July 23, 2019 – Regina, Saskatchewan
Canadians understand the importance of building communities. They have always invested in ways to better connect with each other-from the St. Lawrence Seaway to the national railroad system to the Trans-Canada Highway. Those investments now need to reflect the increasingly digital world.
That is why the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, on behalf of the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development, today announced funding of $11.2 million for FlexNetworks to bring new or improved high-speed Internet access and capacity to 21 rural communities in Saskatchewan. In addition to the Government of Canada’s investment, FlexNetworks is contributing $3.7 million, for a total investment of $14.9 million.
The additional high-speed Internet projects in Saskatchewan are possible thanks to the top-up to the Connect to Innovate program announced in Budget 2019. As a result of this investment, residents of Amazon, Arlington Beach, Bradwell, Colesdale Park, Etters Beach, Glen Harbour, Island View, Kannata Valley, Mohr’s Beach, North Colesdale Park, Pelican Pointe, Renown, Shields, Simpson, Sorenson’s Beach, Spring Bay, Thode, Uhl’s Bay, Venn, Waterpark Estates and Zelma will be able to connect with family and friends, do business online, participate in distance education and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age.
Connect to Innovate is investing in building the digital backbone of high-speed Internet networks. Backbone networks are the digital highways that move data in and out of communities. These highways carry large amounts of data that are essential for schools, hospitals, libraries and businesses to function in a digital world.
The funding announced today builds on numerous steps the Government of Canada has taken to improve Internet access for Canadians. High-speed Internet access is essential for Canadians in rural and remote communities to thrive in the digital economy. High-Speed Access for All: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy is the Government’s plan to ensure that, over time, all Canadians will have access to affordable high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. It also commits to improving mobile wireless coverage where Canadians live and work, as well as along major highways and roads.
“We have a solid plan to connect all Canadians, no matter where they live, to fast, high-quality Internet services. For people in rural and remote areas, the federal Connect to Innovate program teams up with technology partners to bring digital opportunities for economic, educational, social and personal growth that might not otherwise exist. I’m glad to see more and more Saskatchewan communities gaining access.”
– The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“Broadband Internet service is key for the prosperity of rural Canadian communities. This project will allow residents in these 21 communities to be better connected to friends, family, school and businesses, as well as have better access to online services and tools. By providing better broadband connections, we are increasing the potential for economic growth and diversification and enhancing the quality of life in small and rural communities.”
– The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development
“FlexNetworks is excited to play a part in the Connect to Innovate program and help transform the lives of thousands of Canadians and businesses. Partnering with the Government of Canada will enable us to build a fibre-optic network that will give Saskatchewan families and businesses access to high-speed services, which are essential to communicating and being competitive.”
– Jacques Taillefer, Executive Vice President, FlexNetworks
In Budget 2019, the Government proposed historic investments of up to $6 billion for high-speed connectivity and committed to topping up Connect to Innovate as part of this funding.
Through Connect to Innovate, the Government is extending high-speed Internet service to over 900 rural and remote communities, of which 190 are Indigenous. Connect to Innovate projects have the potential to impact up to 380,000 households. Announcements on further investments will be forthcoming.
Rural Opportunity, National Prosperity: An Economic Development Strategy for Rural Canada outlines ways to maximize federal investments to improve the quality and resiliency of community infrastructure, create good jobs, support trade and investment, strengthen skills, and welcome newcomers in rural communities.
Through the $180-billion Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, Canada’s rural and northern communities are benefiting from the renewal of public infrastructure, which includes investments in roads, bridges and highways; water treatment systems; cleaner, more affordable sources of electricity; stormwater systems; and natural barriers that reduce the risk of flooding brought on by extreme weather events.
- $2 billion of this funding is supporting infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities; and
- $400 million is being delivered through the Arctic Energy Fund to deliver cleaner, more affordable electricity to residents living in Canada’s territories.