Government of Canada, Indigenous communities partner on transit planning projects

March 7, 2024
Three Indigenous communities are working together with local transit agencies and the government of Canada to improve accessibility to safe and secure transit options.

To better support Indigenous communities in need, the government of Canada is investing C$150,000 (US$110,970) through the Rural Transit Solutions Fund (RTSF) to support public transit studies in three communities. 

The projects will work to improve transit accessibility for the Nahanni Butte First Nation, Yellowknives Dene First Nation and the Hay River Métis Government in establishing public transit options for their residents. 

The funding will be used to conduct feasibility studies to determine each community's needs in establishing an efficient transit system. The Yellowknives Dene First Nation and the Hay River Metis Government have already begun conducting transit assessments, laying the groundwork down for future transportation projects for Yellowknife. 

"This funding will help us engage with our members and identify typical and non-traditional public and community transportation options for Ndilǫ and Dettah," said Chief Ernest Betsina, Yellowknives Dene First Nation. "This should contribute to the ability of YKDFN community members to meet their day-to-day needs, including access to important health and social services, greater employment, and recreational opportunities." 

Funding will be used by the Nahanni Butte First Nation for a study, public consultations and field research to better understand the transit requirements of the community. 

"Nahanni Butte is a remote community located in the Dehcho region of Northwest Territories," said Chief Steve Vital, Nahanni Butte Dene Band. "The funding announced today will support the development of a study to identify possible transit solutions to address the needs of our elders, kids and our growing population. Transit options will help our residents travel safely within the community and visit other towns and nearby communities for essential goods and supplies while reducing dependency on fossil fuel. This strategic investment will not only provide a much-needed long-term transit solution for Nahanni Butte but also improve the quality of life of our residents." 

"Supporting Indigenous-led, evidence-based solutions will help improve the safety of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people and assist them in travelling safely in their communities and to other parts of the territory," said Gary Anandasangaree, Canada's minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. "These studies and assessments are critical to determine the best ways of connecting residents to schools, jobs and medical services through safer modes of travel." 

This funding will help to address trafficking and sextual assault concerns in the area as part of the Call for Justice 4.8 movement from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The program calls upon governmental efforts to be directed towards ensuring that adequate plans and funding are put into place create safer and more affordable transit and transportation services and infrastructure for Indigenous communities at risk. 

About the Author

Eman Abu-Khaled | Associate Editor

Eman Abu-Khaled is a recent graduate of Kent State University with a bachelors in journalism. She works through Endeavor Business Media with Mass Transit as an associate editor. Abu-Khaled brings a fresh perspective to the visual side of journalism with an interest in video and photography work.