The Canadian government has announced that it provide an extra C$1.167 million in funding to the province of Saskatchewan to ensure it is able to continue to support essential air services for remote communities.
He notes that the global COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for northern and remote communities that depend on supply chains for the delivery of essential goods and services.
According to Transport Canada, as the pandemic evolves, the federal government will continue to work with partners, including provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities and the airline industry, to meet the unique needs of these communities.
Funding is in addition to the C$1.592 million provided to the government of Saskatchewan in 2020, to maintain essential air services to remote communities.
This financial contribution should help maintain minimum levels of air transport services to communities far from Saskatchewan ensure continued access to essential goods and services, including community replenishment of food and medical supplies.
“Our government understands the importance of reliable air service to support the social and economic well-being of our northern and remote communities,” said Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.
“This investment will ensure that, as we work to resume and restart travel post-pandemic, people living and working in remote areas Saskatchewan communities will continue to have access to air services for the delivery of essential goods and services and for essential travel between communities in Saskatchewan.
“We are pleased to work with our territorial and Indigenous partners and the airline industry to support communities as we begin to build back better.
Fred Bradshaw, Saskatchewan Highways Minister, added, “The twin efforts of fighting COVID-19 and ensuring our economy recovers from the pandemic must be deployed in every corner of the province.
“We are very grateful to the government for Canada recognizes the need for reliable air transport to from Saskatchewan North to achieve these goals, and that it continues to invest in this critical area of supporting our remote communities.
- Under the Remote Air Services Program funding agreements, a fixed amount of funding is allocated to each province or territory with remote communities. Provinces and territories are responsible for allocating funding to specific air carriers.
- Remote communities are those that rely on air service as the only convenient year-round mode of transportation.
- There are five communities with airports or airfields in Saskatchewan which are considered distant: stony rapids, Bottom of the lake, uranium city, Wollaston Lake and Portage Camsell.
- Some communities may have limited access to seasonal ice roads or long, unreliable gravel roads.