Government of Canada launches the Indigenous Leadership Fund to support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis climate action
November 14, 2023 – Gatineau, Quebec
Indigenous partners, the original stewards of land, water, and ice, are producing green energy and making significant contributions to lowering Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions through Indigenous-owned and led renewable energy projects. Supporting Indigenous climate leadership is key to helping Canada meet its 2030 emissions reduction target and net-zero emissions by 2050.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced the launch of the Indigenous Leadership Fund, a new program developed in collaboration with First Nations representatives, Inuit organizations, and Métis governments. The Indigenous Leadership Fund provides up to $180 million to support Indigenous-owned and led renewable energy, energy efficiency, and low-carbon heating projects led by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. As of October 30, 2023, up to $73.9 million will be available for First Nations-led projects through a continuous intake process that will be open until March 31, 2027. The Métis and Inuit funding is being delivered over six years, starting from 2023, using a directed intake process.
The Minister was joined by Greg Gauchier, Chairman, Peavine Metis Settlement in Alberta; and Jeff Thrasher, General Manager, Evergreen BioHeat, representing the Tl’etinqox Community Bioheat Project in British Columbia, to highlight their leadership in climate change mitigation, as well as their remarkable accomplishments in transitioning to clean, reliable, and affordable energy, including:
- The Peavine Community Solar Farm Project received a federal investment of up to $8.5 million to install a solar system which will be tied to the Alberta grid, and which will offset a portion of Peavine Metis Settlement’s electricity needs.
- The Tl’etinqox Community Bioheat Project received a federal investment of over $1.8 million to install a biomass heating system to displace all the propane used in eight community buildings, a church, and a healing centre within the community.
First Nations, Inuit, and Métis have been leading the way on clean energy and making significant contributions to lowering greenhouse gas emissions as partners or beneficiaries of almost 20 percent of Canada’s electricity infrastructure. Investments in climate action initiatives, such as those announced today, reaffirm the Government of Canada’s commitment to fight climate change in partnership with Indigenous peoples, and its efforts to support reconciliation and integrate Indigenous Knowledge and perspective in the work toward a sustainable future for all.
“First Nations, Inuit, and Métis across Canada are taking remarkable action to fight climate change and adapt to its impacts. They are also the first guardians of nature and true stewards of environment conservation and protection. Today’s announcement celebrates the leadership, resilience, and important work Indigenous peoples are doing to preserve the environment and ensure that a habitable planet exists now, and for generations to come.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Indigenous peoples are on the frontlines of the climate crisis—they are disproportionately feeling the impacts of climate change in their communities, and they are taking real and ambitious action to drive down emissions and keep our air clean. These projects are evidence of that, and they will create good jobs and drive economic growth at the same time. We cannot turn the page on the climate crisis without First Nations, Inuit, and Métis at the helm. Today’s announcement is good news. More to do.”
– The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“As Canada builds a sustainable and prosperous future, Indigenous leaders are contributing to every part of this collective effort, including by deploying job-creating clean technologies. Through the launch of the Indigenous Leadership Fund, the Government of Canada reaffirms our commitment to supporting Indigenous-led solutions in the fight against climate change.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
“Peavine Metis Settlement is pleased to announce our partnership with Canada in our community solar project. Our joint efforts to address climate change and reconciliation will hopefully provide an example for others thinking about similar paths. This project will affect real change in the lives of the members of the Peavine Settlement community and will be a large contributor to our goal of achieving a carbon-neutral community.”
– Greg Gauchier, Chairman, Peavine Metis Settlement
“The Tl’etinqox Community Bioheat Project will reduce CO2 emissions by over 114 tonnes per year by replacing propane with biomass fuel. In addition, the Tl’etinqox Government will benefit from substantially reduced annual energy operating costs and additional economic benefits for the community and its forestry initiatives in the long term. The Project will also deliver dramatically lower heating costs for Tl’etinqox School, which will have a positive impact on the school’s budget and operations.”
– Jeff Thrasher, General Manager, Evergreen BioHeat
Canada launched the Emissions Reduction Plan in 2022, laying out steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Indigenous Leadership Fund is a new program under the Low Carbon Economy Fund. It provides up to $180 million by 2029 to support climate action by Indigenous peoples. The program will fund Indigenous-owned and led renewable energy, energy efficiency, and low-carbon heating projects.
Recognizing the unique rights, interests, and circumstances of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis governments, communities, and organizations, the Indigenous Leadership Fund will use a distinctions-based approach to deliver funding to support projects.
Proposals for the First Nations funding stream will be accepted until March 31, 2027, and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until available funding is allocated. More information on the program is available on the Indigenous Leadership Fund webpage.
Supporting Indigenous leadership and co-developing solutions to address climate change in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities is central to advancing the reconciliation journey and self-determination.
By advancing an Indigenous Climate Leadership Agenda, Canada is implementing Article 29 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. As part of this effort, the Government of Canada is working with Indigenous partners across the country to set the long-term approach to partnership on climate, which upholds and implements Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and right to participate in decision-making and ensures access to predictable and equitable funding for climate action.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
CIRNAC Media Relations
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