Canada to deliver $570M in infrastructure funding to N.W.T.

Canada and the Northwest Territories have opened the door for more than $570 million in federal infrastructure funding to start flowing into the territory.

Funds first announced in 2017, will be available over 10 years

N.W.T. Infrastructure Minister Wally Schumann, left, and federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi signed a bilateral agreement at the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly on Wednesday that makes $570 million in infrastructure funding available to the territory over the next 10 years. (Mario De Ciccio/CBC)

Canada and the Northwest Territories have opened the door for more than $570 million in federal infrastructure funding to start flowing into the territory.

N.W.T. Infrastructure Minister Wally Schumann and federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi signed a bilateral agreement on Wednesday that makes the money available.

The funds were first announced in the 2017 federal budget, according to Sohi's press secretary, Brook Simpson, and will be available over the next 10 years.

"Small jurisdictions like the Northwest Territories are still playing catch-up to southern Canada," said Schumann. "The $570 million announcement here today will have a long-lasting impact on our territory."

The money will be made available through four different project streams: public transit; green infrastructure; community, culture and recreation infrastructure; and rural and northern communities infrastructure.

The federal government is responsible for providing 75 per cent of the total funding for those projects — the $570 million — while the N.W.T. will provide the other 25 per cent — about $190 million, according to the N.W.T. government. That brings the combined funding total to around $760 million.

From left, N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod, N.W.T. Infrastructure Minister Wally Schumann, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi and N.W.T. Municipal and Community Affairs Minister Caroline Cochrane at the Legislative Assembly for the signing of the bilateral agreement on infrastructure funding. (Mario De Ciccio/CBC)

Applicants who are approved to receive the federal infrastructure funding for their projects — such as N.W.T. communities — would be required to pay the 25 per cent share of the cost. However, that community could use money they receive from the N.W.T. government in order to do so.

The N.W.T. government said it expects to identify some of these projects by the spring, and start rolling them out within the 2018/19 fiscal year.

Wednesday's announcement is part of the federal government's 12-year, $180-billion Investing In Canada infrastructure plan.

Canada is signing bilateral agreements with each of the provinces and territories across the country, which will allocate more than $33 billion to infrastructure projects across the country.

The N.W.T. is the first of the provinces and territories to sign such an agreement.

"This announcement represents the importance of hard work and partnership in delivering a plan that will make a real difference to Canadians from coast to coast to coast," said Sohi.

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