New funding for permafrost research to better protect Dempster and Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk highways from climate change

News release

March 4, 2019             Inuvik, Northwest Territories               Transport Canada

Climate change affects the North more than any other part of Canada and threatens the efficiency, safety and reliability of northern transportation. Improving our understanding of how to make our northern transportation system more resilient to the effects of climate is important given the key role transportation plays in the region’s social and economic development.

Today, Mr. Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, and Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, on behalf of Wally Schumann, Minister of Infrastructure, participated in an event in Inuvik where they announced a new climate change adaptation research project under the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative.

The Government of the Northwest Territories will receive $800,000 to support research at test sites along the Dempster and Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk highways and to develop, manage and share a database of permafrost information. Starting this year and ending in March 2021, this project will support the Territory in managing research along highway corridors that are drawing researchers from across the country and around the world.

This project will improve our understanding of how climate change is affecting northern roads and highways built in permafrost regions. As a result, northern asset owners will be able to make informed decisions about design, construction, maintenance, and operations to increase resilience and better manage long term costs.


“The Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative is building science-based knowledge to make our transportation infrastructure more resilient to climate change. By investing in research to develop and share knowledge about how warming temperatures are affecting permafrost and infrastructure, we are supporting those who manage the roads and highways that are so important to community growth and well-being in Canada’s North.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Government of Canada

“In the Northwest Territories, climate change impacts our highways and our social and economic development. With our government’s support and in partnership with industry and academia, our Territory is developing adaptive strategies to protect our northern transportation corridors to further our understanding of the impacts of climate change.”

Michael McLeod
Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories

“Transportation infrastructure plays a vital role in the lives of northerners and therefore, so is the need to understand the relationship between transportation and climate change. This funding will allow the Government of Northwest Territories to greatly improve our understanding of how climate change is affecting our transportation infrastructure, ensuring that we’re better equipped to make sound decisions about the design, construction, maintenance and operations of northern roads and airports, which will benefit all visitors and residents of the Northwest Territories.”

Wally Schumann
Minister of Infrastructure, Government of Northwest Territories

Quick facts

  • Transport Canada’s Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of northerners to adapt their transportation systems to climate change, through support for research, development and testing of adaptive technologies.

  • The Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative provides funding to help meet some of the challenges of climate change in Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and communities in Nunavik and Northern Labrador.

  • Northern infrastructure is particularly susceptible to climate change impacts and adaptive strategies are needed to deal with the increasing number of hazards emerging across Canada’s northern transportation corridors.

Associated links


Delphine Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

Department of Infrastructure Communications
867-767-9082 ext. 31046

Search for related information by keyword: TR Transport | Transport Canada | Canada | Transport and infrastructure | general public | news releases
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: