Province Supporting Broadband Access to Better Connect Northwestern Ontario Indigenous Community
Ontario making economic development programs open to broader range of businesses and workers
MISHKEEGOGAMANG - Ontario's government is helping increase broadband access and affordability for more than 600 residents living in the Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation community in Northwestern Ontario.
Today, Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, announced Keewaytinook Okimakanak is receiving $179,040 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) to purchase and install two 200-foot broadband towers.
Keewaytinook Okimakanak, through its Kuhkenah Network (K-Net) Computer Services department, will help improve broadband capacity in the community. The stronger network will benefit homes and businesses as well as important services and facilities, including the e-learning centre, band office, community centre and health centre telemedicine office.
"As a part of our plan to build Ontario together, our government is proud to invest in broadband infrastructure projects that are strengthening communication networks across the north," said Minister Rickford. "By improving broadband access in the Mishkeegogamang community, Keewaytinook Okimakanak's broadband project will bring new economic and educational opportunities and help build a safer and connected community."
"On behalf of my Council and the entire membership, we wish to express our appreciation to the Ontario Government, especially NOHFC and the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, for providing the funding required to upgrade our internet capacity," said Chief David Masakeyash, Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation. "We are better positioned for tomorrow to compete for business and other opportunities that are now possible with this modernizing of our communications."
The NOHFC promotes and supports economic development across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects - big and small, rural and urban - that stimulate growth, job creation and develop a skilled workforce.
Ontario is working to develop new NOHFC programs that:
- Make it easier for more people and businesses to apply
- Support more projects in rural northern communities
- Target both existing and emerging market opportunities
- Provide more work opportunities for Indigenous people
- Address the skilled labour shortage in the north.
"We have heard from northerners who want NOHFC programs to be open to a broader range of businesses and workers so that the unique needs of Northern Ontario communities are met," said Minister Rickford. "Through these proposed changes, Ontario's government will continue to build strong and resilient communities while supporting an environment where businesses can thrive, grow and create good jobs."
Promoting and stimulating economic development initiatives in Northern Ontario is part of the government's plan to build Ontario together. Ontario's plan is creating more good-paying jobs and opportunities in the north, and attracting new and expanded investment so northern communities can grow and thrive.
- Keewaytinook Okimakanak is a tribal council in Northwestern Ontario, servicing six member First Nations. It acts as a social enterprise partnering with underserved Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada to deliver leading-edge information and communications technology (ICT) services.
- For the past 23 years, K-Net has been building and operating broadband infrastructure that today reaches over 100 First Nations across Ontario and is used by over 160,000 citizens in rural and remote Northern Ontario communities.
- Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $148 million in 1,073 projects in Northern Ontario. This has leveraged more than $699 million in investment and created or retained 3,116 jobs.