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Manitoba Government Advances Support for Indigenous-Owned Interprovincial Trade Corridor

Press Release

August 3, 2023

NeeStaNan Corridor Would Open New Doors to International Markets for Prairie Provinces and First Nations: Premier

As a part of growing the northern Manitoba economy and strengthening supply chains and trade routes across Western Canada, the Manitoba government is providing $6.7 million over the next two years to study the feasibility of the Indigenous-led NeeStaNan Utility Corridor project, Premier Heather Stefanson and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk announced today.

“The Manitoba government remains committed to funding innovative ways to strengthen northern Manitoba,” said Stefanson. “This project will create incredible opportunities for Manitoba’s Indigenous communities to participate in clean energy and economic corridors that create financial benefit for remote and Indigenous communities. It will further our commitment to make Manitoba a ‘have’ province.”

The feasibility study for the NeeStaNan project will assess the viability and level of investment required to establish a trade corridor from Fort McMurray, Alta., to the Hudson Bay coast of Manitoba. The total cost of the feasibility study is $26.6 million, with the Manitoba government providing $6.7 million over two years, contingent on funding participation from the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as First Nations communities.

“This vision of this project is to create an Indigenous-owned corridor connecting Manitoba with other Prairie provinces and support economic development in northern Manitoba,” said Piwniuk. “Strategic transportation investments are a priority to develop and grow Manitoba’s trade capability and trade market access.”

Key commodities such as potash, natural gas, wheat, bitumen and other critical minerals are landlocked in Western Canada, and transported via rail or pipeline through the Rocky Mountains to the west coast to reach international markets. If built, the NeeStaNan project would reduce shipping distances by 3,500 to 5,500 kilometres from existing transportation routes to Europe, the U.S. Gulf Coast and South America, while delivering economic, environmental and social benefits to First Nation communities.

Consideration of the corridor would explore the potential for bulk cargo shipments via rail and pipeline development to support the future export of liquefied natural gas, interprovincial high-voltage direct current power lines, and communication lines, as well as the expanded port facilities required for the enhanced shipment of mineral and agricultural commodities.

The NeeStaNan project would be 100 per cent Indigenous-owned and governed by a board of directors.

“The vision is to build a long-term export and import access of goods to and from international markets in the spirit of Indigenous economic reconciliation—all critical goals for Canada,” said Chief Morris Beardy, Fox Lake Cree Nation. “Having access to northern ports will provide economic and trade security for the heart of our country where Manitoba will also benefit from sending goods through the CentrePort corridor in Winnipeg. We look forward to working with the Manitoba government in developing the Indigenous-owned NeeStaNan Utility Corridor project, which we believe will reduce greenhouse gases and complement recently announced clean energy initiatives.”

Piwniuk noted that NeeStaNan project is a significant step forward following the memorandum of understanding signed in April between the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as it promotes co-operation in assessing private-sector investments and Indigenous partnerships to develop new economic corridors.

“Gambler is looking forward to being a founding member of the NeeStaNan Corridor,” said Chief David LeDoux, Gambler First Nation. “As a progressive First Nation, we can see the benefit not only to our economy but to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta’s. First Nations working together to achieve a brighter future opening new doors to international trade.”

The NeeStaNan Utility Corridor project aligns with the Manitoba government’s recently announced energy roadmap, critical minerals strategy, and Opportunities for Economic Growth Action Plan, which provide tangible, focused and strategic actions the Manitoba government is advancing in partnership with stakeholders and the private sector to create a stronger economic future for Manitobans, the minister noted.

To view Manitoba’s Energy Roadmap, visit

To view Manitoba’s critical minerals strategy, visit

To view the Opportunities for Economic Growth Action Plan, visit

To learn more about Manitoba’s economic advantages and strategic investments, visit

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For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications and Engagement:
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-451-7109.


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