Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

January 29, 2010 17:00 ET

Governments of Canada and Northwest Territories Support Study for All-Season Road From Wrigley to the Dempster Highway

YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES--(Marketwire - Jan. 29, 2010) - A new study to determine the potential for an all-season road connecting Wrigley to the Dempster Highway in the Northwest Territories will receive support thanks to investments by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT).

The federal contribution was made possible through Canada's Economic Action Plan. The territorial contribution reflected support given by Members of the 16th Legislative Assembly on February 25, 2009 for the building of the Mackenzie Valley Highway to the Arctic Coast.

The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), the Honourable Floyd Roland, Premier of the Northwest Territories, and the Honourable Michael McLeod, Minister of Transportation of the Northwest Territories, made the announcement today.

The joint contributions will support a project by the GNWT's Department of Transportation (DOT) that will help determine the feasibility of constructing an all-weather road through the Mackenzie Valley from Wrigley to the Dempster Highway near Inuvik. The project is expected to take three years to complete. CanNor will invest $3 million over two years to support the completion of the feasibility study; the GNWT will contribute an additional $4 million distributed over three years. This project complements a smaller feasibility study funded by CanNor in September 2009 on potential construction of the northern-most portion of the highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk.

"An all-weather road through the Mackenzie Valley would establish a permanent, all-season transportation corridor," said Minister Strahl, who is also Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians. "The construction of an all-season road through the Mackenzie Valley has the potential to create significant economic and employment opportunities, lower the cost of living and doing business, and improve access to natural resources for exploration and development. We look forward to the findings in this report."

"By supporting this initiative, our Government is helping to lay the foundation for future economic success in the region," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister Responsible for the North and Minister of Health. "The data collected from this important study will help determine if the construction of such a road is environmentally and economically viable."

"The Mackenzie Valley Highway has been a long standing priority for the people of the NWT," said Premier Floyd Roland. "As Governments, we are committing today to support the foundational work needed to deliver on this priority and to advance an investment in infrastructure that will serve to promote the health and well being of our residents and growth of vibrant and sustainable communities."

"The Mackenzie Valley Highway, when it is funded, designed, and completed, will open up economic development and tourism opportunities, while reducing the cost of living throughout the Mackenzie Valley," said Minister Michael McLeod. "The Project Description report being funded by our Governments today will identify the benefits and challenges that we face as we move forward on this important priority."

The GNWT's Department of Transportation (DOT) will use the joint funding ($3 million from CanNor and $4 million from the GNWT) to complete a comprehensive Project Description Report (PDR). This report will lay out potential costs, impacts, benefits and requirements of building and maintaining an all-season road from Wrigley to the Dempster Highway.

Federal funding for this initiative is being provided through CanNor's Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan. The CAF is a two-year $1 billion national program that provides economic stimulus by supporting projects that create near-term jobs in communities impacted by the global recession. Long-term economic and environmental benefits are also funding considerations. The fund will provide $32.8 million to the three territories between 2009 and 2011.

The CAF is one of a suite of economic development programs that fall under the mandate of CanNor in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut. CanNor is responsible for coordinating and delivering federal economic development activities in the territories, and for policy, research and advocacy.

For copies of CanNor news releases, visit:

Please visit these Web Sites to learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan ( and Canada's Northern Strategy (

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Michelle Yao
    Press Secretary
    Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
    (CanNor), NWT Region
    Petra White, Communications Advisor
    Office of the Honourable Premier Floyd Roland
    Drew Williams
    Press Secretary for Premier/Cabinet
    Government of the Northwest Territories