Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba share not only geographical proximity but also economic priorities. Advancing economic corridors between the Prairie provinces is critical for expanding market access for Alberta products, creating jobs and growing Alberta’s economy.

Alberta is marking more than a year of working with Saskatchewan and Manitoba through the Prairies Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance economic corridors and enhance collaboration with Alberta’s prairie neighbours. To date, the three provinces have achieved harmonization of regulations related to commercial carriers that improve both safety and regulatory requirements.

“By keeping the momentum of the Prairies MOU going, we can continue to lead the way in building economic corridors, cutting red tape, and creating jobs. This paves the way to make nation-building projects a reality again in western Canada.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are also working together to identify and prioritize strategic infrastructure that will enhance trade and transportation between the provinces and the world. The provinces continue to make progress towards a Northern Trade Corridor that enhances the connection to tidewater at Hudson Bay. In Alberta, this includes the extension of Highway 686 between Peerless Lake and Fort McMurray, which will connect northern Alberta communities and support economic development in Alberta’s north.

Alberta’s government is also moving forward with plans to create new highway connections between Alberta and Saskatchewan, improving the seamless connection of people, goods and industrial activity between the two jurisdictions. This includes a new highway connection between Fort McMurray and La Loche, Saskatchewan. The project will include the construction of 65 kilometres of new highway in Alberta to connect to Highway 956 in Saskatchewan. The project will open up a new east-west economic corridor in this resource-rich part of Alberta, adding new capacity for the movement of energy products, heavy equipment and the delivery of goods and services to communities in the region. The project will also create a much-needed secondary exit route from northeast Alberta in the event of an emergency, while also providing better access to tourism and recreation opportunities.

“For Saskatchewan people, improving transportation efficiency with initiatives like these supports our strong and growing export-based economy. A strategic approach helps the province invest in key services and helps build and protect our quality of life.”

Lori Carr, Saskatchewan Minister of Highways

Alberta is also partnering with Saskatchewan to complete safety improvements on Highway 17, along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. Improvements will be completed at various locations on Highway 17, between Lloydminster and north of the North Saskatchewan River Bridge in Alberta, including two sets of passing lanes, a climbing lane extension, and major improvements at four intersections.

Alberta’s government will fund up to 50 per cent of the Highway 17 project costs. The project will improve safety by providing drivers with more opportunities to safely pass, which will improve flow of traffic on the highway. This will also improve travel for commercial truck traffic in the agriculture and oil and gas sectors, and area residents who rely on this route to commute to and from Lloydminster. 

“Our city on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border works with many communities in both provinces to better position the region for growth and to enhance the services for all the people we all have the privilege of serving. It’s wonderful to see the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan working toward a common goal to enhance Highway 17 in the future, which will improve transportation in the area when the project is completed.”

Gerald Aalbers, mayor, City of Lloydminster

Other ongoing work under the MOU includes joint advocacy to the federal government to ensure adequate, timely and accessible federal funding that enables programs, such as the National Trade Corridors Fund, to continue supporting the infrastructure that businesses and residents rely on.

Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan will also work together on coordinated advocacy in support of maintaining and enhancing air service in all three provinces. The Prairie Provinces will continue to call for enhanced representation on the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Board of Directors to ensure the needs of the three provinces are reflected in the policy and operational decisions at the Port of Vancouver, which is a key hub for Prairie imports and exports.

Future proposed work under the agreement includes each province working with their provincial trucking associations to identify additional opportunities for regulatory harmonization. As well, the provinces are conducting joint research to improve all forms of transportation infrastructure that provide vital links to services and markets for the efficient movement of Prairie exports and imports.

Quick facts

  • The Governments of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba signed a Memorandum of Understanding on April 11, 2023 to advance economic corridors between the provinces, helping to expand market access for Prairie products and create jobs. 
  • The MOU is focused on improving transportation infrastructure and services that provide vital links for the efficient movement of Prairie exports and imports.
  • Through the MOU, the provinces are collaborating on key issues, including: 
    • identifying specific corridors that the three provinces can mutually work to advance;  
    • improving the efficiency of inter-provincial transportation networks and harmonizing regulatory frameworks; 
    • leveraging opportunities for joint advocacy to the federal government on regulatory and funding issues; and, 
    • assessing private sector investment and Indigenous partnership opportunities in improving existing, or developing new, economic corridors. 
  • Economic corridors link markets in and out of Alberta, supporting the province’s economic, social and environmental activity.
  • According to Statistics Canada, Alberta exported more than $175 billion in goods in 2023.
    • This includes goods shipped by pipeline and other modes, such as road, rail, air and marine.
    • Non-pipeline exports of goods totalled more than $55.6 billion.

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