Aboriginal Lands and Economic Development

AANDC is working to respond to new and changing economic conditions—and the unique needs of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people in Canada—so Aboriginal people and communities can participate more fully in Canada's economy.

As part of these efforts, the Department looked at its economic development programs to see how they could be improved and simplified to benefit more Aboriginal people. AANDC also held engagement sessions with Aboriginal groups across Canada to seek their views on how the Department could improve its lands, communities, and other economic development activities.

As a result, AANDC's economic development programs will be streamlined into five overarching programs effective April 1, 2014, without any changes to funding formulas. Application and reporting requirements have also been simplified for recipients.

These two main economic development programs are:

  • Community Opportunity Readiness, which addresses the financial needs of Aboriginal communities seeking to establish the conditions for economic development to take place. The program is a consolidation of the former community economic opportunities program, the major projects investment fund, and the community-based components of the Aboriginal business development program.
  • Lands and Economic Development Services, which helps Aboriginal communities build and manage a solid land base for economic development activities, including capacity and expertise for such management. The program is a consolidation of the former community economic development program, reserve land and environment management program, community support services program, land and environment action fund, and commercial leasing.

The Department will also continue to make available to First Nations communities several legislative options to help them activate commercial projects on reserve lands. For example, through the First Nations Land Management Regime the administration of land from the Department can be transferred to a participating First Nation so they may develop their own land codes to govern an economic development activity on these lands. The First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act may also be used by First Nation communities who want to create a system for the registration of reserve lands so they can capitalize on a major real estate opportunity. The First Nations Fiscal Management Act helps First Nations participate more fully in the Canadian economy, builds stronger business environments, and meets local needs.

AANDC will continue to look for ways to improve its programs as economic conditions change and the needs of Aboriginal people continue to evolve. This is consistent with the vision of the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development: to work together to ensure that Aboriginal people enjoy the same opportunities for employment, income, and wealth creation as other Canadians.

The Department will also test new ideas and programs. For example, AANDC recently piloted the joint First Nation-Municipal community economic development initiative to improve the economic prosperity of participating municipalities and adjacent First Nations by examining opportunities for economic development and land use planning.