Canada and Alberta invest in infrastructure projects in northern Alberta to strengthen the economy and build resilient communities

News release

Fort McMurray, Alberta, September 2, 2020—The governments of Canada and Alberta recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted communities, including rural communities. Both governments are making strategic investments in infrastructure to support people’s health and well-being, and build up local economies.

Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development; and the Honourable Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure for Alberta, announced funding for 18 infrastructure projects in Northern Alberta.

In Fort McMurray, the funding is going towards a new Métis Cultural Centre, including a multipurpose room, dance studio, theatre, amphitheatre, communal kitchen, office space, exhibition and storage spaces, outdoor workspaces, and gardens. It will also feature a garden roof with solar panels and ground source heat pumps to minimize its carbon footprint. The centre will be a monument to Métis culture and history in the area, helping attract tourists while providing a cohesive hub where the community can come together for cultural and recreational events. It will also offer community services, like helping trappers maintain their Aboriginal rights and way of life, and helping vulnerable community members find accommodation, jobs, and gain the skills they need to lead healthy active lives. 

The Municipal District of Lac La Biche County will use its funding to build an Indigenous smudging and cultural awareness venue on the Portage College campus. The community is also receiving funding to build a new aquatic centre with a swimming pool, water slide, diving boards, kiddie pool, hot tub, and steam room.

Other projects being announced today will help protect northern Albertans from flooding, upgrade wastewater and drinking water infrastructure, improve roads, and increase access to arts and outdoor recreation opportunities.

The Government of Canada is investing over $87.7 million in these projects through the Green Infrastructure Stream, the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream, and the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada plan, while the Government of Alberta is contributing more than $62.4 million. 

Additional multimedia

Rendering of the Fort McMurray Métis Cultural Centre
Rendering of the Fort McMurray Métis Cultural Centre


“I’m pleased that federal funding is helping bring the long-awaited Métis Cultural Centre in Fort McMurray to life. It reflects our government’s commitment to advancing reconciliation and renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. As someone who is passionate about the environment, I’m also excited that the centre will feature energy-saving devices that help promote a green future. This project, along with the 17 others we’re announced today, will help build strong resilient communities, support local economies, and improve people’s lives for years to come. Canada’s Infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across Canada, and builds stronger communities.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Rural communities face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. Through projects like those announced today, our government is helping to ensure that local leaders, especially those in rural areas, have the tools they need to plan and create stronger communities now and for generations to come. Today’s federal investment of $87.7 million in 18 projects in Northern Alberta is meant to improve public safety and water consumption infrastructure, preserve cultural heritage, and increase recreation opportunities for Canadians. Our government will continue to deliver for Alberta communities, building on our investments since 2015 of more than $4.7 billion in nearly 300 infrastructure projects across the province to make sure that everyone has a chance at success, no matter where they live.”

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

“Northern Alberta is the industrial engine of Alberta and I am thrilled to see these projects announced.  Alberta’s Recovery Plan commits to building infrastructure in every region of the province, in order to get people back to work and build the infrastructure required to attract private sector investment.  Today’s announcement, in conjunction with the federal government, will create good jobs for skilled tradespeople and build vital infrastructure for Northern communities.”

The Honourable Prasad Panda, Minister of Alberta Infrastructure

“Meaningful reconciliation with our Indigenous peoples and communities takes all of us working together. Today’s funding announcement from the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta in support of this new Métis Cultural Centre demonstrates what can happen when we make reconciliation and better partnerships with Indigenous communities a priority. We thank them for this important commitment that will also create local jobs and positive economic growth. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to the Elders, members and leadership of McMurray Métis for championing this facility and to my Council colleagues for unanimously supporting the land transfer for what is a location of historic significance and heritage at MacDonald Island.”

His Worship Don Scott, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

Quick facts

  • Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested more than $4.7 billion in nearly 300 infrastructure projects across Alberta.

  • To support Canadians and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories. 

  • The new Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will provide up to $31 million in existing federal funding to support communities as they deploy innovative ways to adapt spaces and services to respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years. 

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Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Marie-Pier Baril
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

Hadyn Place
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
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