ABPA commends Canada’s $5 Billion loan guarantee program

Jason Rasevych from ABPA
Jason Rasevych from ABPA

Robinson-Superior Treaty and Fort William First Nation Territory, Thunder Bay, Ontario – This week the Liberal government announced a $5 Billion commitment for the long-awaited National Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program in the federal budget. The program is aiming to help communities invest in the natural resource sector, facilitate equity ownership in energy, mining, forestry, and other infrastructure projects.

Jason Rasevych, President of the Anishnawbe Business Professionals Association, states:

“The announcement of a national Indigenous loan guarantee program is a positive commitment that protects lenders from potential defaults and derisks the cost of capital but much more needs to be disclosed on the governance of the program particularly how decisions are made and the criteria for social impact and project prioritization. First Nation leaders in Northern Ontario have been calling on a balanced approach for the new program to follow Indigenous-led values and the principles of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and to acknowledge Treaties.

“Independence on the decision making of the program will ensure that allocations for loan guarantees are not motivated by a government or political agendas. We need the loan guarantee program to enhance and support Indigenous communities looking to participate in various sectors at different financial thresholds of resource development and ownership of enabling infrastructure like corridors and facility ownership.

“Given Northern Ontario’s forest, water and mineral abundance, the region has an integral role to play in achieving economic reconciliation. Resource developers and governments will need to demonstrate understanding of the necessary and pivotal role that First Nations play within this paradigm given their unique rights and land title.

“While the announcement could be promising as a path to reconciliation and economic growth through its support of developing strong partnerships between industry proponents and First Nations, success will only be realized through effective roll out and accountability. The federal government will need to demonstrate a well-executed and collaborative approach of working with First Nations and Indigenous Financial Institutions.

“ABPA stands ready as an advocate for the First Nations business community and will be watching and eager to play a role in ensuring the above outlined programs meet the demands of the North”.

About the ABPA:

The Anishnawbe Business Professional Association (www.anishnawbebusiness.com) is a non-profit, member-based organization based in Thunder Bay, Ontario. ABPA serves the First Nation business community within the Treaty #3, Treaty#5, Treaty #9 and Robinson Huron and Superior Treaty Areas. The ABPA develops and expresses positions on business issues and other public issues relevant to First Nation business, on behalf of its members. They provide a forum for the First Nation business community to develop policies and programming which contribute to the socio-economic

well-being and quality of life of First Nations peoples in Northern Ontario. They also serve non-First Nation businesses by providing information, guidance, and access to a wide-ranging network through events and sponsorship.

The current ABPA Board of Directors includes:

  • Jason Rasevych, President, Ginoogaming First Nation
  • Ron Marano, Vice-President, North Caribou Lake First Nation
  • Jason Thompson, Secretary/Treasurer, Red Rock Indian Band
  • Rachael Paquette, Director, Mishkeegogamang First Nation
  • Brian Davey, Director, Moose Cree First Nation
  • Steven McCoy, Director, Garden River First Nation
  • Tony Marinaro, Director, Naicatchewenin First Nation
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