Government of Canada Invests in Indigenous Economic Development across Western Canada

News release

Forty-five First Nations, Indigenous businesses and programs to receive more than $27 million to expand their business activities and pursue new economic opportunities

March 13, 2018 – Victoria, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Indigenous businesses and programs across the West will have support to grow their operations and create jobs in Indigenous communities thanks to new funding from the Government of Canada.

Today at the Songhees Nation, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced more than $27 million for 45 projects in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, through the Western Diversification Program (WDP). The announcement was made at the Songhees Innovation Centre, a co-working space that received funding through WDP to help Indigenous entrepreneurs thrive in Canada’s growing tech sector.

The projects represent an array of economic activities, from rural First Nations installing solar equipment to generate power for their communities to post-secondary institutions launching programs to train the next generation of Indigenous workers. These investments will contribute to the prosperity of Indigenous communities across the Western provinces by making it easier for businesses to create jobs and capitalize on economic opportunities.

The funding announced today follows an investment of $2,250,000 to the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia, announced by the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, on January 22, 2018. That investment was also made under WDP and is supporting over 400 Aboriginal cultural tourism businesses in B.C.

Following this event, Minister Bains will travel to Haida Gwaii to make an important high-speed Internet funding announcement on behalf of the Governments of Canada and British Columbia. This funding will benefit Canadians living in rural and remote communities.


“The success of Indigenous businesses is essential to building a strong, innovative and inclusive Canadian economy. I am proud that the Government of Canada is investing in these 45 projects and supporting Indigenous communities across the West.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Songhees Nation is proud to host this announcement in recognition of the entrepreneurial spirit and economic contributions of Indigenous businesses across Canada, and we are grateful and inspired to be the recipient of funding that supports the ongoing success of Indigenous entrepreneurs at the Songhees Innovation Centre. Our Council saw the importance of an initiative like this taking shape in our building, and we are grateful to Animikii Indigenous Technology for seizing this opportunity and working with us to create this unique co-working space where they are now located. We are witnessing the emergence of a growing number of impassioned Indigenous graduates and business people for whom the co-working environment is a natural catalyst for launching and growing entrepreneur-driven enterprises. Today’s announcement honours our entrepreneurs, our creatives, and our partners, South Island Prosperity Project, Victoria Foundation and Community Micro-lending who continue to collaborate with us to realize the goals of the Songhees Innovation Centre and the aspirations of Indigenous entrepreneurs.”

Chief Ron Sam, Songhees Nation

Related products

Associated links


Karl W. Sasseville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Telephone: 343-291-2500

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Taylor Paxton
Communications Director
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Telephone: 613-952-7101

Kathi Springer
Vice President Communications & Corporate Relations
Pace Group Communications
Phone: 250-888-8767

Stay Connected

Follow us on Twitter: @WD_Canada, @ISED_CA
WD Homepage
WD Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
TTY (telecommunications device for the hearing impaired): 1-877-303-3388

Page details

Date modified: