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Ottawa – The federal government has said it broadly agrees with a Senate committee report arguing for the creation of a national trade corridor in Canada’s North.

The Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce’s June 2017 report, National Corridor: Enhancing and facilitating commerce and internal trade, noted that inadequate east-west transportation infrastructure limits the extent to which Canadian exporters can access tidewater.

Meanwhile, sluggish regulatory approval processes impede the development of major transportation infrastructure projects even as a lack of ports in and routes to Canada’s North inhibit northern development and the movement of goods to international markets.

In a November response to the report, federal transport minister Marc Garneau said the government “agrees with the committee’s finding that improving national transportation and communication networks will encourage economic growth and facilitate exports.”

The minister also endorsed the committee’s finding that Indigenous peoples’ early participation in these sorts of infrastructure projects is critical to success.

While the government did not explicitly pledge money to researchers who have been studying the potential for a trade corridor in Canada’s North — as the committee had recommended — the minister noted these parties can apply for grants from the National Trade Corridors Fund, which was launched shortly after the release of the committee’s report to address Canada’s long-term infrastructure needs. The committee encourages this application to be made so that further and necessary background work can be undertaken.

Senators on the banking committee will continue to urge the government to play a leadership role in moving forward with a national trade corridor.

Quick Facts

  • The national trade corridor report arose from the committee’s investigation of interprovincial trade barriers, which identified the need for improved transportation infrastructure.
  • The work of University of Calgary researchers, in collaboration with the Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations also informed the committee’s study through a northern corridor proposal presented presented in a May 2016 paper.


“A national corridor is a key requirement for economic development in the 21st century. It will provide pipeline, rail, road and telecommunication connections from Labrador to Prince Rupert. It will link major resource developments and provide access to world markets for Canadian resources.”

- Senator Doug Black, QC, Chair of the committee.


“The scope of this project is ambitious and will require years of careful management and stable funding. But the legacy it could leave — a more connected and prosperous Canada as well as lasting partnerships with Indigenous groups — should be reason enough to move ahead.”

- Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen, Deputy Chair of the committee.

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For more information, please contact:
Sonia Noreau
Public Relations Officer
Communications Directorate
Senate of Canada

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