Diversity & Inclusion
Saskatchewan creates new agency to grow Indigenous involvement in economy
Saskatchewan is creating a new entity to grow Indigenous involvement in the province’s economy.
The province has introduced new legislation to create the Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation (SIIFC), which will support Indigenous participation in the province’s natural resource and value-added agriculture sectors.
The SIIFC will offer loan guarantees to eligible First Nations and Métis communities and organizations to support investment in forestry, mining, oil and gas, energy production and value-added agriculture projects.
“Saskatchewan is fortunate to already have a number of successful Indigenous-led companies and organizations that are strong contributors to our province’s economic growth,” Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said. “The SIIFC will enable more Indigenous involvement in our key natural resource and agri-value sectors, which will create economic opportunities in Indigenous communities and right across Saskatchewan.”
Access to capital a key roadblock
Through regular discussions with Indigenous business owners, Indigenous leaders and officials from major resource companies, a lack of access to capital was identified as the primary barrier to Indigenous equity ownership of natural resource and value-added agriculture projects.
The SIIFC will help to address this need by providing up to $75 million in loan guarantees for eligible projects. Minimum loan guarantees will be $5 million.
“The SIIFC is a good start to providing support to First Nations to be leaders in energy development if they so desire,” Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Vice Chief Heather Bear said. “I look forward to heightened investment and collaborative partnerships in years to come working with First Nations and the province on this initiative. The First Nations are not against resource development, but rather, they support responsible and environmentally sound developments, and this legislation will allow us to work towards that end. When the First Nations benefit, the provincial economy does, too.”
“We have been working together in partnership with the province and First Nations representatives since January to develop the framework of the Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation (SIIFC),” Métis Nation–Saskatchewan President Glen McCallum said. “The establishment of the SIIFC is a huge step forward for Métis and First Nation community-owned businesses in the resource, energy, and agricultural sectors. The availability of major project funding will further economic growth in Saskatchewan and our Métis communities.”
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