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Matawa Development Corporation and MOU Partners Meet to Address Community Infrastructure and Economic Growth

Press Release

[Thunder Bay, ON:] – The Matawa Development Corporation (MDC) formally reconvened its work with MOU partners today in a full-day Meet and Greet event in Thunder Bay focusing on economy and wealth creation. The event saw presentations from the MDC board of directors, leadership from the Matawa First Nations and MOU partners. It included a presentation from Enterprise Canada’s Lloyd Girman on “Progress Made Thus Far and the Way Forward.”

MDC, wholly owned by Matawa First Nations member communities, has decision-making power on what is built, when and how in Matawa communities and the surrounding region. “This is a positive step forward in building a strong economy for Matawa First Nations and the Matawa Development Corporation guided by our united vision to be self-sufficient, self-governing peoples living within a healthy, thriving culture,” said MDC President and Long Lake #58 First Nation Chief Judy Desmoulin.

MDC is working with four national companies with proven infrastructure development experience and communications expertise – Enterprise Canada, a national strategic communications and public affairs firm; EPCOR Canada, a company that builds, owns and operates electricity, natural gas and water products and services in Canada and the United States; Ontario Power Generation, the largest electricity generator in the province and PCL Construction, a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and in Australia. “We are taking charge of our economic future, embarking on real partnerships that will allow us to do it in a different way—our younger generations need us to develop different models so that they can have hope for a healthy, productive lives and have safe communities,” said MDC President Judy Desmoulin.

Under the direction of member communities, MDC will work with these companies to determine priority projects, how best to meet the infrastructure needs in Matawa communities and oversee construction and financing of infrastructure across the region. Clean water, housing, roads and other crucial community infrastructure to improve the lives of generations of First Nations people in Northern Ontario have already been identified.

“We are well-positioned over the coming period to determine our infrastructure and economic development opportunities with these companies, to direct and build critical infrastructure projects in the Matawa region, with our communities leading development,” said Desmoulin. “This is a collaborative effort to solidify new paths forward in developing community-based infrastructure projects within and beyond the traditional lands of the Matawa-member First Nations.” At their 33 rd annual general meeting last fall, Matawa leadership discussed these paths and hopes for the future including managing our own economies through increasing equity partnerships
which will build wealth creation.

The establishment of the MDC is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding with Matawa First Nations Chiefs and all four companies announced in March 2020 just prior to the global pandemic.

ADDITIONAL QUOTES

“We are proud to be working with Matawa Development Corporation to explore Indigenous owned and led projects that bring direct benefits to local communities. This approach keeps Matawa-member First Nations as active leaders and equal partners driving economic growth and crucial infrastructure development within their communities.”

— Barbara Fox, CEO, Enterprise Canada

“We are pleased to be working with Matawa Development Corporation to explore the future of water and wastewater projects for the region and Matawa First Nations communities. This strategic partnership will facilitate the provision of clean drinking water and environmentally sustainable sanitation infrastructure across the Matawa communities. Together, we can help achieve the vision of economic development, health and ecological balance for the Matawa region.”

— John Elford, Senior Vice President Commercial Services, EPCOR Utilities Inc.

“Discussions with Matawa Development Corporation, with communities leading the way, are a critical step in exploring innovative, energy-based solutions in their region. This collaborative partnership guided by the Matawa Development Corporation, will support the understanding of the energy needs in communities now and in the future, and determine how best to meet them.”

— Heather Ferguson, SVP Business Development, Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Ontario Power Generation

“PCL is proud to work with Matawa Development Corporation and its partners to identify and collaborate on economic development opportunities and crucial infrastructure projects at the direction of communities. PCL has a strong commitment to clients and partners who drive innovation, and we look forward to supporting Matawa’s vision and goals.”

— Kelly Wallace, Vice President and District Manager, PCL Construction

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For more information, please contact Carol Audet, Communications Manager – Matawa First Nations at
(807) 632-9663 or by email at [email protected]

About Matawa Development Corporation

The Matawa Development Corporation (MDC) is a newly formed for-profit entity that consists of several Matawa member communities. The MDC focus is on owning and operating large-scale regional businesses that will provide our membership with improved community infrastructure, project management, capacity building, employment and training opportunities. The MDC will approach development in an environmentally responsible and culturally appropriate manner. Together with our strategic partners, the MDC will establish business relationships that support our wholistic vision towards reaching our goals of self-determination through the creation of our own economy.

About Enterprise Canada Inc:

Enterprise is a national strategic communications firm founded in 1986. With more than 40 consultants drawn from senior levels in politics, government, media, marketing and business, Enterprise delivers a full range of communications, government relations, public affairs, digital and public relations services. Enterprise established its Infrastructure and Development Practice in 2018 with a team of industry leaders from across Canada to clear the way for sustainable development through partnerships that see Indigenous Peoples and communities directing projects and opportunities that impact them directly. For more information, please visit www.enterprisecanada.com

About EPCOR Utilities Inc:

EPCOR, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, builds, owns and operates electrical, natural gas and water transmission and distribution networks, water and wastewater treatment facilities, sanitary and stormwater systems, and infrastructure in Canada and the United States. The Company also provides electricity, natural gas and water products and services to residential and commercial customers. EPCOR, headquartered in Edmonton, is committed to conducting its business and operations safely and responsibly, while positively contributing to the environment and social causes in the communities it serves. EPCOR is ranked among Corporate Knights’ 2021 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. EPCOR’s website address is www.epcor.com.

About OPG:

OPG is the largest electricity generator in the province, providing almost half the power Ontarians rely on every day. It is also one of the most diverse generators in North America with nuclear, hydro, biomass, solar and gas assets. For more information, please visit www.opg.com

About PCL Construction:
PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in more than 30 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of $9 billion, making PCL the largest contracting organization in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Watch us build at PCL.com

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