Canada and Ontario Support Small Air Carriers Serving Remote First Nations Communities

Published on January 23, 2021

TORONTO — Ontario is working with the government of Canada to provide up to $11.1 million to support small air carriers serving remote First Nations communities in Northern Ontario. The investment will help ensure access to essential goods and services during COVID-19.

"Small air carriers provide remote northern First Nations communities with a vital connection to critical supplies and essential services, including health care," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. "This funding will help ensure the unique and immediate needs of these communities are continuously met during COVID-19."

Ontario is also investing $14.2 million to operate remote airports in 2020-21, including an additional $4 million this year to support continued safe operations during COVID-19.

"Our government's investment in the remote and northern airports program demonstrates our continued commitment to supporting communities in Northern Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond," said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. "This funding is part of our transportation plan for Northern Ontario, Connecting the North, which clearly indicates how we will provide reliable transportation to meet the unique needs of the region and help ensure people have access to critical services."

Remote First Nations communities rely on air carriers to provide access to employment, health care, education, justice, child and family services, and social services, in addition to helping maintain cultural and familial connections.

"While we continue to work together to limit the spread of COVID-19, we must also ensure remote communities continue to have the air connectivity they need for essential goods and services, travel and business," said Omar Alghabra, federal Minister of Transport. "This agreement with the Government of Ontario will allow for reliable air services to keep remote communities in Ontario connected to the rest of the country."

Quick Facts

  • The Ministry of Transportation owns and operates 29 airports, 27 of which support remote First Nation communities.
  • There are 34 remote communities in Northern Ontario, 28 of which do not have year-round road access and rely on small commercial air carriers for essential services and goods.

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Media Contacts

Alex Puddifant

Minister’s Office

[email protected]


Flavia Mussio

Communications Branch

[email protected]