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Feds promise long-awaited Indigenous loan guarantee program, but offer few details – CityNews

Nov 22, 2023

OTTAWA — The “next steps” for a long-awaited Indigenous loan guarantee program will be announced in next year’s federal budget, the Liberal government promised in its fall economic statement on Tuesday.

But industry groups and Indigenous leaders are still waiting for details on whether the program, which the fiscal update said would help communities invest in the natural resource sector, will facilitate equity ownership in oil and gas projects.

It is important for help to be available across all sectors, the First Nations Major Project Coalition said on Tuesday after the government promised to “advance development” of loan guarantees.

“We hope to see a program that ultimately seeks to respect the rights of First Nations to participate in projects on their lands, as they wish,” said a statement from the coalition, a group of more than 130 Indigenous Nations working to ensure First Nations communities get a fair share of the benefits from projects that cross their territories.

A loan guarantee would protect lenders from potential defaults by including language that a third party — in this case, the federal government — would pay the bill should the borrower default.

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