Government of Canada invests in YukonU climate change geohazard research

Alaska Highway slump

The Government of Canada is committed to keeping our supply chains resilient in the face of a changing climate. This will help make sure families from coast-to-coast-to-coast get the essential goods they need on time and create an economy that works for everyone.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced an investment of $3.4 million under the National Trade Corridors Fund for the Enhancing Yukon trade corridor resilience to northern geohazards project run by Yukon University.

This five-year research project will build a better understanding of climate change impacts on Yukon’s transportation infrastructure by installing sophisticated data loggers at key locations along the highway. These monitoring stations will help establish what factors are contributing to permafrost thaw. The information collected will guide the decisions to implement measures to eliminate risk associated with permafrost thaw (for example, by using tools that send alerts of potential flood, road washout, or road erosion).

This research will help determine how to reduce these impacts to avoid disrupting our supply chains and ensuring goods remain affordable for communities. By working in close collaboration with Government of Yukon engineers, planners, and maintenance personnel, Yukon University will recommend practical solutions on how to maintain the resilience of Yukon highways to keep supply chains moving.

With additional contributions from both Yukon University and McMaster University, the combined total investment in the project will be nearly $5 million.

The National Trade Corridors Fund provides funding for research projects in the Arctic and the North to support northern transportation infrastructure like ports, airports, all-season roads, and bridges. These projects will ensure Indigenous Peoples and Canadians who live in remote, northern communities continue to get the essential goods they need on time.


“Arctic highways are essential trade corridors for Northern and remote communities. Today's announcement demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our supply chains can withstand a changing climate. Understanding the evolving effects of climate change on northern infrastructure will help Yukon make informed decisions about highways, and ensure communities across Yukon get the essential goods they need on time.

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport


“With many remote communities in the Yukon, our supply chains depend on the durability of our highway infrastructure. Facing a changing global climate and permafrost thaw in the North, I’m pleased to see this funding support the important research needed to sustain all-season transportation networks. In partnership with Yukon University, the Government of Yukon, and McMaster University, we’re ensuring Yukoners and Yukon businesses stay connected to the goods they need.”

Brendan Hanley
Member of Parliament for Yukon


“Investing in research on the impacts of climate change to the Yukon’s highways is essential in building resilient infrastructure. This funding will allow Yukon University and McMaster University to provide our government with high-quality data on the impacts that thawing permafrost is having on our highways. Using this data, we can find new and innovative ways to continue to build a strong highway network for Yukoners.”

The Honourable Nils Clarke
Yukon’s Minister of Highways and Public Works


“Yukon University is very pleased to receive this funding from the Government of Canada. This investment will ensure that Yukon University remains at the forefront of knowledge discovery regarding the realities of climate change in the North. Our ability to apply “on the ground” understanding brings a unique and valuable perspective to climate change research. This funding will also allow Yukon University to grow northern research capacity by investing in training for the next generation of climate change researchers.”

Dr. Lesley Brown
President and Vice-Chancellor, Yukon University


Quick Facts

  • The National Trade Corridors Fund is a competitive, merit-based program designed to help infrastructure owners and users invest in the critical transportation assets that support economic activity in Canada. Under this program, a total of $4.7 billion over 11 years (2017-2028) has been allocated.
  • National Trade Corridors Fund projects address the unique and urgent transportation needs in Canada's Arctic and North. The needs include climate resilience and access to markets, creating social and economic opportunities, access between communities and to essential services despite difficult terrain and severe climate conditions, and the high cost of construction along Canada’s northern trade corridors.
  • Provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, Indigenous groups, not-for-profit and for-profit private-sector organizations, federal Crown corporations, and academia are all eligible for funding under the National Trade Corridors Fund.
  • The YukonU Research Center is home to seven research programs, two of which are collaborating on this research project. Dr. Fabrice Calmels, Research Chair in Permafrost and Geoscience, and Dr. Benoit Turcotte, Senior Research Professional of Climate Change Research, will apply their northern expertise to further research the effects of climate change on roadways to support local and federal decision-makers.
For more information, please contact

Dr. Fabrice Calmels

Research Chair, Permafrost and Geoscience

Permafrost and Geoscience
YukonU Research Centre

Dr. Benoit Turcotte

Senior Research Professional, Hydrology and Climate Change

Climate Change Research
YukonU Research Centre

Nadine Ramadan
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Media Relations 
Transport Canada, Ottawa 

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