Minister Sajjan announces $5.9M for Indigenous clean energy projects and digital skills training

News release

Image of workers installing solar panels. Text reads: $5.9M for Indigenous clean energy projects and digital skills training.

Support for two Indigenous-led economic development projects was unveiled at the 2023 Indigenous Partnerships Success Showcase

June 1, 2023 –Vancouver, British Columbia – PacifiCan

Indigenous communities across British Columbia are creating new opportunities in the economy of the future, including transitioning to clean energy and advancing digital technology.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced an investment of over $5.9 million for two organizations supporting Indigenous economic growth in clean energy projects and digital skills training.

Over $3.9 million in funding is being provided to the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI), which will support 14 Indigenous communities to develop new clean energy projects. This initiative is helping to reduce reliance on non-renewable fuels, while generating clean energy in Indigenous communities. Of this funding, $2.3 million comes from PacifiCan and $1.6 million from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).

Funded by PacifiCan through the federal government’s Strategic Partnerships Initiative, with contributions from the Province of British Columbia through the CleanBC plan, BCICEI has delivered $26 million to support over 100 clean energy projects in First Nations in B.C. since 2016.

Since then, the initiative has created nearly 1,400 jobs, reduced diesel usage by over 2.8 million litres annually and created clean energy projects, jobs and Indigenous economic growth throughout B.C.

PacifiCan is also investing more than $2 million to support the Digital Horizons technology employment training program that will be delivered by the First Nations Technology Council. Many companies in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector know that diversity is a strength in their workforce.

However, only a small portion of the ICT workforce is Indigenous. This program will offer culturally grounded, Indigenous-designed and led programs that will train and equip over 700 Indigenous people with the skills they need to be hired for in-demand jobs or to launch their own tech or tech-enabled businesses in BC.

The Minister made these announcements while speaking at the Indigenous Partnerships Success Showcase. This annual event provides practical guidance on how First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and their enterprise partners can work together for shared economic success. 


“From the very beginning, PacifiCan has been an enthusiastic champion and supporter of the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, which has created thousands of jobs and launched 100 clean energy projects. These projects have generated enough clean energy to power over 3,600 homes and reduced enough CO2 emissions to take the equivalent of 128,000 cars off the road for a year.  PacifiCan will continue to work with Indigenous peoples, businesses and other partners in B.C. to create lasting economic development that advances reconciliation.”
- The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“Under the leadership and administration of the New Relationship Trust, British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) has been changing how business is done in First Nations communities across the province. BCICEI supports clean energy projects, while also supporting self-determination through an emphasis on ownership, revenue sharing, local employment, and economic development. Contributions from the Strategic Partnership Initiative help governments, industry and First Nations to develop green solutions that create jobs in First Nations communities today, and protect the environment of our future.”
- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services

“Indigenous clean energy projects create a multitude of benefits within Indigenous communities - building community resilience, improving quality of life and encouraging economic self-determination. New Relationship Trust is pleased to continue this collaborative work of enabling access to clean energy capacity funding, and to support the Government of Canada’s Indigenous reconciliation and clean electricity goals."
- Wade Grant, Board Chair, New Relationship Trust

“Our bespoke Indigenous-designed and led courses are grounded in our traditional cultures, values, and worldviews. We’re grateful to partner with the Government of Canada to continue offering digital skills training programs for over 705 Indigenous learners over the next two years.  With the support of Digital Horizons, we will also be able to offer valuable career pathway services and ensure Indigenous program graduates can access mentors, internship opportunities, and careers in BC and beyond.”
- Natiea Vinson, Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Technology Council.

Quick facts

  • PacifiCan is the federal economic development agency dedicated to British Columbians. PacifiCan works with partners who are building innovative businesses, creating quality jobs, and supporting inclusive growth throughout our province.

  • To date, the BCICEI has provided more than $26 million in funding to 73 First Nations to administer nearly 100 clean energy projects that help drive innovation in clean-energy, create well-paying jobs and build a greener future for all Canadians. These projects have reduced over 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of taking over 128,000 cars off the road for a year.

  • The New Relationship Trust (NRT) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening First Nations in British Columbia through capacity building. The NRT invests in British Columbia First Nations by supporting them in five key capacity development areas: governance capacity, education, language, youth and elders, and economic development.

Associated links


Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and Pacific Economic Development Agency (PacifiCan)

Jillian Glover
Communications Manager

Stay connected

Follow PacifiCan on Twitter and LinkedIn

Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-9378
TTY (telecommunications device for the hearing impaired): 

Page details

Date modified: