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Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, January 5, 2017 A thriving economy needs strategic investments in transportation infrastructure to keep people and goods moving efficiently. Investing in modern transportation infrastructure also helps create jobs and improve the quality of life of Northerners. The governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories today announced $20 million in funding for the construction of a 14 kilometre all-season access road from Norman Wells to Canyon Creek. The project also includes the construction of 5 kilometres of roads surrounding Canyon Creek. This investment will bring many benefits to local communities. It will improve the ability to transport goods and equipment throughout the area, while helping to open new business development opportunities in the Sahtu Region. The expanded road network will also provide increased reliability for shipments of essential supplies, and easier access to traditional hunting and fishing areas. Residents, businesses and contractors in the Hamlet of Tulita and the Town of Norman Wells will particularly benefit from the related business and employment opportunities. In addition, through training, this project will increase the capacity of local people and businesses to service future construction projects. Quotes "Safe and efficient roadways are crucial to encouraging economic activity, facilitating trade, and creating good paying, middle class jobs for the people across the Northwest Territories and here, in Norman Wells. This new access road and related road improvements will help the residents in the Sahtu region access employment opportunities, build new construction skills, and get to and from traditional hunting and fishing locations, while meeting the transportation needs of area businesses. The Government of Canada will continue to work in close partnership with the Territory to ensure that we make smart infrastructure investments that help grow the economy and address local infrastructure priorities." Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Northwest TerritoriesOn behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities "Making sure Northerners have access to good, middle class jobs needs to be a priority for our governments. Delivering on that will require a clear vision for the North and a commitment to invest in the NWT and its people. Investments in transportation infrastructure, like the Canyon Creek all-season access road, are one part of how the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories can work together to support economic sustainability and job creation in Northern communities and in the Sahtu Region specifically." The Honourable Wally Schumann,Minister of TransportationGovernment of the Northwest Territories Quick facts The Canyon Creek access road will be another step towards the construction of the Mackenzie Valley Highway; it will replace the existing winter road that is constructed annually between Norman Wells and Canyon Creek. This project will offer training opportunities for approximately 12 trainees and 16 heavy equipment operators, and employment opportunities for 50 people during the construction and road improvements. The Government of Canada is providing up to $15 million to this project through the Small Communities Fund. The Government of the Northwest Territories is providing the remaining $5 million for this project. The Government of Canada will provide more than $180 billion in infrastructure funding over 12 years for public transit, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, transportation that supports trade, and Canada's rural and northern communities. Associated Links Government of Canada's $180-billion+ infrastructure plan. Federal infrastructure investments in the Northwest Territories. Small Communities Fund. New Building Canada Plan. Contacts Brook Simpson Press Secretary Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities 613-219-0149brook.simpson@Canada.ca Greg Hanna Communications Coordinator Department of Transportation Government of the Northwest Territories 867-767-9082 ext. 31046 Cell: 867-445-8487greg_hanna@gov.nt.ca @GNWT_DOT Infrastructure Canada 613-960-9251 Toll free: 1-877-250-7154infc.media-medias.infc@canada.ca Twitter: @INFC_eng Web: Infrastructure Canada
Delivered on November 23, 2016 Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am very pleased to be here this afternoon to provide the Committee with some perspectives from the Government of the Northwest Territories on areas where we believe the Northwest Territories can make significant contributions to the overall national objectives related to green energy, support for economic growth and development, and the knowledge based economy. I would like to begin by speaking about some opportunities in the Northwest Territories that we believe will provide benefits for the residents of the Northwest Territories and for Canada. Specifically, I would like to share with the Committee the Government of the Northwest Territories’ areas of priority where we think we can develop productive and cooperative partnerships with the Government of Canada. The first priority is Phase 1 of the Taltson hydroelectricity expansion project. This project would see the expansion of the existing Taltson hydroelectric system in the southeast area of the Northwest Territories. The project includes a 60 megawatt expansion of the Taltson hydro site and the construction of a 200-kilometre transmission line to Saskatchewan. This project is a potential game changer for the NWT and for Canada in increasing the availability of clean, renewable power. By connecting NWT hyrdo – currently stranded – to the national energy grid through Saskatchewan, we could help reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 360,000 tonnes annually over several decades, given  the expected life of the facility. That is a big step towards achieving national climate change priorities and living up to the terms of the Vancouver Declaration. The expansion would rely on existing water storage with no new flooding to generate on going revenues. And as a territory where Aboriginal partnerships are part of  our daily reality, this project would be built in partnership with Aboriginal governments, creating economic opportunities for them and Aboriginal-owned businesses across the NWT. Mr. Chair, the benefits of this power project are significant. It is a project that can create economic opportunities both locally and nationally, support and provide benefit to the Aboriginal people, and meet national objectives of transitioning to a clean growth economy. We believe the Taltson expansion is the project that can accomplish these many objectives. Our second priority is focused on innovative renewable energy solutions for remote Northern communities that currently rely on expensive, carbon-intensive diesel for power. Mr. Chair, standalone diesel generation is the only source of power for 25 of the Northwest Territories’ 33 communities. This situation is costly from both an economic and environmental perspective. The Government of the Northwest Territories has been advancing solutions to this issue for over a decade now and what we have today are the best, most innovative solutions for addressing diesel-generated power use in Canada’s remote north. Like many of our priorities, this one involves several approaches designed to respond to the unique demands of our many communities and includes a wind energy project in Inuvik, high penetration solar projects in 15 off-grid communities and a hydro transmission line to Fort Providence. The Inuvik Wind Project includes the development of up to 4 megawatts of wind energy and a 10 kilometre transmission line to the Town of Inuvik. We estimate that this project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4,300 tonnes per year and will eliminate the need for 1.3 million litres of diesel annually in the largest diesel community in the Northwest Territories. It is a ground-breaking project  which would be the first large scale wind project north of the Arctic Circle in Canada and an example of what could be used to transition many   communities that rely on diesel generated power to low-carbon renewable power sources. As well, the knowledge and expertise acquired through this project could prove to be valuable to other circumpolar countries. The second solution includes the installation of high penetration solar with batteries or efficient variable speed generators in 15 diesel-powered communities in the Northwest Territories. Batteries and variable generators are the only way to significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions in remote communities, and can achieve diesel and GHG emission reductions of 20 to 25% as opposed to the 2 to 4% from solar alone. We have already demonstrated the success of this approach with the installation of high penetration solar with batteries in two high Arctic communities - the communities of Colville Lake and Aklavik. Reproducing this success in 15 additional communities in the NWT would provide annual greenhouse gas reductions of 2,600 tonnes per year, improve energy security for these communities, and advance our national goal to reduce our reliance on diesel power generation. The third solution within this infrastructure priority is the construction of a transmission line to connect Fort Providence – one of the NWT’s larger diesel communities – to the Taltson hydroelectric system. Making use of existing highway corridors, this transmission line will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4,900 tonnes per year and permanently supply renewable power to the community. And by accessing existing hydropower, the project will provide a reliable renewable energy source without the intermittence of wind or solar. Collectively these projects reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower the cost of living and demonstrate innovative solutions for off-grid diesel communities in Canada’s remote North. Reducing our dependency on diesel energy systems will shrink territorial emissions and will have real and positive impacts on the high cost of living and the territorial economy. The Government of the Northwest Territories continues to demonstrate our commitment to the development of renewable energy technologies and will continue to adopt and advance these technologies now and in future years. The final priority area I’d like to talk about is the construction of all-weather road infrastructure for adapting to climate change impacts. As the Premier indicated at the beginning of our presentation, inadequate transportation links are a challenge for NWT communities. Currently, only 33 percent of the land area of the NWT is within 100 kilometres of all-weather road, and only 12 of our 33 communities have uninterrupted access via the all-weather highway system. Climate change is greatly affecting the reliability of these winter roads, particularly at vulnerable ice crossings. New road corridor projects such as the Mackenzie Valley Highway and Slave Geological Province Access Corridor will mitigate impacts of climate change, connect our communities to each other and the rest of Canada, and increase the safety, reliability, and resiliency of the transportation system. At the same time, these new links would also enable new trade opportunities and economic prosperity. The final report of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) Review Panel recommended federal investment in northern transportation corridors, including the Mackenzie Valley Highway Corridor and Slave Geological Province Access. During the federal government’s engagement on the findings of the report, the GNWT and other NWT stakeholders indicated their strong support for the federal government’s timely implementation of these recommendations, which would have a long lasting impact on the North. The Mackenzie Valley Highway Corridor will connect several NWT communities to the public highway system and provide reliable access to a wealth of petroleum and mineral resources. Substantial planning work has already been completed. Priority components of this project include construction of the Bear River Bridge, engineering and environmental studies for the remaining Wrigley to Norman Wells phases, and construction of the Tulita to Norman Wells segment, including completion of environmental assessment activities. The Slave Geological Province is the site of the NWT’s existing diamond mines and still contains a wealth of untapped mineral potential. However, climate change has resulted in shortened operating seasons for the existing winter road serving the region and this has resulted in significant transportation costs and operational difficulties for mining developments. An all-weather corridor into the region would eliminate these difficulties, lowering the costs of exploration and development for industry, and supporting the NWT in reaching its full economic potential. Construction of the portion of the proposed corridor that is below the tree line is the highest priority, where the seasonal ice crossings on various lakes are increasingly vulnerable due to the impacts of climate change, resulting in increased costs and shorter seasons for operation of the winter road. Mr. Chair, these priority areas build on innovative work that the Government of the Northwest Territories has already been doing, and I would like to take a moment to highlight a few areas that should be of interest to the Committee. First, we are very pleased that this winter will see the completion of the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link. This fibre optic line will cover more than 1,100 kilometres and will bring state of the art, high speed fibre optic communication to small remote communities along the Mackenzie Valley. This will support economic development and diversification opportunities for our residents and give the GNWT innovative new ways to deliver programs and services like health and education services to smaller communities. In addition to these benefits, the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link will provide a high speed connection to the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, supporting near real time transfer of Canadian and international satellite data. For those that are unaware, the recently commissioned satellite ground station at Inuvik has the potential to become the largest receiving station in the world for a rapidly growing number of polar orbiting remote sensing satellites. The data received from these satellites is used for environmental monitoring, northern science, sustainable resource development, climate change, security and surveillance, particularly for Canada’s vast Arctic regions. Real-time delivery of this data over the high speed fibre link will significantly increase the capabilities of the government and private sector users of it. Natural Resources Canada, the Swedish Space Agency, the German Space Agency, the Norwegian Space Agency and private companies already have dishes at the Inuvik Satellite Station. We expect over the next twenty years the number of satellite dishes at Inuvik could increase to about twenty-five. I am sure you would share our vision of Inuvik becoming a hub for research and the potential that the satellite station has, along with the fibre link project, to provide a variety of economic opportunities in the North. Mr. Chair as has been noted, the Northwest Territories has a particular interest in renewable energy. While we are concerned about greenhouse gas emissions, we are also very motivated to reduce the use of fossil fuels, where practical to do so, because fuels such as diesel and gasoline are prohibitively expensive; and so for many years GNWT has invested millions of dollars into energy projects with a focus on displacing imported fossil fuels. The GNWT has led efforts to reduce emissions through energy efficiency, and by using low carbon heating sources such as wood pellets. This extends to our own assets, and by 2017-18, nearly 20% of GNWT heating for facilities like offices, schools and health centers will be provided through the use of biomass. Overall, our electricity system is powered mainly by hydroelectricity. In an average year over 75% of community electricity is produced using renewable hydroelectricity. The Northwest Territories is second in Canada in installed solar PV capacity per capita. In a territory that is dark for significant parts of the year, this speaks to our openness to innovation. Speaking of innovation, I would be remiss if I did not note the work on the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway. This highway is 138 kilometres long and is a testament to the partnerships between the federal and territorial governments and to the need to use leading edge science and innovation to complete these types of projects. In order to complete the highway construction and protect the permafrost along the highway alignment, typical ‘cut and fill’ techniques that are normally used in southern areas of the Northwest Territories and elsewhere could not be used for this project. These traditional construction methods cut into protective layers of surface vegetation and organics, with the possible results of a thawing in the permafrost below. To protect the permafrost our design used only fills. Geotextile fabric was placed between the existing ground and the construction materials along the entire highway. The bulk of construction activities also took place during the winter months to preserve the permafrost.  Also important is that the completion of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway will enable the extension of the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link to Tuktoyaktuk. Mr. Chair, self-reliance has made Northerners innovative people and the Government of the Northwest Territories is eager to share the benefits of our innovation with Canada and the world. With the partnership of the Government of Canada, we think that we can capitalize on the innovative work that we have already done to adapt to climate change, reduce the cost of living and  transition to renewable energy sources to create increased benefits for the people of the Northwest Territories and help achieve national objectives. We look forward to working with our federal partners to continue to make progress and to achieve our shared objectives. Thank you, Mr. Chair.      
Delivered on November 22, 2016 Good morning, my name is Wally Schumann and I am the Minister of Transportation, Public Works and Services, and Industry Tourism and Investment for the Government of the Northwest Territories. It is an honour to serve in this role recognizing the significant part that infrastructure plays in the success of our residents, our communities, our businesses, and the future prosperity of the Northwest Territories. The Government of the Northwest Territories is challenged to connect communities in a jurisdiction with a small but widely dispersed population over a large land mass of almost 1.2 million square kilometres. The transportation system is aging and underdeveloped, and many infrastructure priorities compete for limited resources. Currently, only 33 percent of the land area of the NWT is within 100 kilometres of all-weather road, and only 12 of our 33 communities have uninterrupted access via the all-weather highway system. The effects of the NWT’s infrastructure deficit continue to worsen with the impacts of climate change, which challenge the safety and reliability of northern transportation networks. Climate change is being felt in the North more strongly than anywhere else in the world and our vulnerability to the impacts is worsened by the limited number of all-weather roads and our reliance on seasonal infrastructure such as winter roads. As such, infrastructure investments are critical to the development of our territory. Expanding the NWT transportation system will help us connect residents to new social and employment opportunities, reduce the cost of living in the territory, increase our resiliency and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and provide better access to natural resources. In 2015, the Department of Transportation released a 25-year NWT Transportation Strategy entitled Connecting Us. This document identifies a vision of “Northerners connected to opportunities” and the Department has set three key objectives for achieving this vision. These include: Strengthening Connections by continuing to improve the existing transportation system, Capturing Opportunities by expanding the transportation system, and Embracing Innovation to increase our resiliency to challenges including climate change. This Strategy directly supports the mandate of the Northwest Territories’ 18th Legislative Assembly, which recognizes the importance of securing funding for transportation infrastructure investments. Three new critical transportation corridors were proposed under the Strategy and the Government of the Northwest Territories is taking steps to advance these critical road projects - the Mackenzie Valley Highway, Tlicho all-season road, and Slave Geological Province Access Corridor. Each of the three proposed NWT transportation corridor projects will help us capture opportunities to the benefit of NWT residents and all Canadians. Today I would like to provide an update on these key strategic transportation corridors we are advancing. Construction of an all-weather highway up the Mackenzie Valley to the Arctic coast has been a longstanding priority of the Government of the Northwest Territories. The northernmost section of this highway, known as the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway has been under construction since 2013 and last season a significant milestone was achieved as the north and south sides of the project met for the first time. The fourth and final full season of construction has just started, with the highway expected to open to traffic in fall 2017. The completion of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway will establish a land based connection across Canada from coast to coast to coast for the first time.  This historic event, which will take place during the year we celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, would not have been possible without significant investment by the federal government. At the same time as we are preparing to finish one section of the Mackenzie Valley Highway, the Government of the Northwest Territories has turned its attention to advancing construction of the next section from Wrigley to Norman Wells.  The Government of the Northwest Territories is working with the regional Aboriginal government, the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, to advance the project. A business case for $700 million to construct the section between Wrigley and Norman Wells was submitted to the federal government under the National Infrastructure Fund of the New Building Canada Plan in 2015.  This past summer, the federal government advised that review of this proposal had been suspended until after engagement on the Canada Transportation Act Review Report and Phase 2 of the infrastructure funding plan has been completed. Since then, the Government of the Northwest Territories has kept busy advancing planning and regulatory processes on the project. Four construction phases of the project have been identified, with construction of the Bear River Bridge as the first priority component.  The impacts of climate change are already being felt in the Mackenzie Valley, and the construction of this bridge would immediately extend the winter road season in this region, improving connections with remote northern communities.  The Government of the Northwest Territories has also been working with its partners in the Tłįchǫ̨ Government to advance a 97 kilometre all-season road to the community of Whatì. The all-season road will provide year-round access to residents of Whatì while significantly increasing the length of the operating season for winter roads serving two nearby communities, helping address a key climate change impact in this region. The road will also improve access for resource exploration and development, and will increase investor confidence to continue developing the region’s economic potential.  