Government of Canada invests in Indigenous organizations and tourism in southern Ontario

News release

FedDev Ontario announces over $12.4 million to help support jobs and opportunities in Indigenous communities across southern Ontario

August 9, 2020 – Waterloo (Ontario)

Today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a time to recognize the contributions of those who’ve called this land home since time immemorial. No relationship is more important to the Government of Canada than that with Indigenous peoples, a Nation-to-Nation partnership. This commitment includes major investments in housing, education and health care, implementing co-developed legislation on Indigenous languages and child and family services, and introducing federal legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

As we walk the road of reconciliation together and weather the impact of COVID-19, the federal government remains committed to creating economic opportunities for Indigenous businesses and communities, as well as in the Indigenous tourism industry. The entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, history and traditions of Indigenous communities strengthen Canadian values and identity, and advancing them is important to both our society and our economy.

Creating opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities in southern Ontario

Today, on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario), announced a total of $12.43 million for eight organizations to promote Indigenous economic growth, culture and tourism in southern Ontario.

This funding includes more than $10 million towards Aboriginal Impact Capital (AIC), a partnership between four Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) serving First Nations and Métis-owned businesses in southern Ontario. This strategic investment establishes a new capital pool, helping to provide mid-market Indigenous small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), on and off reserve, with the additional financing needed to scale their businesses. It represents a significant contribution by the Government of Canada and will enable participating AFIs to accelerate growth of Indigenous SMEs.  As these businesses expand, it will also enhance employment opportunities for Indigenous peoples across the region.

Additional recipients of today’s announcement include: Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation #29, Indigenous Tourism Ontario, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Ottawa Tourism, and Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation. These projects will improve and expand Indigenous cultural attractions in Indigenous communities across the region. In addition to synergies created with surrounding tourism and business associations, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) will also receive funding to create an Indigenous Business Directory, to open new opportunities for Indigenous peoples and contribute to their growth and economic sustainability. 

For more information about the projects, please see the Backgrounder


“When we support Indigenous businesses and tourism organizations, we are strengthening our communities with the rich Indigenous heritage that is the backbone of our country. Together, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that Indigenous enterprises have the proper resources to successfully participate in the Canadian economy, and that Indigenous tourism continues to grow.”
Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario)

“True reconciliation means supporting Indigenous communities and businesses by providing opportunities for their success. This investment from FedDev Ontario will do just that – helping Indigenous businesspeople to seize opportunities, helping Indigenous organizations deliver important local projects and supporting Indigenous communities on their path to self-sufficiency and prosperity. I’m excited to see the difference that this investment will make for Indigenous communities across Southern Ontario.”
—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Quick facts

  • International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed each year on August 9 to promote and protect the rights of the world’s Indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that Indigenous peoples make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.

  • Since November 1, 2015, FedDev Ontario has supported more than 110 Indigenous projects with funding of over $104 million.

  • In August 2019, FedDev Ontario announced a $5 million contribution for the establishment of the Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ICIE) in Toronto.

  • In September 2019, FedDev Ontario announced a $4.9 million contribution over three years to the First Nations Technical Institute (FTNI) to increase its capacity while helping to break down some of the barriers currently facing Indigenous peoples in pursuing careers in aviation. FTNI is an Indigenous-owned post-secondary institute offering unique educational opportunities for Indigenous peoples. The First People’s Aviation Technology program at FTNI is the only Indigenous aviation post-secondary program of its kind in Canada.

  • Under the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund, FedDev Ontario is providing support through Queen’s University, Wilfrid Laurier University, North & Central Hastings and South Algonquin CFDC, and Pillar Nonprofit to provide targeted training programs, in some cases co-created with local First Nations, to remove barriers that Indigenous female entrepreneurs encounter in starting and growing their businesses. In addition, $1.2 million is being provided to the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation Association to support close to 1,000 Indigenous female entrepreneurs nationally to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills and develop their businesses.

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Associated links


Alexander Cohen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Media Relations
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
Toll Free: 1-866-593-5505

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