Follow Us! Like Our Page!

Readout: Minister Hutchings and Minister Beare met with local Lheidli T’enneh First Nation representatives in Prince George regarding the Highway of Tears

Press Release

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

March 7, 2022

Today, the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, and the Honourable Lisa Beare, British Columbia’s Minister of Citizens’ Services, met with Lheidli T’enneh First Nation Chief Dolleen Logan and leaders at an event hosted by Rogers Communications in Prince George to discuss the progress of cellular coverage along the entire route of Highway 16 from Prince Rupert to Prince George.

Jennifer Campeau, Director of Indigenous Collaboration, Rogers Communications, opened the meeting and welcomed ministers Hutchings and Beare, Chief Logan and leaders. Participants recognized the importance of the Highway of Tears Symposium Recommendations Report in identifying recommendations aimed at enhancing safety for Indigenous women and girls. Representatives of Rogers shared the company’s progress of breaking ground on its first cellular tower site this past December, as part of its wireless service expansion project. They also restated the company’s commitment to the anticipated completion date of fall 2022.

During the roundtable, both ministers heard from participants about the lack of reliable connectivity and the highway’s proximity to a rising number of temporary work camps, the need for accessible transportation options, and the work being done to end systemic racism, sexism, ableism and economic inequality that has perpetuated violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.  Both ministers also heard from Indigenous partners that more needs to be done for men and boys, not only to help address gender- and race-based violence but also to support them through violence they may experience.

The Highway of Tears is a corridor of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and since 1970, it has been the location of many missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).

Thanks to federal and provincial investments announced in April 2021, the Connecting British Columbia program and the Government of Canada’s Universal Broadband Fund provided Rogers Communications with $4.5 million in co-funding toward the $11.6 million cost of installing cellular infrastructure to provide cellular coverage along the corridor of Highway 16. This investment is key to ensuring women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, especially those who are Indigenous, can call for help and receive the services they need to ensure their safety and security.

Chief Logan and the participants thanked Minister Hutchings, Minister Beare and Rogers for their support.

Associated links

Contacts

Luka Vujic
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development
343-571-9582
[email protected]

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
[email protected]

ILR5

NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More