Our most recent report, Recommendations Report on Improving Access to Capital for Indigenous Peoples in Canada, is based on a study that Waterstone Strategies recently produced for our Board.
The Waterstone Strategies report, entitled First Nations and Inuit Access to Capital for Economic Development, Business and Infrastructure: A Quantitative Assessment of the Access and the Gaps, assessed the characteristics of the gap between First Nation and Inuit financing, and mainstream Canadian financing.
The report found that, although First Nations and Inuit are accessing more capital, the gap between Indigenous access and access for other Canadians continues to widen. This gap is in fact detrimental to the Canadian economy as a whole, since a First Nation and Inuit economy operating at the same level as the Canadian economy and financed appropriately would result in a contribution of over $3.6 billion to Canada’s GDP.
Our Board firmly believes that closing the gap in access to capital between Indigenous communities and the rest of Canada is an issue of critical importance. That is why we are making the following recommendations to the Government of Canada:
- That the Government of Canada continue to expand investments in and support for Aboriginal Financial Institutions.
- That the Government of Canada make a substantive effort to renew the fiscal relationship and to make fiscal fairness and affordable borrowing a reality for Indigenous peoples and communities. This includes addressing current legal and regulatory barriers to accessing capital, as well as exploring and supporting new and alternative lending options.
- That Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) continue to work with Indigenous peoples, nations and governments to expand investments in communities and to enhance the investment climate.
- That INAC enhance the relevance, quality and availability of information to Indigenous households, businesses and communities through a commitment to transparency and openness, as well as supporting Indigenous-led research and data governance.
Established in 1990, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board is a Governor in Council appointed board mandated to provide strategic policy advice to the federal government on issues related to Indigenous economic development. Comprised of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis business and community leaders from across Canada, the Board helps governments to respond to the unique needs and circumstances of Indigenous peoples in Canada.