Federal investment supports upgrades to Indigenous innovation centre in Tofino

News release

District of Tofino, British Columbia, December 8, 2023 — The federal government is investing over $4.9 million to retrofit and upgrade the IISAAK Learning Lodge at the Pacific Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) Innovation Centre’s Clayoquot Campus. Four private companies – RJC Engineers, AME Mechanical, Number TEN Architectural Group, and AES Engineering Ltd. – are supporting the project.

By renovating this key piece of social infrastructure, the Clayoquot Campus can continue to support the weaving of Indigenous and western knowledge systems for the restoration and conservation of cultural and biological diversity. The Campus serves Indigenous Nations and governments in establishing and governing IPCAs in the Pacific Region by coordinating knowledge sharing programs and activities, curriculum, research, and events. The building that will be renovated is a hub where people come together in Ethical Space to learn and share knowledge about Indigenous-led conservation. It is a central component of the Campus.

Announced by Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Joe Martin, Tla-o-qui-aht Master Carver and knowledge holder, this project will upgrade the IISAAK Learning Lodge at the Pacific IPCA Innovation Centre’s Clayoquot Campus to make it more accessible, achieve meaningful energy savings, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Upgrades to the interior and exterior of the building and geothermal and solar energy system installations are expected to reduce the Campus’s energy consumption by an estimated 11.8% and greenhouse gas emissions by 3.3 tonnes annually.

After completion of the project, the IISAAK Learning Lodge will host and mobilize a diverse partner network to support up to 10 Indigenous Nations across British Columbia and Canada per year through capacity development and knowledge mobilization. Programs will include language programs, community engaged research, and educational workshops related to Indigenous-led conservation. The Clayoquot Campus is also expected to welcome 10,000 non‑Indigenous visitors per year to learn about the benefits of sustainable infrastructure, ecosystem restoration, and Nuu-chah-nulth culture through tours and outreach.


“Investing in green infrastructure makes sense for our environment, our communities, and our economy. Upgrades to the Pacific IPCA Innovation Centre will not only reduce operational costs and GHG emissions, but more importantly create an accessible and safe space to celebrate the Nuu-chah-nulth culture and history. The federal government will continue to work with its Indigenous, provincial and local partners to invest in public community buildings that support more resilient and inclusive communities across Canada.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“This retrofit project will ensure that Nuu-chah-nulth Elders and knowledge holders can safely access an important place of teaching and learning. It will also create a culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable space that honours Nuu-chah-nulth principles of respect for our human and non-human relations by lowering our dependence on fossil fuels and honouring our deep respect for the power of the sun. This project honours our way of life and presents an inspiring example for others to replicate.”

Joe Martin, Tla-o-qui-aht Master Carver

Quick facts

  • The federal government is investing $4,942,902 in this project through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program. Four private companies – RJC Engineers, AME Mechanical, Number TEN Architectural Group, and AES Engineering Ltd. – are also supporting the project.

  • The GICB program aims to improve the places Canadians work, learn, play, live, and come together by cutting pollution, making them more affordable, and supporting thousands of jobs. Through green and other upgrades to existing public community buildings and new builds in underserved communities, the GICB program helps ensure community facilities are inclusive, accessible, and have a long service life, while also helping Canada move towards its net-zero objectives by 2050.

  • At least 10 percent of funding is allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples.

  • The GICB program was created in support of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy. It is supporting the Plan’s first pillar through reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, and helping communities develop a higher resilience to climate change.

  • The program is providing $1.5 billion over five years towards green and accessible retrofits, repairs, or upgrades.

  • For more information, please visit the Infrastructure Canada website.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Micaal Ahmed
Communications Manager
Office of the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
Email: media-medias@infc.gc.ca
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Web: Infrastructure Canada

Eli Enns
Co-founder and CEO
IISAAK OLAM Foundation

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