Ottawa, Sept. 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Conference Board of Canada, the country’s leading independent research organization, has today released a report examining the current landscape and the supports enabling Indigenous groups to pursue ownership and co-ownership of major projects. This paper is the first in a series of three studies that will also explore best practices across industry, government, and lenders and the link between Indigenous equity participation and self-determination.
“There has been a significant rise in Indigenous communities’ ownership of major projects across Canada, and a growing understanding across industries that Indigenous co-owners can bring certainty to these large-scale investments,” said Stefan Fournier, Director, Indigenous and Northern Communities at The Conference Board of Canada. “However, most Indigenous communities still lack access to the capacity and affordable capital needed to acquire meaningful levels of ownership. Industry, governments, and lenders collaborating with Indigenous communities can set the conditions for successful projects and shared prosperity.”
First Nations, Inuit, and Métis each face unique challenges as they chart their own paths toward major project ownership, and all must incur substantial upfront costs to evaluate projects and make informed decisions as a community.
Access to affordable capital is a major barrier to Indigenous equity participation—and it’s exacerbated by low community revenues, high project costs, and long-standing Indian Act restrictions. Loan guarantees are one effective means of enabling Indigenous access to capital despite these ongoing challenges. They are an appealing way for governments to support equity participation in major projects because they do not require an outlay of cash and because they benefit from the due diligence already conducted by a lender. Coordination and creativity are also unlocking new sources of private sector capital, but governments, industry, and lenders can do more to make equity participation a viable option for all Indigenous communities.
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