This corridor will also support Canadian innovation in the green technologies of the future, as this region is host to world-class metals and minerals including cobalt and bismuth, which are critical commodities required in the manufacture of clean energy products such as solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electronic vehicles. A funding application for the project has been submitted to P3 Canada. Our officials continue to work with the federal government to provide any additional information they may require as we await a final decision from Canada.  We are hoping to receive positive news in this regard in the near future. An environmental assessment on the project is now underway and the Government of the Northwest Territories is working with the Tłįchǫ̨ Government and the community of Whatì to fulfill all environmental requirements. Finally, the Government of the Northwest Territories is working to improve all-weather access into the Slave Geological Province corridor, which holds world class deposits of base metals, precious metals, and diamonds.  This is an important geographic region for Canada’s mining industry, which continues to be the most significant contributor to the NWT economy. Reducing operating and exploration costs by providing reliable access for industry to move goods, equipment, and people will boost development and exploration and encourage further investment in a region where there is still significant untapped mineral wealth. A corridor providing the greatest economic benefit has been chosen based on the results of a mineral potential and routing study, and a business cases assessment of this corridor is underway. Completion of the business case assessment will allow the Government of the Northwest Territories to make a better estimate of construction costs for the road and determine an appropriate funding model An all-weather highway into the region also holds the potential of connecting the NWT highway system to a deep-water port in western Nunavut, therefore offering significant possibilities for a strengthened sustainable development partnership with the governments of Nunavut and Canada and our Aboriginal partners. This project is also a priority for the Government of Nunavut, and a working group with the Government of Nunavut has been established to advance the project in both jurisdictions. The Government of the Northwest Territories has identified several project phases.  The most critical of these is the first portion from Tibbitt Lake, at the commencement of the current winter road, and extending to Lockhart Lake.  This portion of the road lies below the treeline and is heavily impacted by the effects of climate change, resulting in increased costs and reduced access to this all-important region of the NWT. Undertaking environmental studies and finalizing engineering and design work are the next critical steps to advancing the project in the NWT. In 2016, the federal government made several important announcements regarding improving Canadian infrastructure, many of which came just this fall. There is currently significant opportunity for our two governments to partner in making a long-lasting impact on infrastructure in the North. Significant recommendations for the North were made in the final report of the Canada Transportation Act Review Panel in February of this year. These included increasing the base level of funding in federal infrastructure for the three territories, investing $50 million per year over ten years to facilitate improvements to northern airports, and funding to support dredging at the Port of Hay River and marine infrastructure on the Mackenzie River and Arctic coast. Additionally, this report recommended federal investment in all three priority NWT transportation corridors. The Government of the Northwest Territories provided a written submission to the Minister of Transport Canada, indicating our full support for implementation of all recommendations supporting NWT infrastructure and transportation systems across the North and strongly encouraged the timely enactment of these recommendations to maximize benefits to Northerners and all Canadians. Based on its engagements on the report in the North, the federal government announced in the Transportation 2030 Plan that it intends to address the lack of basic transportation infrastructure in the North. The Government of the Northwest Territories is pleased with this announcement and believes that progress can be made with funding identified for trade and transportation corridors under Canada’s Long-term Infrastructure Plan. Small jurisdictions like the NWT are still playing catch-up and require basic highway infrastructure to connect our communities and provide opportunities for economic growth. Per capita funding puts the NWT at a disadvantage, making significant and dedicated base funding critical. We believe that the NWT has significant untapped economic potential that can benefit all Canadians and the key to unlocking these valuable resources starts with efficient and effective transportation access. In addition, the $2 billion identified by the federal government for small, rural, remote or northern communities can help improve connectivity, build capacity, and capture opportunities for NWT residents. Under the new Ocean Protection Plan, there is an opportunity to improve the NWT marine system by upgrading and expanding marine infrastructure necessary for community resupply operations. Currently, twelve NWT communities rely on marine services for delivery of essential resupply and cargo. Improvements to