Building economic opportunities for the Mi'kmaq of PEI 

News release

PEI First Nation Councils establish new development organization and facility

August 13, 2021 · Charlottetown, PE · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Closing the economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples represents a significant step toward reconciliation.

That is why the Government of Canada is investing to help the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils Inc. identify and secure economic development opportunities for the Mi’kmaq population in Prince Edward Island.

Indigenous economic development office provides new opportunities

Today, Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, announced a non-repayable contribution of $632,514 to the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils Inc. (EAC) to advance the self-sufficiency of the PEI Mi’kmaq and strengthen their role in the provincial economy.

The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.

This funding will help establish a shared Indigenous economic development office for the two First Nation Councils of PEI, Lennox Island First Nation and Abegweit First Nation. In this new facility, the EAC will continue its work with Indigenous economic development leaders, businesses and communities to support skills development and key initiatives that will enhance Indigenous economic opportunities for growth.

Today’s announcement further demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting Indigenous economic development in Atlantic Canada and moving forward on the path to reconciliation.

Quotes

“The Government of Canada has an ambitious plan for economic and social recovery and, as we know, together we are stronger. Our plans involve collaboration, and we know that the success of Indigenous businesses is a key piece to building a strong, innovative and inclusive economy.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA 

“I am proud to represent the Government of Canada and work with the Mi’kmaq communities of Prince Edward Island to promote understanding of Mi’kmaq rights and culture, and create economic opportunity for all. The new economic development office is a step forward, building on recent investments like the new Urban Indigenous Centre to rightly establish Mi’kmaq peoples and Mi’kmaq-owned businesses as key contributors to the Island’s economy.”
- Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown

“Economic self-sufficiency is fundamental to self-determination. Epekwitk Development will enable the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq to collaborate on large scale, province-wide projects that will assist PEI First Nations in taking steps toward the economic self-sufficiency that we require.” 
- Chief Darlene Bernard, Lennox Island First Nation

“The Chiefs and Councils of PEI’s First Nations created Epekwitk Development to develop a new stream of own-source revenue that we can use to fund our individual Band priorities.”
- Chief Junior Gould, Abegweit First Nation

Quick facts

  • The funding announced today is provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Innovative Communities Fund (ICF).

  • The economic development office for the Mi’kmaq of PEI will be under the guidance and management of the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils Inc. (EAC). 

  • In 2002, the Lennox Island and Abegweit First Nation Councils partnered to establish the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI Inc. (MCPEI). Its role is to act as a forum to address Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Prince Edward Island Mi'kmaq.

  • In 2019, the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI Inc. (MCPEI), officially changed its corporate name to the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils Inc. (EAC) and launched its new organization, L'Nuey, which is now responsible for the activities related to the protection and implementation of Mi'kmaq rights in PEI.

  • The Epekwitk Assembly of Councils Inc. (EAC) operates shared programs and services through the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI Inc. (MCPEI), while L'Nuey serves as the Mi'kmaq rights forum in PEI.

Contacts

Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic
Development and Official Languages
Catherine.Mounier-Desrochers@canada.ca


Leonard MacPherson
Senior Communications Officer, Prince Edward Island
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Leonard.MacPherson@ACOA-APECA.GC.CA


Matt McGuire
Executive Director
Epekwitk Development
mmcguire@epekwitkdevelopment.ca


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