The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) unveiled details of its Indigenous Equity Initiative (IEI) designed to support First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities in purchasing equity ownership stakes in infrastructure projects within their traditional territories that the CIB is also investing in.

Equity loans to Indigenous communities is part of the CIB’s commitment to invest at least $1 billion in Indigenous infrastructure.

“The CIB’s plan to offer Indigenous equity is designed to help First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities to purchase ownership stakes in key infrastructure projects. We look forward to delivering on this initiative and expanding our mandate so we can get more infrastructure built faster and increase Indigenous economic partnership,” said Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank.

The CIB’s new Indigenous Equity Initiative will:

  • Accelerate transformative infrastructure projects across Canada which are in the public interest;
  • Fill a market gap by providing access to capital currently unavailable for most Indigenous communities; and
  • Be another step toward to the federal objective of reconciliation and economic inclusion of Indigenous communities and peoples.

“The federal government welcomes CIB’s launch of the new Indigenous Equity Initiative. This is an important promise we made in Budget 2023 to help build an economy that works for Indigenous Peoples. With the announcement today, we are continuing our work to build strong partnerships that will increase economic opportunities for them, their communities, and their businesses,” said Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities.

Indigenous equity participation across CIB’s five priority sectors is expected to involve projects such as clean electricity transmission, battery storage, electricity generation and infrastructure to support critical mineral development.

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“Providing Indigenous nations with competitively priced capital should help to get more infrastructure built and improve the lives of First Nation, Métis and Inuit people from coast to coast to coast. Indigenous equity is another tool the CIB is deploying as part of its commitment to invest at least $1 billion in Indigenous communities and support economic reconciliation,” said Hillary Thatcher, Managing Director, Investments, Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Indigenous communities often lack access to capital in order to purchase equity stakes and be active participants in infrastructure developments. Market lenders are often unwilling to lend to Indigenous communities against these equity stakes.

Enabling Indigenous participation is an important element in ensuring new infrastructure projects across Canada can bring long-term economic benefits to Indigenous communities.

“The Indigenomics Institute is converging ideas, resources, tools and people to grow the Indigenous economy. The CIB’s Indigenous Equity Initiative is one step towards Indigenous participation and ownership of important infrastructure projects which can spur real economic benefits in our communities,” said Carol Anne Hilton, CEO and Founder, The Indigenomics Institute and Global Centre of Indigenomics.

Featured image: Indigenous equity can be used to help purchase stakes in projects such as energy. (CNW Group/Canada Infrastructure Bank)

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