The governments of Canada and Ontario recognize the different ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected smaller communities across the province. While moving toward recovery, investments in infrastructure in rural and northern Ontario are vital to successful, sustainable communities and their economies, officials said.
Tim Louis, member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga, on behalf of Maryam Monsef, minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development; Laurie Scott, Ontario’s minister of Infrastructure; and Les Armstrong, mayor of the Township of Wilmot, announced funding for the improvement of road and bridge infrastructure in western Ontario.
Several communities in western Ontario will benefit from 11 road and bridge projects which will increase road safety and reliability, improve the flow of traffic, and help prevent future flooding in rural communities. Investing in these projects will not only increase safety for drivers, but also for cyclists and pedestrians.
In Wilmot, for example, a one-lane bridge will be replaced with a two-lane concrete bridge which will remove height and weight restrictions, reduce risk of flooding, and increase traffic circulation. The project will include building a new foundation, abutments, and superstructure with a reinforced concrete deck and barrier walls; reconstructing roadway approaches; and applying erosion and sediment control measures.
Of the 11 projects, one project in Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, will replace several culverts, preventing road washouts and increasing the service life of the connected roadway. This project will include cleaning and re-grading ditches, relocating utilities and applying measures to prevent erosion.
The Government of Canada is investing more than $13.2 million in these 11 projects through the Rural and Northern Communities Infrastructure Stream (RNIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. The Government of Ontario is contributing over $7.5 million; while municipalities and a First Nation community are contributing over $4.3 million.
- Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
- $2 billion of this funding is supporting infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities like facilities to support food security, local access roads and enhanced broadband connectivity.
- Ontario is investing $10.2 billion under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to improve public transit; community, culture and recreation; green, and rural and northern community infrastructure.
- The Rural Economic Development Strategy leverages ongoing federal investments and provides a vision for the future, identifying practical steps to take in the short term, and serving as a foundation to guide further work.
- Central to Canada’s Connectivity Strategy are historic new investments that are mobilizing up to $6 billion toward universal connectivity. They include a top-up to the Connect to Innovate Program, a new Universal Broadband Fund, and investments from the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
- Across Ontario, the Government of Canada has invested more than $2.5 billion in infrastructure under the Investing in Canada Plan.
- On June 3, Ontario announced it was investing $150 million to launch the Improving Connectivity in Ontario program to fund broadband infrastructure projects in rural, remote and underserved regions of Ontario. This is part of the province’s $315 million initiative Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan.