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Government of BC Introduces First Nations Equity Financing Framework

On February 22, 2024, the Government of British Columbia announced in its 2024 Budget and Fiscal Plan (the “2024 Budget”) that it will implement a provincial First Nations Equity Financing Framework (the “Framework”) to bolster the development of economic partnerships between First Nations and the business sector.  The Framework will consider an array of submissions including for projects in the agriculture, aquaculture, tourism and natural resource sectors and support First Nations equity investments by providing equity loan guarantees and other tools.  The 2024 Budget provides for legislation to establish a First Nations Equity Financing special account with a $10 million inaugural balance intended to fund immediate capacity needs for First Nations considering equity stakes in priority projects and for provincial costs to operationalize a new loan guarantee program.  The B.C. Treasury Board will  allocate portions of future revenues earned from these priority projects to the special account.  The Treasury Board was also granted the authority to use the special account  to implement a provincial loan guarantee program for loans incurred by First Nations to acquire equity ownership stakes in priority projects.  The  cumulative guarantee limit using this special account will be $1 billion.

The 2024 Budget also notes that the B.C. government is committed to engaging with the federal government in the implementation of the National Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program announced in the Fall Economic Strategy on November 21, 2023 and will endeavour to align the program with the approaches undertaken in federal and other existing provincial loan guarantee approaches.  For a snapshot of the existing Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario Indigenous Loan Guarantee Programs, see our previous article here.

At its core, the B.C. Government’s 2024 Budget states that the Framework “ . . . is a key early measure within [its] broad commitment to co-develop with First Nations a new fiscal relationship that supports the self-determination and operation of First Nations governments aligned with rights and principles in the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.[1] Further details on the Framework are expected to be released following consultations with First Nations and other provincial stakeholders.


[1] 2024 Budget and Fiscal Plan, 2024/25 – 2026/27, at page 62.



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