The AIOC offers a level of investment support that is unparalleled in Canada and is a game-changer for creating Indigenous prosperity and supporting Indigenous economic inclusion. Alberta’s government has doubled the AIOC’s loan guarantee capacity to $2 billion from $1 billion, and it will increase again to $3 billion in 2024-25, more than fulfilling a key Indigenous Relations mandate item.
“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 go grow it beyond that promise. Since its introduction, the AIOC has been a game-changer for Indigenous communities and I look forward to seeing more partnerships and investments that will help grow Alberta’s economy for everyone.”
Since its launch in 2019, the AIOC has backed more than $500 million in investments, benefitting nearly 30 Indigenous communities in Alberta. The AIOC is addressing long-standing barriers to major Indigenous investments by reducing the costs of borrowing and increasing the amounts that can be borrowed. In early 2022, Alberta’s government expanded AIOC’s mandate to include major agriculture, telecommunications and transportation projects and related infrastructure.
Before the creation of the AIOC, this kind of investment support wasn’t always available to Indigenous communities. The AIOC has a rigorous review process. To avoid risks for taxpayers, the corporation focuses on supporting projects that have stable, predictable cash flows.
“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. It is about including Indigenous people throughout the economy, improving social outcomes, creating jobs and enhancing livelihoods. We are fully committed to being partners in prosperity.”
“Alberta’s government and the AIOC have been incredible partners in providing Indigenous communities with a seat at the table for major projects across the province. This expansion will ensure further participation, economic development and prosperity of Indigenous communities throughout Alberta. 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.”
In July 2023, the AIOC provided a $103-million loan guarantee to five Indigenous communities that make up the Northern Lakeland Indigenous Alliance. This made it possible for Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement, Kikino Metis Settlement, Heart Lake First Nation, Saddle Lake Cree Nation and Whitefish Lake First Nation #128 to collectively acquire a 43 per cent interest in the Access NGL Pipeline System.
In September 2022, the AIOC backstopped one of the largest Indigenous energy investments ever in North America, a deal worth $1.12 billion. Dubbed ‘Project Rocket,’ this massive investment saw 23 Indigenous communities purchase an 11.57 per cent stake in seven pipelines in the Athabasca region. The AIOC made this landmark deal possible by providing a $250-million loan guarantee.
“The entrepreneurial nature of the Government of Alberta to ‘get it done’ has encouraged the success and growth of AIOC’s loan guarantee program. 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.”
Other Alberta initiatives toward economic reconciliation
Alberta’s government remains committed to collaborating with Indigenous people and walking the path toward reconciliation together. Economic reconciliation is a vital part of this journey and an important way to support healthy, safe and sustainable Indigenous communities. These efforts are crucial in developing and strengthening Indigenous and Métis communities across the province.
In addition to the AIOC, Alberta’s government also provides the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund to support small business owners. In Budget 2023, the program received a 50 per cent funding increase. This year’s budget also created the Indigenous Reconciliation Initiative and the Community Support Fund, which provide supports for economic components along with social and cultural initiatives.
The First Nations Development Fund (FNDF) is also in place to support community-led projects that are making a difference for First Nations across Alberta. Through the FNDF, a portion of the revenue from government-owned slot machines in First Nations casinos is directed back into First Nations communities through grants for projects that support community, economic and social development. In 2023-24, the FNDF is projected to receive more than $151 million to support projects across 47 First Nations in Alberta.
- Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation
- Aboriginal Business Investment Fund
- Indigenous Reconciliation Initiative
- Community Support Fund
- First Nations Development Fund Grant Program