Canada Invests in Indigenous-led Forest Economy in Quebec

News release

August 13, 2021                                       Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec                         Natural Resources Canada

Canada’s forest sector is an important source of employment for many Indigenous communities. The Government of Canada is investing in Indigenous-led development projects across the country to promote new economic opportunities in the forest sector and in their communities.

Marc G. Serré, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, on behalf of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, today announced a $605,000 investment in two biomass projects in the Lac-Saint-Jean region:

  • $400,000 to Akua Nature Inc. to support the construction of new infrastructure that will allow for the conversion of forest biomass into natural health products, based on traditional First Nations medicine.
  • $205,000 to Inukshuk Synergie to help operationalize its plan for having franchises commercialize its biomass energy heating systems, providing a turnkey energy solution to communities in the region.

These investments will create employment as well as increased knowledge and economic opportunities for Indigenous participation in the forest sector on their traditional lands. We recognize the value, both economically and spiritually, that the forest sector brings to these communities, and we’re working toward building a stronger Indigenous forest sector.

The funding is part of Natural Resources Canada’s Indigenous Forestry Initiative, which provides financial support to Indigenous-led economic development projects in Canada’s forest sector. Benefits of the program include increased Indigenous participation, engagement and economic development in forestry-related opportunities, businesses, careers and governance.

By investing in Indigenous participation in the forest sector, we can advance Indigenous self-determination, close socio-economic gaps and provide greener solutions that tackle climate change and transition toward a low-carbon economy.

Quotes

“Indigenous Peoples play a critical role in Canada’s forest sector. Investments like these support workers, their families and the community, all while advancing innovation in the industry and reconciliation between Canada and the Indigenous Peoples who have lived on this territory since time immemorial.”

Marc G. Serré
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

“Indigenous Peoples are taking economic development into their own hands and succeeding. The Indigenous Forestry Initiative supports Indigenous forestry workers and businesses with new opportunities to expand operations and grow while bringing local benefits to their communities.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr.
Minister of Natural Resources

“Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs are essential to Canada’s economic recovery. This investment in Indigenous knowledge will create economic opportunities for the Mashteuiatsh First Nation and the Lac-Saint-Jean region. We will continue to work with our Indigenous partners in Quebec, and all across Canada, to find green energy solutions and fight climate change.”

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

“With the support of the Indigenous Forestry Initiative for these two projects, we will be able to develop new products and services that will allow First Nations expertise to shine, build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and make sustainable investments in our community.”

Mélanie Paul
Co-president, Akua Nature
President, Inukshuk Synergie

“Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan has agreed to use $125,000 (Akua) from the Aboriginal Initiatives Fund III, Economic Development component, Entrepreneurship category of the Government of Quebec to support this initiative, which is fully in line with our values as a contributing nation to regional development. When it comes to the economy and job creation for our people, we have always been and will continue to be open, especially when it comes to sustainable development projects that are focused on the future and that defend our most fundamental values.”

Jonathan Germain
Vice-chief, Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan 

“When projects like these are established in our community, everyone wins. Especially since these projects are guided by an accomplished and recognized businesswoman in the person of Melanie Paul. As you can see, we are open to participate in economic projects on Nitassinan, as long as they respect our environmental values. Our knowledge and our spiritual link with Mother Earth remain essential to the development of the entire region, and we are proud to be by your side today.”

Sylvie Langevin
Vice-chief, Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan  

Associated links

Contacts

Ian Cameron
Acting Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources
613-447-3488
Ian.Cameron@canada.ca


Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
343-292-6100
NRCan.media.RNCan@canada.ca



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