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New legislation to grow Indigenous economic involvement

The Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation or SIIFC is to be established to support Indigenous participation in natural resource and value-added agriculture projects, according to government officials.

This as legislation is being introduced to create the body which 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.

The SIIFC will provide up to $75 million in loan guarantees for eligible projects. Minimum loan guarantees will be $5 million.

Officials say regular discussions with Indigenous leaders and business owners, and representatives from major resource companies identify a lack of access to capital as the primary barrier to Indigenous equity ownership of natural resource and value-added agriculture projects.

Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison sees the prospect for greater economic growth.

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“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. 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.”

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Vice Chief Heather Bear says SIIFC is a good start to providing support to First Nations to be leaders in energy development.

“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.”

Métis Nation–Saskatchewan President Glen McCallum welcomes the advent of the SIIFC.

“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. 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.”

The SIIFC demonstrates the government’s commitment to economic reconciliation and increasing Indigenous participation in the economy, say officials.

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