Canada and Ontario provide additional funding to support essential air access for remote First Nation communities in Ontario

News release

April 29, 2022             Ottawa             Transport Canada

As Canada works towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in our aviation industry help ensure it is well-positioned to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Our airports and air carriers continue to play a crucial role in maintaining safety, security, and connectivity for travellers, workers and communities.  

Today, Canada’s Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, the Ontario Minister of Indigenous Affairs, the Honourable Greg Rickford, and the Ontario Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, announced funding to maintain essential air access for remote communities in Ontario, including First Nation communities.

In addition to the more than $16.2 million in federal funding already provided in response to the pandemic, the Government of Canada is investing over $5.4 million to support these air services.

Over the last two years, Ontario provided over $14 million in annual funding to operate remote airports. The province also provided an additional $4 million to ensure the continued safe and uninterrupted operations of remote airports during the pandemic.

This financial contribution will help maintain air transportation services to remote First Nation communities in Ontario to ensure continued access to essential goods and services, including community resupply of food and medical supplies.


“Our government understands the importance of reliable air services in ensuring the social and economic well-being of Canada’s northern and remote communities. This investment will help ensure that, as we work towards recovery and travel restart post pandemic, people living and working in First Nation communities in Ontario will continue to have access to air services for delivery of essential goods and services, for business and trade, and for travel between communities in Ontario and throughout Canada.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

“Providing air services to northern communities in Ontario will assist remote and isolated First Nations communities in Ontario in having reliable access to health care professionals, medical supplies as well as infrastructure professionals. This in turn will assist in maintaining the critical infrastructure such as water treatment plants and the ability to support other needs such as emergency management response, food security or medical travel. Maintaining these services will also create a revenue stream to airlines serving these communities, helping to support their economic long-term viability.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario

“Ontario is supporting small air carriers serving Northern and remote First Nation communities that are experiencing ongoing and unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is vital for these communities that depend on small air carriers for access in and out of their communities and for essential goods and services, such as food, employment, health care, education and social services.”

The Honourable Greg Rickford
Minister of Indigenous Affairs
Government of Ontario

“Our government continues to provide support to First Nation communities in Northern Ontario by investing in small air carriers, as they ensure that essential goods and services, like healthcare, are accessible year-round for those who depend on it. Under the leadership of Premier Ford, we are taking action to improve and expand Northern Ontario’s transportation system so that people and businesses can get where they need to go.”

The Honourable Caroline Mulroney
Minister of Transportation
Government of Ontario

Quick facts

  • Under the funding agreements for the Remote Air Services Program, a fixed amount of funding is allocated to each province or territory that has remote communities. Provinces and territories are responsible for allocating the funding to specific air carriers.

  • Remote communities rely on air service as the only year-round mode of transportation into and out of the community. Some communities may have limited access to seasonal ice roads or long and unreliable gravel roads.

  • The Ontario Ministry of Transportation owns and operates 29 airports, 27 of which support remote First Nation communities.

Associated links


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

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

Curtis Lindsay
Office of the Honourable Greg Rickford
Ontario’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs

Flavia Mussio
Communications Branch
Ministry of Indigenous Affairs

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