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The Canada Infrastructure Bank's Indigenous Equity Initiative - A Game Changer for First Nations

First Nations Fighting for Economic Development Rights!

First Nations have long posed a question that resonates through the annals of history: "How come our community has been left out of major development?"

It is a question that has echoed through generations of First Nation history, punctuated by roadblocks, demonstrations, lobbying, media coverage and even fasting outside the offices of Indigenous Services Canada. First Nations have refused to be silenced and through their unwavering determination, they have compelled governments and courts to listen to the voices of the people.

New World Order: First Nations are Now Assured a Seat at the Table

Over the past decade, courts and governments have acknowledged these rights and mandated meaningful consultations between companies and First Nations. The era of companies merely sending letters to First Nations to inform them of consultations is long gone.

Over the years, TheCCSGroup has witnessed various forms of collaboration and partnerships formed between companies and First Nations such as the Manitoulin Island-Northland windmill partnership or the green energy project in Batchwana First Nation in which First Nations can invest in projects and acquire equity in windmill initiatives.

Partnerships with major corporations such as Miller Paving, along with with Shwe Miikaan, allowed First Nations on Highway 69 to advocate for government procurement allocations for projects on their lands with shared profits and capacity-building opportunities.

The Latest Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB) Proposal Makes the Most Long-Term Sense!

In TheCCSGroup’s opinion, if you truly want to involve First Nations in economic development initiatives/projects within their own backyard -   Cash is King’.

Now, the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has taken a monumental step forward with its Indigenous Equity Initiative (IEI) reshaping the landscape for First Nations and infrastructure projects in their traditional territories.

The CIB's Indigenous Equity Initiative is poised to accelerate transformative infrastructure projects across Canada serving the public interest while filling a market gap by providing access to capital that has been largely unavailable to most Indigenous communities. This initiative aligns with the federal objective of reconciliation and economic inclusion for Indigenous communities and peoples.

The Key Features of the CIB's Indigenous Equity Initiative include:

Access to Capital: Indigenous communities often face barriers when trying to purchase equity stakes in infrastructure projects. Market lenders have traditionally been reluctant to lend against these equity stakes. The CIB's initiative seeks to enable Indigenous participation by offering competitively priced capital to Indigenous nations.

Investment Commitment: The CIB has committed to invest at least $1 billion in Indigenous infrastructure reflecting a commitment to support economic reconciliation and Indigenous economic partnership.

Scope of Participation: Indigenous equity participation is expected to encompass projects in critical sectors such as clean electricity transmission, battery storage, electricity generation and infrastructure to support critical mineral development.

How Do First Nations Position Themselves for these Opportunities?
  1. 1. Get a Memorandum of Understanding with your interested private sector partner.
  2. 2. Put together a solid Joint-Venture or Partnership Agreement.
  3. 3. Determine Cost and Revenue Sharing Model.
  4. 4. First Nation combines grant contributions to the project from Government Programs with CIB Funding.

Are Government Programs and Funding Envelopes no Longer Needed?

What every First Nation looking at CIB funding as a way to get into the action needs to understand is that Canadian Infrastructure Bank doesn’t offer money for free, their payback will be embedded in the future profits of the venture. The more the First Nations can maximize their contribution outside of CIB funding, the more they can keep the profits for their First Nations.

TheCCSGroup has been assisting communities and organizations maximize both government funding envelopes and low cost loans for major projects.  If you have a project you want to discuss and see what government funding opportunities can be accessed, feel free to book a free consultation appointment with one of our senior consultants.

For more insight on the program, click here.

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