Federal budget bringing high-speed internet to northern, rural communities

The federal government is investing $305 million over five years to get 280,000 Canadians living in rural and northern communities on high-speed, broadband networks, according to the federal budget unveiled Tuesday.

NORTHERN ISSUES

BUDGET 2014

APTN National News
OTTAWA–The federal government is investing $305 million over five years to get 280,000 Canadians living in rural and northern communities on high-speed, broadband networks, according to the federal budget unveiled Tuesday.

Details of the broadband investment will be released in the coming months, according to the budget document.

The broadband initiative was one of several targeting northern communities in the budget.

Ottawa will also be continuing in its attempts to map out the country’s claim over the continental shelf which includes the North Pole. Canada filed a submission under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in December to secure rights over 1.2 million square kilometres of the continental shelf. The budget document said that the government is “developing options” to secure the scientific data needed to bolster its claim. The document, however, doesn’t spell out any dollar figures or details of its plan.

The federal government will also be investing $70 million over three years to improve health services in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Ottawa will soon announce enhanced funding to the Nutrition North program targeting 103 isolated Northern communities, according to the budget document. The program is supposed to improve the availability and accessibility of healthy foods in the North. The program currently has a budget of $60 million year used to subsidized retailers in northern, isolated communities to keep prices low.

The federal government will also be investing $40 million over two years to the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency’s Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development program.

In 2011-2012, there were about 115,400 First Nation students enrolled in schools, 71,000 were enrolled in band run schools and 41,800 in the provincial system, according to Aboriginal Affairs data.

[email protected]

@APTNNews