Indigenous loan guarantee program could transform resource sector in Canada – by Wendy Stueck and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – April 17, 2024)

The federal government has launched its long-awaited Indigenous loan guarantee program, a move advocates say will help Canadian critical minerals infrastructure get built more quickly, and facilitate increased direct First Nations ownership in resource projects.

Ottawa’s budget released Tuesday outlines a program that would provide up to $5-billion in loan guarantees and be “sector agnostic” – meaning that oil and gas projects could be eligible. In the months leading up to the budget, advocacy groups including the First Nations Major Projects Coalition had worried a federal loan program might rule out oil and gas projects because they don’t line up with Ottawa’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The coalition and other groups said a federal loan guarantee program should be sector agnostic, in part because the oil and gas sector already has working relationships with many Indigenous communities, and because those communities want to set their own investment priorities.

A federal loan guarantee program will help Canada develop important infrastructure including new mines, said coalition chief executive director Niilo Edwards.

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