The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on remote communities that depend on small air carriers for essential goods, services, and for access in and out of the community. As the pandemic continues to evolve, the Government of Canada is working with partners, including provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous partners, and the air industry to address the unique needs of these communities.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, and the British Columbia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Honourable Rob Fleming, announced a new agreement with the Government of British Columbia to support essential air access to remote communities in the province.
The Government of Canada is contributing up to $2,176,000 for air services to remote communities to cover the period of July 1 to December 31, 2020.
Under this agreement, the Government of British Columbia allocates the funding to air operators to ensure the continued supply of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods and services to these communities. The B.C. Aviation Council is providing guidance to the Government of British Columbia on the allocation of the funds.
“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. This agreement with the Government of British Columbia will allow for reliable air services to keep remote communities in British Columbia connected to the rest of the country.”
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
“We know that COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact on many of our sectors, including the aviation sector. We would like to thank the Government of Canada for their contribution which will help smaller air carriers through these difficult times, and help support essential access to smaller, remote communities.”
The Honourable Rob Fleming
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Government of British Columbia
Additional funding may be provided and will depend on the needs of communities and the pace of recovery of air travel into remote communities.
Remote communities are those that rely on air service as the only year-round mode of transportation.
There are four communities with airports or aerodromes in British Columbia which are considered remote.
Some communities may have limited access to seasonal ice roads or long and unreliable gravel roads.