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Budget 2024 must stand up the Indigenous loan guarantee program – The Hub

February 14, 2024

So far, Ontario and Alberta’s programs have unlocked $1.5 billion in equity investments

With the legal implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, a paradigm shift is underway around how governments and industry successfully advance natural resource and energy infrastructure projects on First Nation lands and in our traditional territories. Major projects that impact our lands must be designed, built, operated, and decommissioned in a good way. Free, prior, and informed consent cannot be an afterthought.

The Government of Canada’s latest commitment to launch a loan guarantee program that supports Indigenous equity participation in major natural resource projects is a significant shift in these respects. First Nations can leverage the new program to participate meaningfully as architects of Canada’s economic and energy futures.

For far too long, the inability to access competitively priced capital to make equity investments in major projects has sidelined First Nations from receiving a fair share of the economic returns from natural resource and energy infrastructure projects developed in our backyards. Systemic barriers that historically discriminated against First Nations, such as the Indian Act, persist today and prevent us from participating equitably in Canada’s economy.

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