Minister Vandal and Minister Akeeagok announce investment in Nunavut research project to address the impacts of climate change on northern transportation infrastructure

News release

March 3, 2021               Ottawa              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 the northern transportation system more resilient to the effects of climate change is important given the key role transportation plays in the region’s social and economic development.

Today, the Minister of Northern Affairs, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, and the Government of Nunavut Minister of Economic Development and Transportation, the Honourable David Akeeagok, announced an important climate change adaptation research project under the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative.

The Government of Nunavut will be leading a permafrost study to support increased climate resilience of the transportation system serving communities in Nunavut. The project will develop data to assist in decision-making processes for airports in Pangnirtung and Rankin Inlet, and in the analysis of how long-term changes in the climate may affect transportation underlain by permafrost in these and 14 other territorial communities.

The total cost of the project is $540,335: Transport Canada is providing up to $349,000, while the Government of Nunavut is contributing $116,335. The Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office is also offering in-kind contribution.

Canada’s North is vast, with a limited transportation network. Many communities’ year-round transportation options are limited. With this funding, the governments of Canada and Nunavut are taking concrete steps to make those options more reliable as the climate continues to change.


“Our climate is changing and is affecting Canada’s transportation system in the North and Arctic. That’s why we are investing in the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative to improve climate resilience and build a safer, more secure and efficient northern transportation system. In partnership with the Government of Nunavut, we will continue to work to safeguard the region’s social and economic development by strengthening the capacity of Northerners and northern communities to adapt to climate change.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

“The health, well-being and resiliency of northern communities depends on a safe and reliable transportation system. The North and Arctic are seeing significant impacts due to climate change, through melting permafrost, coastal erosion and more, affecting vital transportation infrastructure. With today’s announcement, we are supporting the Government of Nunavut’s research project that will help to make the transportation system in the territory more resilient to those impacts, and Nunavummiut continue to see improvements in their quality of life.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs

“A resilient transportation system is crucial to the long-term prosperity, well-being, and quality of life for northern communities. The investment we are announcing today will provide us with vital data that we can use to better manage northern transportation in the face of a changing climate.”

The Honourable David Akeeagok
Minister of Economic Development and Transportation

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 risk to safety and reliability and to manage long-term costs effectively.

Associated links


Allison St-Jean
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa


Andrea McFaul
Director of Policy, Planning and Communications
Economic Development and Transportation

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: