The Research Program

Research Publications

The Canadian Northern Corridor Research Program includes multiple studies, across several areas of expertise, to address the many facets of the corridor concept including financial, legal, geographical, socio-economic, environmental, regulatory, governance and policy dimensions. The purpose is to provide the information and analysis necessary to establish the feasibility of the Canadian Northern Corridor.

Research Areas


Recent Publications

Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline in Retrospect Strategic and Trade Dimensions

Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline in Retrospect

Alaz Munzur

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 14 • Issue 33 • November 2021

The lengthy regulatory and review processes to assess major infrastructure development projects and lack of long-term planning are often viewed as sources of conflict between the economic objectives and environmental conservation and culture and heritage preservation. Cancelled and stalled infrastructure projects can offer valuable insight into this and can lead to better decision-making processes around infrastructure development in Canada. For this purpose, this piece provides a retrospective look at the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline.

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Northern and Arctic Security and Sovereignty: Challenges and Opportunities for a Northern Corridor Strategic and Trade Dimensions

Northern and Arctic Security and Sovereignty: Challenges and Opportunities for a Northern Corridor

P. Whitney Lackenbauer and Katharina Koch

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 14 • Issue 20 • August 2021

This paper offers a distinct perspective by linking security and sovereignty to core issues of infrastructure development, climate and environmental change and Indigenous rights. By raising both potential benefits and security risks or vulnerabilities associated with the Canadian Northern Corridor (CNC) Concept, it reveals the need for careful, ongoing assessment by relevant rights- and stakeholders, including defence and security practitioners. The paper closes with potential research avenues that might be pursued to gain further knowledge and understanding of the security implications of the CNC Concept, and to explore possible ways to anticipate and mitigate undesirable side effects.

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Implications of an Infrastructure Corridor for Alberta's Economy Economic Outcomes

Implications of an Infrastructure Corridor for Alberta's Economy

Trevor Tombe, Alaz Munzur and G. Kent Fellows

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 14 • Issue 7 • February 2021

Depending on the geographical area they serve and the modes of transport and types of connections they promote, infrastructure corridors can create trade-offs and synergies between different kinds of economic, social, and environmental outcomes. Yet the implied effects can vary across different regions, population segments and industries. A complete review of a proposed infrastructure corridor package involves a rigorous analysis of all of these potential effects. This paper focuses on quantifying potential gains from reductions in trade costs on Alberta’s economy and identify the importance of improved access to lower cost transportation options like rail for select commodities.

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Constraints in the Canadian Transport Infrastructure Grid Strategic and Trade Dimensions

Constraints in the Canadian Transport Infrastructure Grid

Jean-Paul Rodrigue

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 14 • Issue 6 • February 2021

Transportation infrastructure supporting corridors is complex, capital intensive and subject to an array of constraints in construction, maintenance and upgrade. These constraints include physical and environmental restrictions, level of transport demand, financial capabilities, construction and maintenance capabilities and costs, and regulatory oversight. Due to its geographical attributes, Canada has unique constraints on the development and operation of its transport infrastructure.

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The Canadian Northern Corridor: Planning for National Prosperity Foundational Studies

The Canadian Northern Corridor: Planning for National Prosperity

G. Kent Fellows, Katharine Koch, Alaz Munzur, Robert Mansell and Pierre-Gerlier Forest

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 13 • Issue 28 • December 2020

This paper is a follow-up to the School of Public Policy's initial publication on the corridor concept published by Sulzenko and Fellows (2016). In it, we give a summary of the broad scope of the Canadian Northern Corridor (CNC) concept and The School of Public Policy's CNC research program.

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Governance Options for a Canadian Northern Corridor Organization and Governance

Governance Options for a Canadian Northern Corridor

Andrei Sulzenko and Katharina Koch

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 13 • Issue 27 • November 2020

In this paper, the governance process is divided into four main stages: i) Developing the initial policy framework; ii) Deciding on a corridor route; iii) Reviewing and implementing project proposals; and iv) Managing ongoing operations and oversight. For each stage, different governance options are outlined and then critically examined.

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Climate Change and Implications for the Proposed Canadian Northern Corridor Environmental Impacts

Climate Change and Implications for the Proposed Canadian Northern Corridor

Tristan Pearce, James D. Ford and David Fawcett

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 13 • Issue 26 • November 2020

Canada’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., the Paris agreement), the responses of the global economy to climate change, and the existence (or lack thereof) of a social licence for the development of infrastructure that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions all need to be considered in the visioning of the corridor. Will a Canadian Northern Corridor be relevant in an economy that is moving away from fossil fuel dependency and towards renewable energy? If so, will building, operating and maintaining the infrastructure within a corridor be feasible under changing climatic conditions, such as those outlined in this report?

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Financing and Funding Approaches for Establishment, Governance and Regulatory Oversight of the Canadian Northern Corridor Funding and Financing

Financing and Funding Approaches for Establishment, Governance and Regulatory Oversight of the Canadian Northern Corridor

Anthony E. Boardman, Mark A Moore and Aidan R. Vining

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 13 • Issue 25 • October 2020

The Canadian Northern Corridor (CNC) is a proposed multimodal, multijurisdictional corridor. It is a highly complex, long-term infrastructure project. Such projects often fail to get implemented, but the limited evidence suggests that they can get built when a single entity (a national government or a supranational organization) assembles the rights of way and provides corridor access to various infrastructure providers. This entity, which we refer to as the “assembler,” has to (1) assemble the required rights of way from all those currently holding the property rights; and (2) decide on the allocation of, at least, usage property rights to different kinds of infrastructure providers (and ultimately users of that infrastructure).

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Cross-Canada Infrastructure Corridor, The Rights of Indigenous Peoples and 'Meaningful Consultation' Legal and Regulatory

Cross-Canada Infrastructure Corridor, The Rights of Indigenous Peoples and 'Meaningful Consultation'

David Wright

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 13 • Issue 24 • October 2020

While the law is increasingly clear with respect to Crown consultation and accommodation obligations, the context-dependent nature of the legal framework presents significant challenges for pursuit of the corridor project, given its linear and relatively abstract natures. Further, this area of the law is evolving, particularly as governments move toward implementing UNDRIP. This article succinctly presents the diverse contexts of Indigenous rights and interests present in Canada today, provides clarity with respect to the concept of “meaningful consultation” in contemporary Canadian jurisprudence, and relates this body of law to the corridor concept. Critiques, complexities and points for further research are noted throughout, including with respect to future legal developments.

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A Canary in Panda's Clothing? Strategic and Trade Dimensions

A Canary in Panda's Clothing?

G. Kent Fellows and Alaz Munzur

The School of Public Policy Publications
Infrastructure Policy Trends • July 2020

A canary is to a coal mine what a panda is to the international supply chain.