The Ontario government announced more than $56 million in combined federal and provincial funding to bring high-speed Internet to over 6,500 households in rural northwestern and southwestern Ontario.
The governments are investing $2.3 million for connections in Barwick and Rainy River, and $1.3 million for Ignace. The governments estimate a collective 925 homes and businesses in these areas will have increased access to high-speed internet as a result of this funding.
Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario says these investments will allow for increased access to education, health care, business opportunities and social connections.
She says those without access to high-speed Internet are behind, as people’s lives move more online.
Minister of Rural Economic Development Gudie Hutchings agrees the connection gap needs to be closed.
“We need to ensure that every nook and cranny of Ontario has access to reliable high-speed Internet,” says Hutchings. “The Government of Canada will continue to make investments like these to help achieve our national target.”
The Government of Canada hopes to provide 98 per cent of Canadians with high-speed Internet by 2026, and 100 per cent by 2030.
Ontario aims to bring high-speed Internet to every region of the province by the end of 2025.
Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, says the funding will help bring accessibility to all.
“We are ensuring that all families, workers, and businesses have a better and brighter future,” says Surma. “No one will be left behind.”
This funding builds on an existing relationship between the two governments. In July 2021, the governments announced a Canada-Ontario broadband partnership — providing high-speed Internet to more than 280,000 rural households. The agreement was made possible by a joint investment totalling more than $1.2 billion.
The governments announced that Bell Canada will provide service for the Rainy River District portion of the broadband partnership, totalling $49.5 million in funding.