allocate funding to air operators to ensure the continued supply of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods and services to these communities.
"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. Our agreement with the Government of Nunavut will allow for reliable air services to keep remote communities in Nunavut connected to the rest of the country."
Minister of Transport
The Honourable Marc Garneau
"COVID-19 continues to put pressure on the transportation sector in the North and Arctic, and the people who live there. Our government recognizes it is crucial to support critical transportation links in order to continue to maintain and strengthen supply chains throughout Nunavut. This investment in air support will ensure communities in Nunavut remain connected and supported with access to essential goods and health services when they need it the most."
Minister of Northern Affairs
The Honourable Daniel Vandal
"Nunavut's reliance on air travel cannot be understated; to ensure availability of basic goods and supplies throughout the territory, as well as the ability to travel between communities and to gateway cities across Canada. COVID-19 has shown how essential this service is, and we are grateful this vital link has been recognized by the Government of Canada. We will continue to work with our airlines and the federal government to ensure its viability throughout the pandemic."
Minister of Economic Development and Transportation
The Honourable David Akeeagok
This funding is for the period of July 1 to December 31, 2020. Additional funding will depend on the needs of communities and the pace of recovery of air travel into remote communities.
Remote communities are those that rely on air service as the only year-round mode of transportation.
There are 25 communities with airports in Nunavut that were considered remote while designing this program.
Some communities may have limited access to seasonal ice roads or long and unreliable gravel roads.
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SOURCE Transport Canada
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