Joint Primer: National Roundtable on Indigenous Access to Capital in Canada

May 10, 2022
Greg D'Avignon
Guest Authors

Natural Resources Canada convened the National Roundtable on Indigenous Access to Capital on April 27, 2022 in Vancouver, B.C. to explore challenges and possible solutions to addressing Canada’s waning competitiveness in the natural resource and infrastructure sectors and to develop Indigenous economic prosperity.

The First Nations Major Project Coalition (FNMPC) and the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) commissioned this primer in advance of the roundtable to provoke questions and solutions for the roundtable discussion on Indigenous access to capital in Canada.

Canada can boost its economic prosperity, including the building of new clean energy infrastructure to meet Paris Agreement commitments, by enhancing the deliberate economic inclusion of Indigenous nations in all aspects of economic development. This approach of Indigenous inclusion relates directly to six main issues in Canada today – each of which are discussed below:

The FNMPC and the BCBC have identified six challenges that Canada needs to address:

  1. Canada’s economy is slowing, in part because of uncertainty surrounding new economic projects;
  2. Canada is at risk of continued weakened levels of business non-residential investment and worsening capital flight/avoidance. We need to de-risk infrastructure and industrial development projects by addressing Indigenous consent;
  3. The Indian Act and other factors make it difficult for Indigenous nations to participate fully in the economy as owners of assets and thus from having access to capital, generating own-source income and contributing to the economy;
  4. Under Canada’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, Canada is committed to, but is far from achieving, economic reconciliation with Indigenous nations;
  5. Canada has committed to both near term and 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets, which require new clean energy projects built on Indigenous lands;
  6. Canada has a mandate and the budget to develop a national benefits-sharing framework.

Canada can begin to address these problems by building a national Indigenous access to capital program.

Specifically, Canada needs to facilitate access to capital for Indigenous nations. This additional support could include three mechanisms:

  1. An Indigenous Infrastructure Bank that provides debt to projects; and
  2. An Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program that backs Indigenous equity purchases into major projects in their Indigenous territories.
  3. Indigenous access to business capacity and negotiation supports for Indigenous nations at the earliest possible stage of a project.

For more details, download the full report.

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