Canada and Alberta announce two broadband and wireless projects in Indigenous communities

News release

Cold Lake, Alberta, June 28, 2021—The governments of Canada and Alberta continue to invest in infrastructure during this extraordinary time to enhance citizens’ quality of life, meet the needs of communities, and create jobs in light of the impacts of COVID-19.

Today, the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development and Prasad Panda, Alberta’s Minister of Infrastructure, announced more than $2.9 million in funding for two broadband and wireless projects in Indigenous communities. The projects are funded under the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

A project for the Saddle Lake Cree Nation will receive more than $2.6 million in federal funding. The project will upgrade the internet and cellular infrastructure for the Nation, which will improve the resilience of the broadband and cellular connectivity.

Cold Lake First Nations’ reserves will also benefit from another project receiving $241,544 in federal funding. This project will install Long Term Evolution equipment on both existing and new towers.

Providing communities with reliable and sustainable infrastructure is a shared priority for both governments. Infrastructure Canada is investing more than $2.9 million in these projects. This funding is conditional on federal requirements regarding Indigenous consultations and environmental and/or impact assessments being met.

Quotes

“Projects like the ones we are announcing today in Saddle Lake and Cold Lake First Nations are about more than connectivity—they’re a lifeline. Since November 2015, our government has invested over $42 million in 42 projects to connect more than 35,000 households in Alberta to high-speed Internet. We will continue investing in vital infrastructure projects, so that every Albertan, no matter where they live, is able to access their full potential.”

The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

“The Alberta government is pleased to endorse these broadband and wireless projects that will help improve the lives and livelihoods of families and businesses in Saddle Lake Cree Nation and Cold Lake First Nations and neighbouring areas. The provision of reliable digital connectivity is critical to supporting learning opportunities, social activities, economic development and community growth within these regions.”

Prasad Panda, Alberta’s Minister of Infrastructure

“Our nation is excited to be upgrading our existing broadband network and is thankful for the support of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.  Increased internet connectivity is a priority for our community members and is something that we have been striving towards for several years. The new infrastructure will lead to more opportunities for training, education, and entrepreneurship but will also increase overall community well-being.”

Chief Roger Martens, Cold Lake First Nations

“Saddle Lake Cree Nation is excited to have improved access to cellular and broadband communication. Through the last year during COVID-19 our community has been challenged with broadband capacity. This important project will provide our Nation with new opportunities for improved education, economic growth and critical service delivery. Through this partnership with the federal and provincial government Saddle Lake Cree Nation members will experience an improved quality of life on reserve.”

Ken Large, director of Public Works and Housing, Saddle Lake First Nation

Quick facts

  • Under the Investing in Canada Plan, the federal government 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. 

  • $2 billion of this funding is supporting infrastructure that meets the unique needs of rural and northern communities, like facilities to support food security, local access roads and enhanced broadband connectivity. 

  • In Alberta, the Government of Canada has invested more than $5.1 billion in over 430 infrastructure projects since 2015 under the Investing in Canada Plan.

Associated links

Contacts

Marie-Pier Baril
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
613-295-8123
Marie-Pier.Baril@cfc-swc.gc.ca

Hadyn Place
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure
780-643-6322
Hadyn.Place@gov.ab.ca

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
Email: media@infc.gc.ca
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