Province expanding Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation mandate

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Province expanding Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation mandate
Premier Jason Kenney was in Kainai Nation on Monday to announce new areas of investment within the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation mandate. Erik Bay has more on the expansion – Feb 14, 2022

Originally created for investment in the natural resource sector, the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) is growing.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday the program will now include investment in agriculture, transportation and telecommunications.

“Progressive First Nations leaders in agriculture will be able to get the money to make those investments to get your people to work and to create long-term revenue for your people and the services that they need,” Kenney said.

The AIOC provides up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to reduce the cost of capital for Indigenous groups investing in economic development projects.

“For far too long, Indigenous communities have been unable to develop their opportunities because of outside barriers and lack of access to capital,” Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox said.

Fox believes the expansion will create new opportunities for First Nations in the province.

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“I am hopeful that future projects will be able to access debt more easily, so it’s a great opportunity not just for the Kainai-Blood Tribe but (also for) other tribes, other nations in Alberta to be able to take advantage of good business opportunities in the agriculture sector.”

According to the province, 80 per cent of Indigenous households in Alberta don’t have access to Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission target speeds for the internet.

Read more: Alberta commits $150M to boost rural high-speed internet, seeks private and federal support

AIOC officials say the additional investment opportunities in that area will level the economic playing field for the Indigenous population.

“Promoting this participation from Indigenous community partners will result in increased ownership opportunities for these communities along with a stronger, more resilient economy for First Nations,” AIOC board chair Stephen Buffalo said.

The AIOC also covers investment in the energy, mining and forestry sectors.

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