May 27th, 2024

Freeland says $5 billion just a start for Indigenous loan guarantee program

By The Canadian Press on April 23, 2024.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland holds a press conference prior to tabling the Federal Budget in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Freeland says the $5-billion announced for an Indigenous loan guarantee program in last week's budget is just a start. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

TORONTO – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the $5-billion announced for an Indigenous loan guarantee program in last week’s budget is just a start.

Speaking to media at the First Nations Major Projects Coalition conference Tuesday, Freeland says nothing would make her happier than for it to be oversubscribed and needing to put more funding in place.

By guaranteeing loans through the program, the federal government intends to help Indigenous borrowers secure more favourable interest rates when investing in natural resource and energy projects.

The First Nations Major Projects Coalition estimates there will be $525 billion in capital investment opportunities for Indigenous equity participation over the next 10 years.

Mark Podlasly, chief sustainability officer of the coalition, said in a chat with Freeland at the conference that the loan guarantee program is the “the biggest step toward economic reconciliation we have ever seen as a country.”

The government says the loan program is open to a wide range of natural resource and energy projects and will support projects across the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2024.

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