The Canadian Northern Corridor Roundtable Program: Results and Lessons Learned


  • Katharina Koch The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
  • Emily Galley The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
  • Evgeniia (Jen) Sidorova The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
  • G. Kent Fellows The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
  • Robert Mansell The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary



Key Messsages:

  • Canada needs a long-term strategic and integrated infrastructure vision for mid- and northern Canada that focuses on long-term policy priorities of communities.
  • Infrastructure policy development for mid- and northern Canada must focus on collaborative approaches that foster cooperation and coordination rather than competition between community rights- and stakeholders.
  • Streamlining of regulatory frameworks is required to improve efficiency, integration and coordination in the planning and approval of hard and soft infrastructure development.
  • Decision-makers are encouraged to adopt a holistic infrastructure approach which includes not only physical infrastructure assets but also digital and soft infrastructure supporting social goals and outcomes, such as education and healthcare.
  • A focus on local community capacity-building should be incorporated into any type of northern infrastructure development strategy to help support communities to address their own challenges and to foster cooperation between both public and private rights- and stakeholders.
  • While federal support is important, any national infrastructure vision for mid- and northern Canada must incorporate the priorities of local Indigenous and municipal rights- and stakeholders. This approach avoids a top-down infrastructure approach and recognizes the role these communities have in in addressing the challenges related to climate change and supply chain constraints that we are facing today.
  • A majority of communities in mid- and northern Canada consist of Indigenous populations, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit. A connective infrastructure approach can be a tool of reconciliation but only if it supports Indigenous self-governance, participation, inclusion and facilitates Indigenous-owned initiatives.
  • While infrastructure needs vary across mid- and northern Canada, the digital divide across Canada is a common challenge. To sustain prosperity and mitigating challenges, communities need reliable and affordable high-speed internet access.
  • Recent disruptions in global and Canadian supply chains underlines the need for strategic and targeted infrastructure optionality, ensuring reliable transportation and access to goods and services.
  • Infrastructure development, focused on transportation and access to services such as healthcare, is essential to safeguard the high living standards we are enjoying today for future generations. For all Canadians to benefit, infrastructure development must adhere to the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.

Author Biographies

Katharina Koch, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Dr. Katharina Koch is a post-doctoral research associate in the Energy & Environment Division at the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary. Her research expertise is in political geography, critical geopolitics and border studies. She studied cross-border cooperation between the EU and Russia with a special focus on power relations and stakeholder networks. Currently, she is researching a variety of issues related to the concept of the Northern Corridor, including corridor governance, northern and Arctic security and geopolitics as well as the implications of the digital divide in Canada. Katharina completed her PhD in Geography at the University of Oulu, Finland and holds a master’s degree in Globalization and Development Studies from Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Emily Galley, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Emily Galley is a Research Coordinator for the Energy and Environmental Policy division at the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary. Her areas of expertise include resource dependency, forestry communities, community development and qualitative research methods. In her current role with the Canadian Northern Corridor Research Program, she leads the team’s community engagement work. Emily holds a master’s degree in Geography from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Evgeniia (Jen) Sidorova, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Dr. Evgeniia (Jen) Sidorova is a Research Fellow at the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary. Her special area of expertise is the incorporation of Indigenous and Local Knowledge into wildlife management and industrial development in the Canadian Arctic and Alaska. She is also interested in transnational relations between Indigenous organizations in the Arctic. Jen holds a doctorate in Political Science (International Relations and Comparative Politics) from University of Calgary, AB, Canada, and Master of Arts from University of Alaska Fairbanks, the US.  She identifies herself as an Indigenous Siberian (Sakha) from Yakutsk, Sakha Republic.

G. Kent Fellows, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Dr. Kent Fellows is an Assistant Professor (Economics) and Director of both the Master of Public Policy Program and the Canadian Northern Corridor research program at The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary. He is currently Fellow in Residence as an academic advisor and contributor to the C.D. Howe Institute Energy Policy program. Dr. Fellows specializes in multiple areas of Microeconomics including Competition Policy, Regulatory Economics, Regional/Transportation Economics and Energy Economics. He has published multiple papers on those subjects in both academic and policy journals and his advice on related topics has been sought by provincial, federal and international governments

Robert Mansell, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Dr. Robert Mansell is a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Calgary, member of the Order of The University of Calgary and research fellow at The School of Public Policy. He has a PhD in Economics with specialization in econometrics and regional / resource economics. He has authored over 100 studies on energy and regulatory issues as well as many other studies on regional economics. Examples include publications on: the Alberta economy, traditional and incentive regulation; the economic impacts of economic development projects; fiscal transfers, policy and restructuring; and regional economic performance.






Research Papers