The Canadian Government is supporting essential air service access for remote communities amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The announcement was made by Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau; Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal and Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller.

As part of this initiative, the government will pursue bilateral agreements with provinces and territories to ensure service continuity for at least six months.

It will establish a partnership with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous partners as well as the air industry.

Garneau said: “While we continue to work together to limit the spread of Covid-19, we must also ensure remote communities continue to have the air connectivity they need for essential goods and services, travel and business.

“Our work with the provinces and territories on these measures will allow for reliable air services to keep remote communities connected to the rest of the country.”

The government will also set up a C$75m ($56m) funding programme and invest up to C$174m ($130m) over 18 months to maintain essential air travel services.

Along with contributions by the provincial and territorial governments, the funding will facilitate minimum essential transportation services to remote communities.

The supply of food, medical supplies and other essential goods and services will also be maintained.

Miller said: “Flights are an essential link for fly-in and remote First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

“This funding will go a long way in ensuring that fly-in communities have the essential services, goods and equipment they need to prevent and respond to any outbreak of Covid-19. Canada will keep working hard to ensure continuity of services.”