Federal funding to bring high-speed Internet to Indigenous community in northern Ontario

News release

$1.8-million investment will help build digital infrastructure to connect communities and families

April 10, 2018, Parry Sound, Ontario

Internet access is more than just a convenience; communities, businesses and institutions need it to find information, offer services and create opportunities. That’s why, through an investment of $1.03 million, the Government of Canada is helping an Indigenous community and nine institutions in northern Ontario get online with new or improved high-speed Internet.

The funding was announced today by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, at Wasauksing First Nation.

Minister Bains also announced FedNor funding of $250,000 to the Waabnoong Bemjiwang Association of First Nations for a land- and asset-management database that will allow members to manage their infrastructure throughout its entire life cycle, improve financial accounting, work together more efficiently and be self-sufficient.

These investments will help residents of these Indigenous communities connect with family and friends, do business online, participate in distance education and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age.

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

“This important investment will bring vital broadband infrastructure to families and businesses in northern Ontario. High-speed Internet will ensure Wasauksing First Nation is connected to the resources they need to compete and succeed in the digital economy. Providing people with access to broadband Internet is part of our government’s plan to support care and create opportunity during this period of rapid economic change.”

– The Honourable Glenn Thibeault, Ontario Minister of Energy and Member of Provincial Parliament for Sudbury

“We are extremely happy that the Connect to Innovate program will help make fast, affordable and reliable Internet a reality for Wasauksing First Nation. In today’s world, having access to high-speed Internet is an essential ingredient for being both successful and competitive. We look forward to the new opportunities that this project will create for our community.”

– Chief Warren Tabobondung, Wasauksing First Nation

“Establishing an asset-management system will allow us to identify and track community assets while creating a road map for capital planning, land use and source water protection. I look forward to the benefits this project will deliver locally and for our six partner First Nations.”

– Pamela Restoule, President of Waabnoong Bemjiwang Association of First Nations and Economic Development Officer for Dokis First Natio‎n

Quick facts

  • Of the $1.8-million investment for high-speed Internet announced today:

    • $1.03 million will come from the Connect to Innovate program;
    • $62,000 will come from the Government of Ontario, through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation; and
    • $708,000 will come from other contributors.
  • The FedNor funding is provided through the Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation throughout the region.

  • Connect to Innovate is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.

Associated links


Follow the department on Twitter: @ISED_CA

Karl W. Sasseville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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