Canada helps ensure the continued delivery of fuel to communities in the Northwest Territories

News release

Inuvik, Northwest Territories, August 30, 2019—Now more than ever, communities need help adapting to the frequent and intensifying weather events caused by climate change. Reducing the impact of natural disasters such as wildfires and flooding is critical to keeping Canadian families safe, protecting local businesses and supporting a strong economy.

Today, Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable Wally Schumann, Northwest Territories Minister of Infrastructure and Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, announced funding towards a fuel supply line mitigation project.

Coastal communities in the Northwest Territories rely heavily on diesel and gasoline for electricity generation, heating, and transportation. The transportation of fuel to many Territorial communities takes a number of steps, beginning by rail from Alberta to Hay River, where the fuel is then transferred onto barges and shipped to the coastal communities of Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok and Paulatuk. In the spring of 2019, a wildfire in Northern Alberta destroyed some of the rail infrastructure that is relied upon to get fuel to Hay River, creating disruptions in the fuel supply chain.

The project consists of adding substantial fuel storage capacity in Hay River, and rehabilitating and expanding fuel capacity at the northern end of the Mackenzie River in Tuktoyaktuk, which will help resupply other northern communities. The fuel capacity in Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok and Paulatuk will also be increased to 210% of historic consumption in those communities to ensure they have sufficient fuel in the event of a disruption. Overall, approximately 13.2 million litres of fuel storage capacity will be added to the Northwest Territories supply chain.

This project will increase the resilience for more than 5,600 people, ensure that residents have continued access to fuel to heat their homes, businesses and community centres year round, and greatly reduce the impacts of an interruption in the fuel supply chain. The project is expected to save $3 in long-term recovery and replacement costs for every $1 invested today.

The Government of Canada is investing $21,750,000 in this project through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund with the Government of Northwest Territories contributing $7,250,000.


“Northern communities need support to adapt to climate change. The reality is that communities in Canada’s north rely on diesel for travel, to generate electricity, and to heat homes and businesses. This important work will help safeguard fuel supply chain to ensure that residents are protected from fuel shortages caused by climate change disasters.”

Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Natural disasters resulting from climate change can, and have, impacted the Northwest Territories. NWT residents experienced this in 2019 when wildfires in Alberta cut off road access to our territory and destroyed rail infrastructure that is replied upon to get fuel to our territory, disrupting the fuel resupply chain. Increasing the fuel storage capacity in several of our northern communities will make our critical fuel resupply infrastructure more resilient to climate change and allow for fuel to be delivered to NWT communities if there are breaks in the supply chain or other events prevent fuel from being transported North.”

The Honourable Wally Schumann, Northwest Territories Minister of Infrastructure, and Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Quick facts

  • The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) is a $2-billion, 10-year program to help communities build the infrastructure they need to better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, permafrost degradation, earthquakes and droughts.

  • DMAF is part of the federal government’s Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, which is providing more than $180 billion over 12 years for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and rural and northern communities.

  • Investing in green infrastructure that helps communities cope with the intensifying effects of climate change is an integral part of Canada’s transition to a more resilient, low-carbon economy, which is among the commitments made under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

  • The Rural Economic Development Strategy leverages ongoing federal investments and provides a vision for the future, identifying practical steps to take in the short term, and serving as a foundation to guide further work.

  • Central to Canada’s Connectivity Strategy are historic new investments that are mobilizing up to $6 billion toward universal connectivity. They include a top-up to the Connect to Innovate Program, a new Universal Broadband Fund, and investments from the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Associated links


Ann-Clara Vaillancourt
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Public Affairs and Communications
Department of Infrastructure
Government of the Northwest Territories
867-767-9082 ext. 32025

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Infrastructure Canada
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