Budget 2024: Ottawa offers up to $5B in loan guarantees for Indigenous communities

OTTAWA — The federal government is offering up to $5 billion in loan guarantees for Indigenous communities to invest in natural resource and energy projects.

The Indigenous loan guarantee teased last fall and detailed in today’s budget is sector-agnostic, meaning communities can decide which projects to invest in without government parameters.

First Nations business leaders have long called for the program to allow for investments in oil and gas projects, in an effort to exercise their self-determination.

The First Nations Major Projects Coalition anticipates Indigenous participation in the natural resource and energy sector could reach $525 billion in capital investments over the next 10 years.

But the Indian Act that governs First Nations doesn’t allow them to put up their land as collateral, making financing projects more challenging.

Ottawa says Indigenous communities need access to fair and affordable capital to fully benefit from those opportunities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press