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Government of Canada News Release

For Immediate Release

May 27, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much we rely on our connections. Now more than ever, Canadians across the country need access to reliable high-speed Internet as many of us are working, learning, and staying in touch with friends and family from home. Right now, too many Canadians living in rural and remote communities lack access to high-speed Internet. Through the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) Rapid Response Stream, the Government of Canada is taking immediate action to get Canadians connected to the high-speed Internet they need.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced almost $3.2 million in federal funding for Tbaytel to bring high-speed Internet to residents of rural communities north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. This project will connect 689 underserved households in the communities of Lappe and Toimela to high-speed Internet.

The Universal Broadband Fund was launched in November 2020. The project being announced today was approved within six months of the formal launch of the now $2.75-billion program. Projects funded under the UBF, as well as through other public and private investments, will help connect 98% of Canadians to high-speed Internet by 2026 and achieve the national target of 100% connectivity by 2030.

Today’s announcement builds on the progress the Government of Canada has already made to improve critical infrastructure in Ontario. Since 2015, the federal government has invested more than $2.85 billion   in over 4,060 infrastructure projects in Ontario communities with a population of fewer than 100,000 people. These investments mean 452 km of new or upgraded roads that are making our communities safer; more than 938 projects to provide residents with cleaner, more sustainable sources of drinking water; and more than 5,427 additional housing units built in rural communities, helping ensure all Ontarians have a safe place to call home.


“High-speed Internet is essential for Northern Ontario. It connects us to work, school and each other. Today’s investment will provide reliable access to 689 households north of Thunder Bay. This project is part of our commitment of $250 million to more than 40 connectivity projects in Ontario that will connect over 90,000 more households to better, more reliable Internet.”

– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North

“We’re proud to be able to bring fibre right to the doors of 689 customers in the rural Thunder Bay area.  The areas include addresses north of Thunder Bay city limits and were selected as shovel-ready projects that could be completed this year in order to meet funding criteria. We encourage residents to visit our website to see the exact service boundaries that will be covered. Tbaytel would like to thank the Government of Canada for its investment in this vital infrastructure and the people of Northern Ontario for their continued support of Tbaytel.”

– Dan Topatigh, President and CEO, Tbaytel

Quick facts

  • Canada’s Connectivity Strategy aims to provide all Canadians with access to Internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download / 10 Mbps upload.
  • The Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) is a $2.75-billion investment designed to help connect all Canadians to high-speed Internet. Applications to the UBF were accepted until March 15, 2021, and are now being evaluated.
  • The UBF is part of a suite of federal investments to improve high-speed Internet. The suite includes the Connect to Innovate program, which is expected to connect nearly 400,000 households by 2023, and the recently announced $2-billion broadband initiative from the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

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