The Government of Canada’s latest spending proposals include a significant reduction in annual funding for the Northern Economic Development Agency, better known as CanNor.

Brought into being by the Harper government in 2009, CanNor began life with an allocation of roughly $60 million to spend in its first full financial year of operation.

Since then, the agency’s annual funding has fluctuated. On Monday, the Trudeau government proposed $29.9 million for CanNor in 2018-19 as it tabled its main estimates, a document which outlines federal departments’ anticipated budgets.

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That’s down from a shade over $50 million awarded to the agency for the last financial year. The federal government says CanNor can expect an overall reduction of $20.2 million year on year.

“This decrease in funding is primarily attributable to the sunsetting of $19.8 million for the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development Program and $6.4 million for the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program,” a federal summary of the main estimates explains.

“These decreases are partially offset by an increase of $4.9 million in funding for renewal of the Northern Adult Basic Education Program.”

CanNor funding allocations year-on-year since the agency's inception
CanNor funding allocations year-on-year since the agency’s inception.

Ottawa’s 2018-19 allocation for CanNor is the second-lowest in the agency’s history.

In 2016-17, the agency was given around $26 million in that year’s main estimates but ended up spending more than $55 million before the end of the financial year.

Decreasing the funding allocation for Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development, or SINED – a program designed to inject cash into projects helping economic growth in the territories – leaves its future unclear.

The program’s website states the federal government, in its earlier Budget 2018 proposals, had “committed to provide ongoing funding for SINED.” However, the value or nature of that remaining funding is not given.