Canada Supports Increased Indigenous Participation in the Natural Resources Economy

News release

March 18, 2021                                                            Ottawa, Ontario                                      Natural Resources Canada

The meaningful participation of Indigenous Peoples in oil and gas projects provides important economic opportunities for their communities.

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., today announced $2.6 million in funding for the First Nations Major Projects Coalition, as well as $1 million in funding for the First Nations Climate Initiative. Both of these initiatives will increase Indigenous participation in the natural resources economy by developing collaborative relationships between industry and government, increasing certainty around First Nations participation in major project development and advancing meaningful engagement.

There is no relationship more important to the Government of Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. Canada is ensuring Indigenous groups have access to the resources they need to support them as equal partners in natural resource projects.

The First Nations Major Projects Coalition examines how to facilitate Indigenous ownership of major resource projects and how to improve environmental practices while providing support to Indigenous communities to undertake natural resource projects.

The First Nations Climate Initiative will develop climate change mitigation policies that simultaneously increase Canada’s efforts in addressing climate change and enhance First Nations’ capacity to achieve self-determination through participation in natural resource projects.

Both initiatives received funding through the Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships (INRP) program, which provides support to Indigenous communities and organizations in British Columbia and Alberta to increase their participation in economic opportunities related to oil and gas infrastructure development. By extending INRP funding for both the First Nations Major Projects Coalition and the First Nations Climate Initiative, we are capitalizing on the INRP’s success and advancing reconciliation. 

Natural Resources Canada is currently accepting applications for the INRP. For details on how to apply to the program and submit a project proposal, eligibility requirements and assessment criteria, visit the INRP website.


“Both the First Nations Major Projects Coalition and the First Nations Climate Initiative will help Indigenous communities respond to opportunities and create economic benefits.”

Seamus O’Regan Jr.
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“The First Nations Major Projects Coalition provides support to First Nations in making informed business decisions concerning their participation in major projects. Our services are helping to fill a critical capacity gap faced by many First Nations, and this funding will ensure that we can continue to meet the needs of our members.”

Chief Sharleen Gale
Chair of First Nations Major Projects Coalition

“We are pleased to be partnering with NRCan on the First Nations Climate Initiative (FNCI). FNCI has been a collaboration since its inception in the fall of 2019. We have achieved much in that timeframe as a result of working together with as many people, organizations, industries and other governments as possible. Our vision as Indigenous leaders is to spur the low-carbon economy of the future by way of infrastructure development projects that align with achieving climate targets and that attract significant private sector investment to the benefit of all British Columbians.”

President Eva Clayton
Nisga’a Lisims Government

“The FNCI is intent on increasing Indigenous participation and ownership in economic opportunities related to gas infrastructure development, including net-zero LNG on the North Coast, so all our communities can achieve economic self-determination. We are leading our communities out of poverty in a manner that addresses climate change on a local and global scale, which is to everyone’s benefit.”

Chief Crystal Smith
Haisla Nation

“We invite everyone who shares these aspirations to join us. More importantly, we invite those who don’t or may be skeptical that this is a greenwash for LNG development, to speak with us. We need real solutions to these shared challenges, and we can only achieve that together.”

Chief Harold Leighton
Metlakatla First Nation

Quick facts

  • The First Nations Major Projects Coalition’s (FNMPC) work is helping to create ways forward in which Indigenous communities can become true partners in resource and infrastructure development that is taking place on their territories. By bringing First Nations communities together, building governance frameworks and economic capacity, and strengthening environmental stewardship, the FNMPC can empower First Nations and help mitigate many types of risks to development on First Nations traditional territories. 

  • The First Nations Climate Initiative (FNCI) works collaboratively with LNG proponents, environmental NGOs and other interested parties on: the development of climate change mitigation policies that simultaneously increase Canada’s contribution to mitigating climate change globally and enhance the First Nations’ capacity to achieve self-determination through participation in natural gas development opportunities; and, options and opportunities to construct energy infrastructure that will increase the availability of electricity from renewable sources to power gas pipelines, natural gas plants and related infrastructure.

  • On December 16, 2020, the FNMPC and FNCI signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to advance an Indigenous-led net-zero policy framework concerning major energy and infrastructure development. Collectively, the FNMPC and FNCI bring together 70 First Nations covering over six provinces and territories across Canada to lead and own economic development projects that contribute to national and global strategies to achieve net-zero by 2050 while supporting economic self-determination for their communities. 

  • Other projects have received funding through INRP in 2019–20, including:

    • Pimee Well Servicing – $350,000 for the Rig 11 Freestanding Double Rig Modernization Project. This project is supporting an Indigenous company, wholly owned by six Alberta First Nations, in expanding its customer base and diversifying its services by undertaking a modernization project and retrofitting an oil rig.
    • Chu Cho Environmental – $80,000 for Building Technological Capacity for Chu Cho Environmental and Wai Wah Environmental To Increase Economic Participation in Energy Infrastructure Projects. This project is supporting Kitselas First Nation and its partner Tsay Keh Dene Nation in developing a cohesive digital strategy and implementation plan that will increase their capacity to participate individually and as partners in economic opportunities related to energy infrastructure projects.

Associated links


Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

Ian Cameron
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources


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