navigation aids and improving Coast Guard capacity in the Arctic will improve safe and efficient marine operations. Improved spill response will help protect the pristine quality of the NWT environment. Funding for climate change research and development is still needed to allow us to support a more resilient transportation system in the NWT and protect our most valuable infrastructure assets. Adaptation is becoming more and more important as the impacts of climate change continue to be felt more strongly in the North than anywhere else in the world. In addition to investments in transportation infrastructure, there are other priority areas where we think we can develop productive and cooperative partnerships with the Government of Canada. The first of these is the expansion of the existing Taltson hydroelectric system in the southeast area of the Northwest Territories. The project includes a 60 megawatt expansion of the Taltson hydro site and the construction of a 200-kilometre transmission line to Saskatchewan. This project has the potential to reduce emissions in Saskatchewan by providing a green energy corridor to our southern neighbours. In the context of the work stemming from the Vancouver Declaration, the expansion of the Taltson hydro site would help reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 360,000 tonnes annually, conceivably a permanent reduction as this infrastructure is maintained over generations. In addition, the expansion would rely on existing water storage with no new flooding to generate on going revenue stream. And this project would be built in partnership with Aboriginal governments, creating economic opportunities for Aboriginal-owned businesses across the NWT. The benefits of this power project are significant. It is a project that can create economic opportunities both locally and nationally, support and provide benefit to the Aboriginal peoples of the Canada, and meet national objectives of transitioning to a clean growth economy. Another priority area for us relates to advancing solutions to address the dependency on diesel generated power in the north.   Currently, standalone diesel generation is the prime source of power for 25 of the 33 communities in the Northwest Territories. This situation is costly from both an economic and environmental perspective, and we have developed what we believe are the best, most innovative solutions for addressing diesel-generated power use in Canada’s remote North. This infrastructure priority consists of three smaller scale renewable and alternative energy projects: the Inuvik Wind Project, High Penetration Solar, and the transmission line to Fort Providence. The Inuvik Wind Project is the development of up to 4 megawatts of wind energy and a 10 km transmission line to the Town of Inuvik. It is estimated that the Inuvik Wind Project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4,300 tonnes per year and will eliminate the need for 1.3 million litres of diesel annually in the largest diesel community in the Northwest Territories. It is a ground-breaking project which would be the first large scale wind project north of the Arctic Circle in Canada and an example of what could be used to transition many communities that rely on diesel generated power to low-carbon renewable power sources. As well, the knowledge and expertise acquired through this project could prove to be valuable to other circumpolar countries. The second solution includes the installation of high penetration solar with batteries or efficient variable speed generators in 15 diesel-powered communities in the Northwest Territories. Batteries and variable generators are the only way to significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions in remote communities, and can achieve diesel and emission reductions of 20 to 25% as opposed to the 2 to 4% from solar alone. The notable aspect of this renewable energy solution is that the installation of high penetration solar with batteries has already been successfully demonstrated in two high Arctic communities - the communities of Colville Lake and Aklavik. Reproducing this success in 15 additional communities in the NWT would provide annual greenhouse gas reductions of 2,600 tonnes per year, improve energy security for these communities, and advance our national goal to reduce our reliance on diesel power generation. The third solution within this infrastructure priority is the construction of a transmission line to connect Fort Providence – one of the Northwest Territories’ larger diesel communities – to the Taltson hydroelectric system. Making use of existing highway corridors, this transmission line will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4,900 tonnes per year and permanently supply renewable power to the community. And by accessing existing hydropower, the project will provide a reliable renewable energy source without the intermittence of wind or solar. Mr. Chair, collectively these projects reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower the cost of living and demonstrate innovative solutions for off-grid diesel communities in Canada’s remote North. Reducing our dependency on diesel energy systems will shrink territorial emissions and will have real and positive impacts on the high cost of living and the territorial economy. The Government of the Northwest Territories continues to demonstrate our commitment to the development of renewable energy technologies and will continue to adopt and advance these technologies now and in future years. We look forward to working with our federal partners to make critical infrastructure investments in the Northwest Territories that support a prosperous future for Northerners and all Canadians. Thank you.      
Delivered on November 22, 2016 Thank you for meeting with the Government of the Northwest Territories this afternoon. We are in Ottawa this week to speak with the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and Standing Committees about some of the most significant challenges facing the people of the Northwest Territories today. Before we get to that presentation, I would like to take a few minutes to talk a little bit about our territory. Community sustainability is a huge challenge for the people of the Northwest Territories. Our 44,000 residents live in 33 communities that stretch from the southern border with the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta to Banks Island in the Arctic Ocean. Our biggest community is Yellowknife, with approximately 21,000 people, while our smallest community is Kakisa with fewer than 50. Twenty-seven of our communities have fewer than 1,000 people and 16 of these have fewer than 500 people. Small populations, large distances and long winters make living in the North extremely expensive and challenge the capacity of governments to deliver basic programs and services. Infrastructure is a significant component of that challenge. Only 12 of the Northwest Territories’ 33 communities have year-round road access to southern Canada and four of them can only be reached by air or water. Although the Northwest Territories has substantial hydroelectricity potential, only eight NWT communities are powered by hydro. The remaining 25 are powered by standalone diesel generators. At the same time, the Northwest Territories is experiencing the effects of climate change at a faster pace than southern Canada. In Inuvik, the annual average temperature has already risen by four degrees Celsius since the 1950s, while in the southern part of the Northwest Territories we are already experiencing annual temperature increases of two degrees Celsius. Climate change is resulting in coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, landslides, increased snow loads to buildings and drought. Building techniques have had to adapt, resulting in more complicated and costly public infrastructure projects. At the same time, transportation of people and goods is being disrupted as permafrost degradation contributes to uneven roads and runways. Shorter winter road and marine operating seasons as a result of warmer temperatures result in incomplete or more costly community resupply. These demands contribute to an approximately $3.5 billion infrastructure demand for the GNWT. On top of that community governments face a municipal infrastructure deficit of $23 million and $50 million for housing. Addressing the Northwest Territories’ infrastructure needs is imperative for community sustainability and for ensuring our residents can enjoy the same standard of living and quality of life as their fellow Canadians. We must bring down the high cost of living in a territory where, in 2015, residents of Uluhaktok paid $8.25 for a 540 mL tin of tomatoes and residents of Fort McPherson paid $7.85 for a single litre of milk. We must find alternatives to expensive and carbon intensive diesel that contributes to high prices for goods and services and to climate change. We must invest in resilient, year-round transportation infrastructure, replacing winter roads and ice crossings with more permanent structures that aren’t susceptible to the effects of climate change. We must take steps together to protect the biodiversity and ecological integrity of a unique ecosystem that is critical to the health of the planet. While our government has done much already – we are second in Canada in installed solar photovoltaic power and a national leader in wood pellet use per capita – we recognize that more can be done, especially with the partnership of the federal government. The Government of the Northwest Territories has identified three broad priorities that we think can bring about transformative change for the people of the Northwest Territories, while also contributing significantly to national climate change objectives. I’d now like to turn you over to Minister Wally Schumann, who will provide more detail about these three priorities.
YELLOWKNIFE (November 16, 2016) – November 16 is the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims in Canada.  Since 2007, citizens, support groups and road and safety officials have joined together on this day across Canada to remember crash victims, and to recognize that ‘safe driving saves lives.’ According to the 2014 Transport Canada statistics, on average, five people die on Canada’s roads each day.  Almost 1,900 people are killed each year, and nearly 149,000 are injured. The prevalence of drug impaired driving is now rivaling alcohol impaired driving, while distracted driving is a growing safety concern across Canada. The following high risk factors can contribute to collisions and are all preventable: Driving impaired: Alcohol, drugs Speeding and/or aggressive driving Driver distraction ( e.g.: texting, cell phone use) and/or fatigue Road crashes impact everyone. Victims, families and friends suffer the losses first hand, but so do entire communities. It can only take a moment to lose everything, and an entire life’s worth of memories can be gone because of a road crash. For more on the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, visit roadcrashvictims.ca. 

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