What is AANDC doing to support Aboriginal economic development?

date: Feb 2013
ISBN: 978-1-100-21843-4

PDF Version   (478 Kb, 4 Pages)  
Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre

AANDC is the lead department responsible for carrying out the Government of Canada's Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development. Released in June 2009, the Framework represents a fundamental change to how the federal government supports Aboriginal economic development. The Framework uses a modern and comprehensive approach to seize opportunities and build strategic partnerships with Aboriginal groups, the private sector, and the provinces and territories. There are five strategic priorities under the Framework:

  1. Strengthening Aboriginal Entrepreneurship
  2. Developing Aboriginal Human Capital
  3. Enhancing the Value of Aboriginal Assets
  4. Forging New and Effective Partnerships
  5. Focusing the Role of the Federal Government

1. Strengthening Aboriginal Entrepreneurship

AANDC aims to create a more business friendly climate on reserve and in the North through improved access to capital and other business opportunities that will help to strengthen entrepreneurship for First Nations.

One way AANDC helps support this priority is by addressing the shortage of available credit for Aboriginal small business development through funding Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs). AFIs concentrate on providing loans to enterprises which are not yet ready to successfully secure business loans from banks. Some AFIs also provide additional business services, including training and support to Aboriginal entrepreneurs.

AFIs at Work in British Columbia

Richard Harry
Penlatch Seafood Ltd. General Manager Richard Harry seeds Manila clams

Nestled along the shoreline of central Vancouver Island, the K'ómoks First Nation's Pentlach Seafood Ltd. has consistently been recognized as an industry leader in the sustainable production of oysters and clams in Canada. With support from the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation, an Aboriginal Financial Institution (AFI) that works with AANDC, Pentlach Seafood’s intensive environmental stewardship program helps to ensure high-quality shellfish are harvested from the community's pristine coastal waters. Penlatch Seafood is proof that sustainable seafood makes good business sense – the company produces over 3 million shellfish yearly and recently purchased a processing facility that will help other coastal First Nations market their seafood to customers across Asia and North America.

2. Developing Aboriginal Human Capital

AANDC works to increase First Nation, Inuit and Métis participation in the workforce across Canada by supporting demand-driven labour market development. This benefits Aboriginal individuals, families, communities, employers and the Canadian economy as a whole.

One AANDC program that helps support this priority is the Community Support Services Program (CSSP), which funds the development and implementation of national and regional support services to First Nation and Inuit Community Economic Development Organizations. These support services aim to increase community capacity to carry out projects and activities related to community economic development.

CSSP at Work in British Columbia

First Nation Economic Development Officers and Aboriginal entrepreneurs
First Nation Economic Development Officers and Aboriginal entrepreneurs attend an ICAB capacity building session

Aboriginal entrepreneurs are developing a solid foundation of business-related skills with help from the Industry Council for Aboriginal Business (ICAB), a non-profit organization that fosters mutually beneficial economic development for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by encouraging open dialogue between Aboriginal communities and industry. With support from the Community Support Services Program (CSSP), ICAB launched a number of capacity building sessions throughout the province. The sessions provided First Nation Economic Development Officers and Aboriginal entrepreneurs with hands-on skills development seminars on topics such as basic accounting, finance, human resources, information technology and marketing. The BC Aboriginal Business Association, a corporate partner of ICAB, delivered the seminars with the goal of providing the attendees with the necessary tools and knowledge to initiate and develop their own economic development projects.

3. Enhancing the Value of Aboriginal Assets

Through aligning federal investments with viable economic opportunities, better management of business and community assets, and a modern lands/resource management regime, AANDC is helping to enhance the value of Aboriginal assets.

AANDC supports this priority with programs such as the Community Economic Opportunities Program (CEOP), which provides project-based support to those First Nation and Inuit communities that have the best opportunities for public services in economic development. CEOP helps these communities create economic benefits, including more community employment, greater use of land and resources under community control, enhanced community economic infrastructure, increased number of community businesses, more business opportunities, and a better climate and environment for community economic development.

CEOP at Work in British Columbia

The Coyote Rock Development's master plan
The Coyote Rock Development's master plan

The Williams Lake Indian Band is seizing the opportunity to capitalize on central British Columbia's growing economy with plans for a large residential and commercial project near the town of Williams Lake, BC. With funding support from AANDC's Community Economic Opportunities Program (CEOP), the Coyote Rock Development project will help revitalize the transportation corridor of Highway 97 with potential for up to 20 acres of market-based housing and 60,000 square feet of leasable commercial space for businesses such as restaurants, automotive shops and retail. The spin-off benefits for the region are huge – strengthened partnerships with local governments and businesses, the creation of over 200 new jobs and the potential to inject millions of dollars into the regional economy.

4. Forging New and Effective Partnerships

AANDC promotes partnerships with the provinces and territories as well as the private sector to ensure long-term, sustainable economic development opportunities. The Department helps Aboriginal people respond to market-driven partnership opportunities through programs such as the Strategic Partnerships Initiatives (SPI).

SPI is intended to support Aboriginal participation in the economy, with a particular focus on opportunities in natural resource sectors. It works by enabling more than a dozen federal departments and agencies to coordinate support for existing and emerging Aboriginal economic development opportunities. The initiative's funding is intended to fill gaps that cannot be addressed by existing federal government programs.

SPI on the Ground in British Columbia

British Columbia has a wealth of natural resources and great potential for economic partnerships with First Nations. The mining, energy and forestry sectors have benefitted from building mutual partnerships with First Nations. For example, in order to support First Nations to take advantage of opportunities in the mining sector, the Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI) provided funding to the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council to establish exploration agreements, Impact and Benefit Agreement training workshops, and policy development. The results speak for themselves. In the last few months, several First Nations have developed meaningful partnerships with mining companies and energy providers, such as the recent joint exploration agreement between the Tl'azt'en Nation and Pishon Jade Resources Inc. that formalizes protocols and establishes processes for the future negotiation of a comprehensive Impact and Benefits Agreement.

5. Focusing the Role of the Federal Government

The Government of Canada's overarching priority is to be more effective and efficient with clearer direction, greater coordination, more linkages and better collaboration in support of the strategic priorities under the Framework.

Why should you invest in First Nation communities?

  • Access to Aboriginal markets
  • Gateway to a growing, better educated Aboriginal labour market
  • Ability to build goodwill and strong partnerships with First Nation communities
  • Opportunity to mutually develop untapped land and resources

For more information on the full scope of funding and initiatives available to support Aboriginal economic development in Canada, read the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development at:

For information regarding reproduction rights, please contact Public Works and Government Services Canada at: 613-996-6886 or at: droitdauteur.copyright@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca

TTY only 1-866-553-0554
Catalogue: R3-186/2013E
ISBN : 978-1-100-21843-4

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, 2013

This Publication is also available in French under the title: Que fait AADNC pour promouvoir le développement économique des Autochtones?