Remote Inuit communities will benefit from first-time access to modern high-speed Internet

News release

Nunavik residents to get new or faster Internet access thanks to investments from governments of Canada and Quebec

August 22, 2018 – Kuujjuaq, Quebec

Internet access is more than just a convenience: citizens, communities, businesses and institutions need it to find information, offer services and create opportunities. That’s why the Government of Canada is helping all of Nunavik’s 14 Inuit communities and 28 institutions get online with new or improved high-speed Internet access.

Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Persons with Disabilities, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced a joint federal-provincial investment of $125.2 million in high-speed Internet today at the Kativik Regional Government office in Kuujjuaq. The Government of Canada, through the Connect to Innovate program, and the Government of Quebec, through the Ministry of economy, science and innovation, which mandated the Société du Plan Nord to carry out this project, will each invest $62.6 million in the project. The Kativik Regional Government will contribute $500,000.

The government funding will be allocated over three years to the Kativik Regional Government, the territorial government for Nunavik, to build subsea fibre optic backbone infrastructure along the eastern coast of Hudson Bay, reaching as far north as Puvirnituq, which would be one of the most northerly fibre optic connections in all of Canada. The fibre optic infrastructure will initially connect four Nunavik communities, enabling residents to have access to high-speed Internet service packages on par with those available to Canadians in major cities by 2020. The funding will also go toward building a backbone network to serve Kuujjuaq, the territory’s capital, while also deploying state-of-the-art fibre-to-the-home infrastructure in 10 communities.

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

To date, the Government of Canada has invested over $160 million to bring high-speed Internet to Quebec’s rural and remote communities under Connect to Innovate.

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. 

Quotes

“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 and have access to middle-class jobs.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“For northern Quebec communities, digital investment through the Connect to Innovate program enhances opportunities for residents of all ages. This important investment will support students and youth in learning and residents in day-to-day life with connected devices. It will also support businesses and institutions by giving them the technological tools they need to succeed in the digital economy. It’s all part of our government’s plan to help create opportunity in all communities, including remote communities in the North.

– Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Person with Disabilities

“We are proud to support this important project by the Kativik Regional Government that will enable more households and businesses to connect, thereby contributing to Nunavik’s economic growth and the vitality of the Nord‑du‑Québec region. Just like electricity was a driving force in the 20th century, access to broadband Internet is today a powerful driver of digital and socio-economic development. That is why our government, in the Quebec Digital Strategy, set itself this target: 100 percent of Quebec residents having access to broadband networks within the next five years.”

– Dominique Anglade, Deputy Premier of Quebec, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy

“Thanks to financial support for the Société du Plan Nord, our government is able to support this digital infrastructure project in Nunavik, which will contribute to integrated and coherent development in the region covered by the Plan Nord. We reaffirm our commitment to seizing the opportunities presented by digital transformation of the economy—not only by supporting this project but also by focusing, through the Digital Strategy, on high-performing, modern infrastructure throughout Quebec.”

– Jean Boucher, Member of the National Assembly for Ungava and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks

“The Tamaani Internet phase 5 project, associated with the Connect to Innovate program, will lead to faster and greater Internet services for residential, business and government users, allowing for increased education, skills development and job opportunities. It will also improve videoconferencing, bringing us closer together. The Government of Canada, through the Connect to Innovate program, and the Government of Quebec, through the Société du Plan Nord, are helping us to reduce the gap between the north and the south in terms of Internet services and to further develop Nunavik’s economy and human capital.”

– Jennifer Munick, Chairperson, Kativik Regional Government

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec will each provide funding of $62.6 million for the project, and the Kativik Regional Government is contributing $500,000.

  • Connect to Innovate is one of several Government of Canada measures to improve telecommunications services for Canadians. Others are a $100-million investment to improve coverage and connectivity in rural areas with low-earth-orbit satellites; Connecting Families, an initiative that will provide many low-income Canadians with low-cost Internet and up to 50,000 computers to eligible households through the Computer for Schools program; a five-year plan for wireless spectrum release to promote competition and help drive down prices for Canadians and to deliver better quality and coverage; and consultations to prepare Canada for 5G, the next generation of high-quality wireless systems that will enable e-health, connected cars and smart cities.

  • 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.

  • The Quebec Digital Strategy is a social project that aims to bring together the government’s various actions in accelerating the development of a true digital culture in all regions.

  • To provide needed impetus for the Quebec Digital Strategy, the government took additional actions in November 2017 when it updated the March 2017 Quebec Economic Plan. These include the announcement of $300 million in support over six years to carry out initiatives aimed at ensuring access to high-speed networks in every region of Quebec.

Associated links

Contacts

Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA

Follow the Ministry of economy, science and innovation on social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube

Nilani Logeswaran
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development
343-291-2849
613-668-1794 (cell)

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca

Guillaume Bérubé
Director of Communications
Office of the Deputy Premier of Quebec, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy
418-691-5650

Frédérique Brais-Chaput
Political Attaché
Office of the Member for Ungava
418-748-6046


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