Government of Canada invests in design of new bridge and road repairs to improve access to seven remote First Nations in Ontario

News release

September 5, 2019 — Ottawa, Traditional Algonquin Territory, Ontario — Indigenous Services Canada

The Government of Canada is working in partnership with First Nations to improve essential infrastructure in remote First Nations communities. Investing in infrastructure is about investing in people and communities and improving the quality of life of Indigenous communities.

Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced the Government of Canada’s investment in the design of the Berens River Bridge and road improvements.

The Berens River Bridge design project will significantly increase access to seven remote northern Ontario communities. The project includes the design of a bridge across the Berens River, an extension of the all-season road and the realignment of the winter road.

Approximately 8,100 people that live in the seven First Nation communities will be safer and benefit from the improvements.

Indigenous Services Canada is providing up to $1.4 million for the design phase.


“Today, we are taking a step forward in achieving the important goal of improving access to seven remote northern First Nation communities by announcing the design of a new bridge and road improvements. Building and improving essential infrastructure in remote communities is key to economic and social prosperity. I’m proud that our government is supporting this important work.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services

“The Berens River Bridge provides an important connection for First Nations communities in the North, which will provide them with improved access to essential services, such as health care, mental health services, and social programming. This connection will also provide new economic opportunities for these communities, which will help with resource development and business creation, among other things. This is an important step to open up and bring prosperity to the North for everyone.”

The Honourable Bob Nault, P.C.
Member of Parliament, Kenora

“The improvement of First Nations infrastructure is crucial to allow for equal opportunities in creating economic growth for our future generations.”

Chief Amanda Sainnawap
Pikangikum First Nation

“We are all hoping the bridge comes sooner rather than later, as this is an item that’s been talked about for over 10 years. We look forward to working with all 7 communities to make this a reality.”

Chief Delores Kakegamic
Sandy Lake First Nation

“The completion of this project is something our regional communities have been eagerly anticipating. There are always challenges with winter roads but this project will go a long way to provide, safe, reliable, year-round access to some of our communities.”

Geordi Kakepetum
Chief Executive Director, Keewaytinook Okimakanak

Quick facts

  • The seven remote First Nations impacted by this project are Deer Lake, Keewaywin, McDowell Lake, North Spirit Lake, Pikangikum, Poplar Hill and Sandy Lake; the latter of which is undertaking the project on behalf of the partner communities.

  • Access to these First Nations is currently limited to aircraft, barge and winter road. This project includes design to extend the all-season road, realign the winter road and construct a bridge across the Berens River.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Kevin Deagle
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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