National Trade Corridor Fund backgrounder

The $4.2 billion National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) is one component of the over $180 billion Investing in Canada Plan, the Government of Canada’s strategy for addressing long-term infrastructure needs in Canada and supporting middle-class growth and well-paying jobs. The quality of Canada’s transportation infrastructure and the efficiency of the country’s trade corridors is key to the success of Canadian firms in the global marketplace.

Through the NTCF, the Government of Canada is investing in well-functioning trade corridors to help Canadians compete in key global markets and trade more efficiently with international partners. It represents a long-term commitment by the Government of Canada to work with stakeholders on strategic infrastructure projects to address transportation bottlenecks, vulnerabilities and congestion along Canada’s trade corridors.

The NTCF is also a key element of Transportation 2030, the Minister of Transport’s strategic plan for the future of transportation in Canada. The development of this vision, including the NTCF, has been informed by extensive engagement with Canadians from coast to coast to coast, along with insights contained in the 2015 Canada Transportation Act Review report.

Merit Based Program

The NTCF is a merit-based program designed to help infrastructure owners and users invest in the critical assets that support economic activity and the physical movement of goods and people in Canada.

An initial envelope of $1.9 billion over 11 years (2017-18 to 2027-28) was allocated for the NTCF in 2017.

To address unique transportation needs in the Arctic and northern regions of Canada, Budget 2019 increased the allocation of the NTCF to these regions by $400 million over eight years, starting in 2020–21, bringing the total allocation to these regions to $800 million, and increasing the NTCF funding envelope to $2.3 billion.

Budget 2021 provided the NTCF with an additional $1.9 billion over four years, bringing the total NTCF envelope to $4.2 billion. This additional funding would spur investments in much-needed enhancements to Canada’s roads, rail, and shipping routes, build long-term resilience for the Canadian economy, and support internal trade. Of this total funding, 15% would be dedicated to building and improving transportation networks in Canada’s North.

Eligible applicants under the NTCF calls for proposals include: Provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous groups, not-for-profit and for-profit private-sector organizations, federal Crown Corporations or agencies, Canadian Port Authorities, National Airport System airport authorities, and academia.

To date, the NTCF has committed approximately $1.9 billion in federal funding to 89 strategic transportation projects across Canada.

Calls for Proposals undertaken to date

  1. National Call to Address Capacity Constraints

    In July 2017, the first call for proposals was launched to address urgent capacity constraints and to improve supply chain performance. Under this call, Transport Canada approved more than $800 million to fund 39 transportation projects across Canada, including every province and territory.

  2. Canada’s North

    The Northern call for proposals was launched on November 19, 2018, and focused specifically on targeting transportation-related infrastructure investments in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. This call, which closed on March 29, 2019, funded 11 projects and provided more than $230 million in federal contributions to address unique transportation priorities in Canada’s territorial North.

  3. Continuous Call for Trade Diversification

    The third call for proposals, named the Continuous Call in light of the absence of a closing date, was launched on January 15, 2019 in support of the government’s Export Diversification Strategy. This call has resulted in the selection of 39 projects for funding to date.

    In this call, Transport Canada evaluates projects on specific trade-related criteria, including whether the project will:

    • Improve the fluidity and/or performance of the transportation system to contribute to an increase in the value and/or volume of goods exported from Canada to overseas markets; and/or
    • Increase existing, or generate new, overseas trade as a result of the investment.

    In addition to the above criteria, projects are assessed for the extent to which they will add capacity or address bottlenecks near major ports, airports, or along road and rail corridors in Canada that help generate or increase overseas trade.

    The Continuous Call for proposals remains open.

  4. Canada’s Arctic and North

    The most recent call for proposals targeted projects that address transportation challenges in Canada’s Arctic and Northern regions and was launched on October 23, 2020. The geographic scope of this Arctic and Northern call for proposals included the territories; the northern extent of Labrador containing the Nunatsiavut region; the Nunavik region in Quebec; and the Port of Churchill and related assets in northern Manitoba.

    This Arctic and Northern Call for Proposals closed on March 15, 2021