Government of Canada makes important investments at Thunder Bay International Airport

News release

March 14, 2022    Thunder Bay, Ontario    Transport Canada

As Canada works towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in our airports continue to be crucial to maintain safety, security, and connectivity for travellers, workers, and communities. Government of Canada investments also help ensure Canada’s airports are well-positioned to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Today, the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, Marcus Powlowski, and the Minister of Indigenous Services, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, and the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that the Government of Canada is making important investments at the Thunder Bay International Airport.

Through Transport Canada’s Airport Relief Fund, the Government of Canada provided the airport with more than $1.7 million to help it maintain continued airport operations and essential air services for residents and workers in Thunder Bay and surrounding communities.

The Thunder Bay International Airport is also receiving $395,000 from Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program for the purchase of a snowplow truck and a runway ice sweeper. This equipment will help ensure safe airport operations for aircraft, passengers, crews and airport workers, by keeping airside surfaces such as runways and taxiways, clear of ice and snow.

This funding is in addition to the over $12.4 million in Airports Capital Assistance Program funding provided to the airport in May 2021 for the rehabilitation of airside surfaces, lighting and electrical systems; the construction of runway end safety areas; the installation of airside LED guidance signage; and the purchase of two aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles.

In addition to the support from Transport Canada, the Thunder Bay International Airports Authority is also receiving more than $1.5 million in financial assistance from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor).  The funding, made available through the Aerospace Regional Recovery and the Regional Air Transportation Initiatives, will be used to upgrade lighting and HVAC equipment, as well as replace two aging escalators in the terminal building. The projects are designed to enhance safety and maintain air service.


“The Thunder Bay International Airport is a key transportation hub not just for Thunder Bay, but for much of northern Ontario. It connects us with family and friends, helps us discover new destinations, and is a pivotal trade corridor for many Thunder Bay businesses. This funding will enhance airport safety for travellers, air crews and airport workers, while supporting jobs and our regional economy.”   

Marcus Powlowski
Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River

“The pandemic highlighted the important role our local and regional airports play in our country’s economy, and in sustaining the social and economic well-being of our communities. In addition to supporting personal travel, local and regional airports are key connectors for business, exports, health care, social services, and emerging resource development sectors. These investments will improve access to safe, reliable and efficient air transportation options, and will help us deliver our commitment to build safer, healthier and stronger communities as Canada recovers from the pandemic.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North

“As we move forward with the safe and gradual return of activity in the aviation sector, in a way that continues to support the health, safety, and security of all Canadians, it will be imperative that we continue to ensure a vibrant and competitive Canadian air sector. These critical investments will allow the Thunder Bay International Airport to invest in the infrastructure and tools needed to help re-invigorate the aviation industry and allow Canadians to feel safe and secure when they travel.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • First introduced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Airport Relief Fund is part of a federal stimulus recovery plan designed to build a stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient economy post-COVID-19.

  • The Airport Relief Fund, launched in May 2021, provided $64.8 million in funding in 2021-2022 for targeted airports whose 2019 revenues were less than $250 million.

  • As announced in the Fall Economic Statement 2020, the Airports Capital Assistance Program received a one-time funding top-up of $186 million over two years.

  • The Fall Economic Statement 2020 also announced the temporary expansion of eligibility for the Airports Capital Assistance Program to allow National Airports System airports with less than one million annual passengers in 2019 to apply for funding under the Program in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.

  • The eligible National Airports System airports are: Gander; Charlottetown; Saint John; Fredericton; Moncton; Thunder Bay; London; and Prince George.

  • Since the Airports Capital Assistance Program started in 1995, the Government of Canada has invested over $1.2 billion for 1,215 projects at 199 local, regional and National Airports System airports across the country. Funded projects include runway and taxiway repairs/rehabilitation, lighting enhancements, purchasing snow clearing equipment and firefighting vehicles and installing wildlife control fencing.

  • The Regional Airport Transportation Initiative (RATI), administered by the regional development agencies, has a national budget of $206 million. The RATI is being delivered by FedNor in Northern Ontario.

  • The Initiative supports regional air ecosystems—which include regional air carriers and airports, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organizations—in developing and implementing enhanced services for improved regional connectivity.

  • Delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies with a national budget of $250 million over three years, the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative (ARRI) complements other measures announced in Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Associated links


Laurel Lennox
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor

Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario
Media Relations

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