Ontario NDP MPP Calls Out Transport Canada Over Regulatory Challenges Affecting Northern First Nations

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North Star Air in Pickle Lake

New Flight Regulations Impact Essential Services and Increase Burden on First Nations Communities in Kiiwetinoong

QUEEN’S PARK – POLITICS – Ontario NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong) has expressed grave disappointment in Transport Canada’s handling of regulatory challenges that are causing substantial distress to northern First Nations across Kiiwetinoong. The core issue involves new flight duty time regulations implemented by Transport Canada, which have led to a significant reduction in northern air services.

This has severely impacted access to vital medical aid and increased the burden on First Nations communities trying to avail the services they require. Mamakwa is urgently calling on the federal Minister of Transport to take immediate action to address this growing crisis.

Mamakwa voiced his concerns stating, “In a crisis, the Federal Minister of Transportation should be working with us to strengthen vital air service to northern and fly-in communities. These regulations are causing great harm to communities across the north, resulting in reduced access to essential services, and potential evacuation delays in the forest fire season.”

In the North, airports serve as vital connections for fly-in First Nations communities. Mamakwa highlighted that air carriers, service providers, and First Nations would not be in this challenging situation if they had been consulted during the creation of these regulations. Instead, Transport Canada hastily attempted to remedy the issue, implementing a uniform solution that failed to address the unique needs of these communities.

The Coalition of Northern Air Services and Nishnawbe Aski Nation have already sent letters to the Minister urging immediate action. However, they have not yet received a response. Mamakwa emphasized the need for Transport Canada to listen to these concerns and act promptly to prevent the situation from escalating further.

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