December 16, 2022 — Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory, British Columbia — Indigenous Services Canada
Today, First Nations partners in British Columbia, alongside Federal and Provincial governments, announced the launch of the B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund, helping to increase representation in the regulated cannabis industry. This new Indigenous-led fund was announced by Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations, the Task Group for the First Nations Summit, Jean-Yves Duclos, Federal Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, Federal Minister of Indigenous Services, and Mike Farnworth, British Columbia Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
The B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund will support First Nations communities and Indigenous businesses in British Columbia that want to increase their participation in, or join, the regulated cannabis industry. The fund will provide business planning and advisory services, and help Indigenous businesses or First Nations cover the costs of licensing and permitting. It will also make available capital to support the launch or expansion of businesses. Additionally, the fund will support the development of information and planning workshops for First Nations communities and Indigenous entrepreneurs to learn more about the cannabis industry, regulations, business opportunities, and how to apply for funding. These supports will create jobs and economic opportunities for Indigenous businesses and First Nations.
The B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund will be administered by the New Relationship Trust and Aboriginal Financial Institutions in British Columbia. The Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia are investing up to $7.5 million over three years in the Fund.
“Developing economic opportunities through cannabis-related initiatives is a priority for many First Nations in British Columbia. BCAFN is pleased to partner on the B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund, providing much-needed capital and support for capacity building, community planning and decision-making. We have been advocating for increased economic supports for some time and we look forward to advancing further initiatives and opportunities like this to support BC First Nations. This fund is an example of the positive results of our efforts to ensure First Nation participation in the B.C. cannabis industry. At the same time, we urge further partnership among all levels of government to address outstanding issues regarding jurisdiction and implement the economic component of reconciliation, which involves new fiscal relationships.”
Terry Teegee, Regional Chief, BC Assembly of First Nations
“We are pleased to see this funding for capacity and community development, flowing to First Nations in B.C. The cannabis industry offers First Nations communities and entrepreneurs a real opportunity to create self-determined economies, engage in the B.C. economy, and to take a lead in the cannabis industry going forward. Our partnership with the Provincial and Federal governments on this initiative demonstrates the value of meaningful collaboration. We also deeply appreciate the expertise and community connections that the Aboriginal Financial Institutions and the New Relationship Trust will bring to this work. We intend for this program to support the priorities of First Nations in relation to cannabis and look forward to how it will evolve as we work to align provincial and federal laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
Hugh Braker, Political Executive, First Nations Summit
“The NRT is excited to be part of this initiative which we believe will provide a significant boost to Indigenous representation in the cannabis industry. It reflects the shared motivation, collaboration, and partnership between First Nation leadership, Indigenous partners, Canada, and the Province of B.C., to include and empower Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses in the post-legalization environment.”
Walter Schneider, Chief Executive Officer, New Relationship Trust
“ The creation of the B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund is a good example of the working relationship that has developed over the years between the B.C. Aboriginal Financial Institutions network, the governments of B.C. and Canada, New Relationship Trust and the First Nations Leadership Council, and our ability to come together to address issues of underdevelopment in particular sectors of the economy. TACC has supported community and business development for more than 30 years throughout the Coast Salish territories, and we look forward to the unique, innovative, and commercially viable business ideas that will come from First Nations communities and the community of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit entrepreneurs in our service area as they respond to this new initiative.”
Sandy Wong, General Manager, Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation.
“This fund is another way the Province of British Columbia is keeping true to our commitment to develop a robust and diverse legal cannabis economy that is inclusive of Indigenous entrepreneurs and First Nation communities. I look forward to continuing our partnership with First Nations as we work together to implement a path forward that supports a safe and strong cannabis sector in British Columbia.”
The Honourable Mike Farnworth, British Columbia Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
“The launch of the B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund is another example of strong collaboration between First Nations, federal and provincial governments. The fund will help to facilitate equitable participation and greater involvement of Indigenous-owned businesses in the federally regulated and quality controlled, legal cannabis market. It will also create many important economic opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities.”
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
“With the New Relationship Trust and B.C. Aboriginal Financial Institutions at the helm, the B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund will create economic opportunities for First Nations and Indigenous businesses. This new fund will support First Nations partners to thrive and lead in the cannabis sector by providing capital and financial supports. Economic reconciliation means changing colonial ways of doing business, and that’s exactly what is happening today.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services
- The Governments of Canada and British Columbia are funding the B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund through the federal Strategic Partnerships Initiative. To apply for the fund, please visit https://www.newrelationshiptrust.ca/indigenous-cannabis-business-fund-icbf/ for details.
- The New Relationship Trust (NRT) and Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) in British Columbia will assist in the application process and contribution agreements for the fund. Meanwhile, a steering committee consisting of Indigenous Services Canada, Health Canada, B.C. Cannabis Secretariat, and the First Nations Leadership Council will provide guidance and consultation.
- The New Relationship Trust is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening First Nations in British Columbia through capacity building. The NRT invests in
British Columbia First Nations by supporting them in five key capacity development areas: Governance capacity, Education, Language, Youth & Elders, and Economic development.
Aboriginal Financial Institutions are autonomous, Indigenous-controlled, community-based financial organizations. AFIs provide developmental lending, business financing and support services to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit businesses in all provinces and territories.
The Strategic Partnerships Initiative is an innovative mechanism for federal partners to make collective investment decisions and address gaps in existing programs that would otherwise limit or exclude Indigenous participation in major economic opportunities.