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

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.

The Digital Divide and the Lack of Broadband Access During COVID-19 Social Benefits and Costs

The Digital Divide and the Lack of Broadband Access During COVID-19

Katharina Koch

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

Across Canada, the large number of people working and studying from home require reliable and fast internet access. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the urgency of diminishing the ‘digital divide’ in Canada.

Understanding Consultation and Engagement with Indigenous Peoples in Resource Development Legal and Regulatory

Understanding Consultation and Engagement with Indigenous Peoples in Resource Development

Brendan Boyd and Sophie Lorefice

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 12 • Issue 22 • August 2019

This is a summary of the broader study published externally. A review of documents related to resource development and the duty to consult demonstrates the different worldviews of three groups of Indigenous Peoples, industry, and government each has on these subjects. The review attempts to explain differences in these perspectives in an effort to inform consultation and public policy moving forward.

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Understanding consultation and engagement of Indigenous Peoples in resource development: A policy framing approach Legal and Regulatory

Understanding consultation and engagement of Indigenous Peoples in resource development: A policy framing approach

Brendan Boyd and Sophie Lorefice

Canadian Public Administration
Volume 61 • Issue 4 • December 2018

Understanding the conflict over consultation emerges because actors frame the issues differently is an important first step in improving consultation and engagement with Indigenous groups in resource development decisions. This paper discusses the use of a policy framing approach to provide insight into why disputes may occur surrounding resource development projects and Indigenous Peoples. The authors present different frames likely to be present in resource development and consultation and compare these using publicly available documents produced by Indigenous groups and communities, governments and industry.

Economic loss analysis to Prince Edward Island resulting from a prolonged closure of the Confederation Bridge Economic Outcomes

Economic loss analysis to Prince Edward Island resulting from a prolonged closure of the Confederation Bridge

G. Kent Fellows, Michelle Patterson, Amy MacFarlane, Lukas Marriott, Andrew Carrothers, and Jurgen Krause

Canadian Journal of Regional Science 41 (1/3), 29-41.
August 2018.
The article models the economy of Prince Edward Island (PEI) and its dependency on value of goods, services and people moving in both directions across the Confederation Bridge (linking PEI with mainland New Brunswick).

Opening Canada’s North: A Study of Trade Costs in the Territories Foundational Studies

Opening Canada’s North: A Study of Trade Costs in the Territories

G. Kent Fellows and Trevor Tombe

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 11 • Issue 17 • November 2018

In this paper, the authors estimate trade costs in Canada's North and find that policy-relevant trade costs (those trade costs that policy changes may help lower) are substantial. The paper presents several measures of the internal and international trade costs faced by Canadian provinces and territories and, using these estimates, describes results of a series of counterfactual simulation experiments using a computable general equilibrium model of the Canadian economy.

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Gains from Trade for Canada’s North: The Case for a Northern Infrastructure Corridor Foundational Studies

Gains from Trade for Canada’s North: The Case for a Northern Infrastructure Corridor

G. Kent Fellows and Trevor Tombe

The School of Public Policy Publications
Volume 10 • Issue 2 • November 2018

This paper makes the economic case for establishing an east-west trade corridor in Canada’s North. Authors discuss the magnitude and consequences of trade costs with and between Canada’s territories. They find the per-mile trade costs are 45 per cent larger for the territories than the provinces, suggesting lower quality infrastructure is an important cause. The gains from lowering such costs are huge.

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