Government of Canada invests in transportation infrastructure improvements in Nunavut

News release

August 13, 2019    Iqaluit, Nunavut    Transport Canada

The Government of Canada supports infrastructure projects that create quality middle-class jobs and boost economic growth. Enhancing the northern transportation system supports and promotes economic growth and social development, offers job opportunities, ensures greater connectivity for Northerners, increases its resilience to a changing climate, and ensures that it can adapt to innovative technologies.

Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced a major investment of $71.7 million for four projects that will improve transportation safety and accessibility for Arctic and Northern communities.

The projects are:

  • $45.5 million to accommodate increased passenger volumes and support carrier operations by renovating the Rankin Inlet Airport Terminal Building. Two wings will be added to the existing terminal, increasing its capacity to more than four times its current size.
  • $21.5 million to complete preparatory work necessary for the first phase of construction of the Grays Bay Road and Port Project. The proposed 230 kilometre all-season road would be the first road to connect Nunavut to the rest of Canada.
  • $4.5 million to study and design an all-season road that will improve connectivity for the communities in the Kivalliq region that currently rely on air transportation. The 450 kilometre all‐weather road will enable economic and social opportunities by providing Kivalliq communities access to the benefits of jet service and cargo capacity of the Rankin Inlet Airport, and access to higher-frequency sealift operations.
  • $195,000 to improve passenger safety, accessibility and quality of life for persons with disabilities by installing a passenger boarding ramp at airport terminals in seven Nunavut communities:  Arviat, Whale Cove, Chesterfield Inlet, Baker Lake, Naujaat, Coral Harbour, and Sanikiluaq.

These investments, from the Government of Canada’s National Trade Corridors Fund, are expected to have important economic and employment benefits for the region by creating an estimated 200 jobs during pre-construction and construction.

Projects in the North receiving funding are supporting transportation infrastructure such as ports, airports, all-season roads and bridges and will enhance safety, security, and economic and social development in Canada's three territories.

The projects are also addressing the unique and urgent transportation needs in Canada's territorial North, such as access to markets, economic opportunities, communities and essential services despite difficult terrain and severe climate conditions and the high cost of construction along Canada’s northern trade corridors.

Territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous groups, not-for-profit and for-profit private-sector organizations, and federal Crown Corporations and Agencies are all eligible for funding under the National Trade Corridors Fund.


“Transportation is a lifeline for Northern communities and for economic development in Canada’s Arctic. By finding ways to make our infrastructure more resilient, we are improving transportation safety and reliability.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • In many northern communities, air transport is the only year-round means of moving people and goods. Air transport provides a crucial link to essential services and work opportunities that are often not available within the community. Two of these projects will improve the efficiency and safety of essential transportation in eight communities in Nunavut.

  • All-season highways and winter ice roads in the North handle more than 1 million tonnes of freight traffic each year. Two of these projects will complete preparatory work necessary for construction of major new all-season roads that would connect communities and economic development sites in Nunavut.

  • Infrastructure development is more costly in the territorial North than in southern Canada due to severe climate, difficult terrain, vast distances, limited access to materials and expertise, and a much shorter construction season.

  • To improve and expand infrastructure in the northern regions of Canada, Budget 2019 increased the allocation of the National Trade Corridors Fund to Arctic and northern regions by up to $400 million over eight years, starting in 2020–21, bringing the total allocation to these regions to $800 million.

  • 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.

Associated links


Delphine Denis
Media Relations Manager
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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