Seven regional airports across the Prairies receiving more than $4 million to maintain regional connectivity and jobs 

News release

Prairies regional airports get an economic boost

Targeted Government of Canada support will be provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada

August 4, 2021 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Regional air transportation is crucial to local economic growth, the movement of goods and the connectivity of Canadians across the country. The pandemic has had major impacts on regional air transportation ecosystems, affecting communities and local businesses from coast to coast to coast.

The Government of Canada’s Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI), launched in March 2021, fosters access to air transportation and supports regional ecosystems. In particular, it enables regional air carriers and airports to remain operational in these difficult times and to continue contributing to regional economic growth, while adapting to new post-COVID-19 realities and requirements.

 

Prairie airports to benefit from funding

With this in mind, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced up to $4,012,480 in RATI funding for seven regional airports in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. This funding will enable these airports to overcome challenges that were brought on by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional air transportation is key to the economic development of communities and businesses across Canada. Since it helps draw Canadians to rural and remote communities to work and raise their families, while also providing reliable connectivity with urban centres, it plays a crucial role in a just, inclusive recovery for all, throughout the country.

Projects being funded
Recipient Location Funding

City of Lethbridge

Lethbridge, AB

up to $583,480

City of Medicine Hat Medicine Hat, AB up to $549,840
Fort McMurray Airport Authority Fort McMurray, AB up to $1,596,160
Town of High Level High Level, AB up to $348,000
City of Prince Albert Prince Albert, SK up to $300,000
Town of La Ronge La Ronge, SK up to $300,000
Town of The Pas The Pas, MB up to $335,000
Total Funding   up to $4,012,480

Quotes

“It is important to protect our regional air transportation ecosystems for the thousands of workers employed by this sector and for the many businesses and communities that depend on it. We know that air connectivity to all regions is essential to healthy, inclusive economic growth, and supporting it is part of our plan to build back a stronger, more resilient economy.”

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“It is important to protect our regional air transportation ecosystems for the thousands of workers employed by this sector and for the many businesses and communities that depend on it.” - Hon. Mélanie Joly

 

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“Regional airports and infrastructure are important to residents and businesses across the Prairies. They play a critical role for the economy as people depend on them for both personal and business travel and to access services in larger centres. This funding will go a long way to getting these assets back on their feet as Canada begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and we reopen our economy.”

Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency)

“This funding will go a long way to getting these assets back on their feet as Canada begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and we reopen our economy.”

- Parl. Sec. Terry Duguid

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“We are excited to welcome news of support for regional connectivity. Remote communities such as ours depend on air connectivity to bolster economic activity and growth of entire sectors and industries. Reliable air connectivity not only supports thousands of jobs, but also ensures the viability of our airport which is critical to the sustainability of our community.”

RJ Steenstra, President & CEO, Fort McMurray Airport Authority

“The Town of La Ronge is very appreciative for the $300,000 investment from the federal government in the La Ronge airport. The investment will not only help a critical asset in our region economy recover from COVID, it will help improve the competitiveness of our airport and speed up the recovery timelines. On behalf of Council, we are very thankful for the investment.”

Colin Ratushniak, Mayor of the Town of La Ronge, Saskatchewan

“As a small community, connectivity is vital for both for our economy and our residents. As the operator of a regional airport, we appreciate any help we can get as it lessens the burdens on us and our taxpayers and allows us to remain connected.”

Herb Jaques, Mayor of The Town of The Pas, Manitoba 

Quick facts

  • RATI, administered by the regional development agencies (RDAs), has a national budget of $206 million.

  • 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.

  • RATI complements measures implemented by Transport Canada.

Contacts

Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
catherine.mounier-desrochers@canada.ca

Sarah McCullough
Acting Director, Policy, Planning and External Relations, Manitoba Region
Western Economic Diversification Canada
sarah.mccullough@canada.ca  

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