TORONTO – BUSINESS – Over 300 First Nation leaders and economic development officers are gathering with government and industry this week at the Ontario First Nation Economic Forum (OFNEF), October 12-13 in Toronto. “First Nations in Ontario are poised to become a powerful economic force in terms of natural, renewable, and human resources,” said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day. “The Political Accord signed between the Chiefs of Ontario and the Province last year has renewed our relationship and breathed life into our Treaty rights, particularly in terms of jurisdiction and control of our lands.
The two-day event features a sold-out tradeshow and keynote speakers such as Chief Clarence Louie, Chair of the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board (NAEBD); Gary Davis, former CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) and newly appointed Executive Director of the Native American Financial Services Association; and Ted Nolan, former NHL coach and entrepreneur.
One of the key outcomes of OFNEF will be ensuring that First Nations become equal partners and equal proponents in local and provincial economies,” added Regional Chief Day. “Once that is accomplished, First Nations will become the economic engines that will generate prosperity for all.”
OFNEF also features panels and workshops, key topics to include: Joint ventures; infrastructure; climate change; employment and training; social innovation and financing; energy; trade; and resource revenue and benefit sharing. Panel moderators to be featured are JP Gladu, President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and Clint Davis, the new Indigenous VP of Acasta Capital.
At the Gala Banquet on Wednesday, October 12, Tim Hortons will be honoured with an “Excellence in Partnership with First Nations” Award in recognition of the current work on establishing franchises in First Nation communities.