Alberta’s commitment to Indigenous economic reconciliation takes a significant leap forward as the government announces the expansion of the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation’s (AIOC) capacity.
The AIOC, a pioneering force in fostering Indigenous prosperity and economic inclusion, sees its loan guarantee capacity doubling from $1 billion to an impressive $2 billion, with further plans to escalate to $3 billion in the fiscal year 2024-25.
Premier Danielle Smith emphasizes the importance of inclusive growth, expressing pride in surpassing platform commitments. “Alberta’s economy is growing, and we are working to ensure nobody is left behind. Increasing the loan guarantee capacity was a platform commitment I was proud to make, and I’m equally proud to grow it beyond that promise,” states Premier Smith.
Since its establishment in 2019, the AIOC has been a game-changer, already backing over $500 million in investments, benefitting nearly 30 Indigenous communities in Alberta. The AIOC’s mandate expanded in early 2022 to encompass major agriculture, telecommunications, and transportation projects, demonstrating a commitment to overcoming historic barriers to Indigenous investments.
Minister of Indigenous Relations, Rick Wilson, affirms Alberta’s leading role in economic reconciliation, noting, “Alberta is leading the way on economic reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Economic reconciliation is a vital way to support healthy, safe, and sustainable Indigenous communities.”
The AIOC’s rigorous review process ensures taxpayer security by focusing on projects with stable and predictable cash flows, allowing it to facilitate major Indigenous investments previously out of reach for Indigenous communities.
Chief Cody Thomas of Enoch Cree Nation applauds the government’s dedication, stating, “This increase speaks volumes to the government’s commitment towards economic reconciliation, and I’m excited to see the continued prosperity that will come in the future.”
The AIOC’s recent $103-million loan guarantee to the Northern Lakeland Indigenous Alliance and the $250-million guarantee for ‘Project Rocket,’ one of the largest Indigenous energy investments in North America, exemplify its pivotal role in enabling Indigenous communities to participate in major projects.
Chana Martineau, CEO of the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation, acknowledges the government’s commitment, saying, “This increase in capacity funding represents the commitment and dedication of the provincial government to support Indigenous economic reconciliation. Their approach has set a benchmark nationally and globally and represents a commitment to prosperity that drives impact for all Albertans now and for future generations.”
In addition to the AIOC, the Alberta government continues its commitment to economic reconciliation through initiatives like the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund, the Indigenous Reconciliation Initiative, the Community Support Fund, and the First Nations Development Fund. These programs collectively contribute to supporting healthy, safe, and sustainable Indigenous communities, reinforcing Alberta’s dedication to collaboration and reconciliation.