First Air to expand cargo warehouse at Iqaluit International Airport

The Government of Canada supports infrastructure projects that create quality middle-class jobs and boost economic growth.

Photo of outside of terminal building
Iqaluit International Airport underwent a $300 million refurbishment last year that included a new terminal building and several other features. Brian Tattuinee Photo
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Enhancing the northern transportation system supports and promotes economic growth and social development, offers job opportunities, and ensures greater connectivity for Northerners.

On May 16, 2018, Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and Member of Parliament for Labrador, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced an investment of more than $35 million for two projects to improve the flow of supplies to northern communities, support economic opportunities, and enhance travel in remote communities by upgrading airport infrastructure.

The first project consists of building an expanded cargo warehouse operated by First Air at the Iqaluit airport.

Additional capacity will strengthen this vital north/south transportation corridor to maintain an effective and stable supply chain to Canada’s North.

The expanded warehouse will increase capacity by approximately 75 per cent for climate-controlled dry goods and refrigerated products to reduce spoiled and damaged goods due to weather delays.

The new warehouse will incorporate state-of-the-art technology such as radio frequency identification and aircraft freight container.

High efficiency building systems will reduce the carbon footprint of the operation.

This project is expected to have significant economic and employment benefits for northerners, creating an estimated 120 jobs during construction.

The second project involves replacing outdated and undersized airport terminal buildings in the five communities of Kugluktuk, Naujaat, Kimmirut, Whale Cove and Chesterfield Inlet.

The project involves engineering design, construction of new energy efficient buildings to reduce the carbon footprint and demolition of the old buildings. This project is expected to have significant economic and employment benefits by creating an estimated 220 jobs during construction.

Projects being funded will:

  • address the unique transportation needs in Canada’s territorial North to improve safety and foster economic and social development;
  • support economic activity and the physical movement of goods or people in Canada;
  • help the transportation system withstand the effects of climate change and make sure it is able to support new technologies and innovation;
    address transportation bottlenecks and congestion along Canada’s trade corridors; and
  • increase the fluidity of Canadian trade around the world through our ports, airports, roads, railways, intermodal facilities, bridges and border crossings.

Provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous groups, not-for-profit and for-profit private-sector organizations, federal Crown Corporations, Canadian Port Authorities, and National Airport System Airport Authorities are all eligible for funding under the National Trade Corridors Fund.

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“Transportation and distribution of goods are a vital part of our local, regional and national economies. The investment announced here today makes our transportation system stronger by addressing urgent capacity constraints at First Air operations and at five airports in Nunavut and fosters long-term prosperity for our community,” said Jones.

“Our government is investing in Canada’s economy by making improvements to our trade and transportation corridors. We are supporting projects that will efficiently move commercial goods to market and people to their destinations, stimulate economic growth, create quality middle-class jobs, and ensure that Canada’s transportation networks remain competitive and efficient,” said Garneau.

Quick Facts

  • In many northern communities, air transport is the only year-round means of moving people and goods. Air transport provides a crucial link to essential services and work opportunities that are often not available within the community;
  • The First Air project will improve the essential cargo transportation in Nunavut while the replacement of airport terminals project will improve the efficiency and safety of essential transportation in five remote communities in Nunavut and support economic and social development of northern Canadians;
  • The National Trade Corridors Fund is designed to allow the government to address the most important capacity constraints and freight bottlenecks on a national and system-wide basis, which includes Canada’s territorial North.

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