Government of Canada supports Indigenous-owned businesses in the Atlantic Region affected by COVID-19

News release

July 12, 2021 — Membertou First Nation, unceded traditional Mi'kmaq territory — Indigenous Services Canada

The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting all Indigenous businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and into recovery. In June 2021, the Government of Canada announced the renewal of the Indigenous Community Business Fund (ICBF). This provided a further $117 million to support Indigenous microbusinesses and community- or collectively-owned businesses across the country that do not qualify for other existing business supports, and whose revenues have been affected by COVID-19.

Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced support for the operation, planning and positioning for recovery of Indigenous community businesses in the Atlantic Region through the ICBF. Over $13 million in non-repayable financial contributions will help Indigenous community- or collectively-owned businesses to strengthen operations, support their viability and position them for recovery.

The ICBF has supported every Indigenous community in the Atlantic Region. This includes, for example, $1.5 million to Membertou First Nation businesses to help relieve financial pressure and keeping members employed and businesses open.

Today's announcement demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to make the investments needed to help Indigenous communities emerge from the pandemic downturn stronger than before.


"The renewal of the Indigenous Community Business Fund will help community-or collectively-owned businesses and microbusinesses to continue taking steps toward full economic recovery. This funding will strengthen economies in Indigenous communities, which will in turn contribute to a more resilient and inclusive economy in Atlantic Canada."

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

"Like many Canadians, our community felt the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. With our operations halted, the Indigenous Community Business Fund provided significant relief and support for us during stressful days. The support of the fund will greatly improve our path to recovery following the pandemic."

Chief Terry Paul
Chief and CEO, Membertou First Nation

Quick facts

  • Membertou is a Mi'kmaq community located on Unama'ki, Cape Breton Island.

  • Membertou's population is 1,695, which includes both on- and off-reserve members.

  • Budget 2021 included a number of other investments to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses, and economic development, such as

    • $33.4 million in 2021–22 to support the First Nations Finance Authority pooled borrowing regime.
    • $42 million over three years, starting in 2021–22, to expand the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program.
    • $2.4 million in 2021–22 to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to help the Indigenous tourism industry rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
    • $22 million over three years, starting in 2021–22, to support the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association's (NACCA) Indigenous Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative by providing tools, services and resources to increase the number of Indigenous women entrepreneurs. This funding would support NACCA in achieving its target of increasing the number of Indigenous women entrepreneurs who access financing through Aboriginal Financial Institutions by 50%.
  • Today's announcement is in addition to other measures available through Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which provide direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Adrienne Vaupshas
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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