Targeted infrastructure investments planned for Inuit Nunangat 

News release

August, 12, 2021 — Iqaluit, Nunavut — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada recognizes the need to address social and economic inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Budget 2021 announced the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund (ICIF), a distinctions-based fund to support immediate demands, as prioritized by Indigenous partners. Today the Government of Canada announced that $517.8 million  is available for shovel-ready infrastructure projects for Inuit communities. This funding will help close the infrastructure gaps by 2030.

Targeted infrastructure investments in Inuit communities represent another important step on the path to reconciliation between the Government and Inuit. This new funding will provide an opportunity for Inuit partners to build upon previous successes, such as Inuit housing investments announced in 2018, and drive self-determined solutions to improve Inuit infrastructure and housing outcomes.

Inuit communities experience the greatest infrastructure deficit in Canada when compared to other Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. In 2020, Inuit partners prioritized 24 regional infrastructure projects that would begin to address critical needs in Inuit Nunangat. Investments through the Indigenous Communities Infrastructure Fund will be targeted by Inuit to support these priorities in areas such as transportation, telecommunications, energy, and social and health infrastructure, including housing.  These concrete investments will be delivered in the short-term and will accelerate efforts to closing the infrastructure gap in Inuit Nunangat.

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for infrastructure developments in northern and remote communities, particularly in housing. Supporting immediate infrastructure needs, as prioritized by Indigenous partners, will create jobs and build healthier, safer and more prosperous Indigenous communities in the long-term.

Quotes

“Working together, we have made significant progress in addressing infrastructure in Northern communities. The specific needs of Inuit communities will be supported with this new infrastructure funding from Budget 2021. Inuit-led projects in transportation, telecommunications, energy, and social and health infrastructure will assist in closing the infrastructure gap in Inuit Nunangat. We recognize there is much more work to do, but by working in partnership, we will continue to make transformative progress in Northern communities.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs

“The Government of Canada is working to renew and strengthen its relationships with Indigenous People, including Inuit, by supporting Indigenous economic development opportunities. I look forward to the improvements that will develop out of this new funding, starting with the immediate needs related to COVID-19. Improving infrastructure in Inuit communities will lead to an improvement of economic, social,  health and overall quality of life outcomes in Inuit communities.”

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

“This funding represents many opportunities for Inuit throughout Inuit Nunangat in response to the greatest infrastructure deficit in Canada.  Addressing infrastructure gaps in Inuit communities is essential to ending violence against Inuit women and girls and is identified as a priority in the Inuit Action Plan on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and The Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People. The Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund supports the priorities that Inuit have identified  to address their greatest needs immediately.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations 

“The Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund’s Inuit-specific allocation represents a significant step toward greater self-determination in the delivery of infrastructure projects across Inuit Nunangat. Until today, Inuit have been excluded from the development of these shared social assets and the prosperity, health, and security they bring. This short term initial investment will help Inuit begin to respond to the unique infrastructure needs of the 51 communities spanning our four regions. ITK and Inuit regions will continue to work with the federal government to co-develop long-term, distinctions-based infrastructure plans as the basis for long-term, transformative investments. We also recognize the need for transformative investments in poverty reduction, childcare, climate change adaptation and mitigation, education, and food security, among other priorities, in order to maximize the impact of our physical infrastructure investments.”

President Natan Obed,
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

“Though the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, the Nunatsiavut Government has been working very closely with ITK and the other Inuit regions, and the Government of Canada to identify and address our most-pressing infrastructure needs. This badly-need funding is another good step towards reconciliation, and in bridging the infrastructure gaps within Nunatsiavut and throughout Inuit Nunangat.”

President Johannes Lampe,
Nunatsiavut Government

“This is a positive first step towards infrastructure investments for Inuit Nunangat. Pauktuutit looks forward to working closely with the federal government and ITK moving forward to close the infrastructure gaps that will directly impact Inuit women and families as well as address their unique needs.”

Rebecca Kudloo,
President of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada

“The lack of infrastructure in our communities negatively impacts Nunavut Inuit everyday. A fund dedicated to focus on Inuit infrastructure priorities will result in much needed transformational change to Inuit lives.”

Aluki Kotierk
President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated

“The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation welcomes the Government of Canada’s announcement of distinctions-based infrastructure funding. The $517.8 million dedicated to infrastructure development is a step in the right direction to combatting infrastructure inequalities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Inuit Nunangat as a whole.”

Duane Ningaqsiq Smith,
Chair/CEO, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

“Infrastructure funding is always welcome in Nunavik where the needs are high and the challenges great. Today’s announcement is an important start. Given our unique geography and geology, infrastructure projects in the North are very costly and require federal government support. Ensuring that we can provide the same services to our people as those available in the south, is our priority. We appreciate the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to our efforts.”

Pita Aatami,
President of Makivik Corporation

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is investing $4.3 billion over four years, starting in 2021-2022 for the creation of the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund (ICIF).

  • This distinctions-based fund will support the immediate demands, as prioritized by Indigenous partners for ongoing, new and shovel ready projects, in First Nations, including modern-treaty and self-governing First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.

  • $517.8 million will be allocated over 4 years (2021-22 to 2024-25) to fund shovel-ready infrastructure projects proposed by Inuit based on their identified priorities. This total also includes CIRNAC operating resources and internal services costs.

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Ryan Cotter
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Daniel Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs
819-953-1153

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
819-934-2302
RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@canada.ca

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