Canada and Yukon taking action to better understand the unique transportation challenges in Canada's North

OTTAWA, Nov. 13, 2013 /CNW/ — Ryan Leef, Member of Parliament for Yukon, on behalf of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, and the Honourable Currie Dixon, Minister of Economic Development of the Government of Yukon, on behalf of Honourable Wade Istchenko, Minister of Highways and Public Works, today announced funding to evaluate the effects of climate change and permafrost degradation on transportation in Yukon.

"It is important to maintain and improve northerners' access to safe and efficient transportation. We are acting to improve our understanding of the unique challenges in Canada's North," said MP Leef. "This work will lead to the development of tools to adapt our northern transportation networks to climate change."

"Investments in our transportation infrastructure are crucial for the development and growth of Yukon," said Minister Dixon. "The impacts of climate change mean additional resources are required to help ensure the sustainability of our northern transportation network and we are thrilled to sign this agreement with the Government of Canada."

The work will provide a better understanding of how Yukon transportation infrastructure will be affected by climate change over the short- and long-term. Activities will include:

  • design, develop, and evaluate innovative technologies, tools, and best practices;
  • build science-based knowledge about the impacts of climate change on the northern transportation system;
  • make existing and future northern transportation infrastructure and operations more resilient and adaptable to climate change; and
  • support the development of northern expertise.

The data collected will include ground and air temperatures, wind speed and direction, as well as snow depths, at strategic locations such as the Dempster Highway (Yukon/Northwest Territories), Mayo Airport (Yukon), North Canol Road (Yukon), and a site near Beaver Creek (Yukon).

The Government of Canada is contributing up to $944,000 of a total estimated project cost of approximately $1.3 million under the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative (NTAI).

Transport Canada recently brought together experts from government, academia and the private industry for a workshop on permafrost-related transportation challenges. "These workshops foster strategic partnerships that result in joint projects such as this one between Canada and Yukon. They also provide an opportunity to learn from other countries facing similar challenges, such as the United States," added MP Leef.

Transport Canada's NTAI is part of the federal initiative on Helping Canadians Adapt to a Changing Climate. The NTAI is committed to improving our understanding of climate change impacts and facilitating more integrated transportation planning and adaptation measures in Canada.

SOURCE: Transport Canada

For further information:

Ashley Kelahear
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport

Doris Wurfbaum
Communications & PR Analyst
Department of Highways and Public Works
Government of Yukon

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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