Ontario Doubles Investment in Economic Development Supports for Indigenous Communities
TORONTO — The Ontario government continues to work with Indigenous communities to create lasting economic prosperity for Indigenous people, and to support their COVID-19 recovery and response efforts through the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program (ICCGP). To further support Indigenous communities, the province doubled funding for the program from $3 million to $6 million in 2021-22 to fund 40 projects across the province.
“The positive economic impact that the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program creates for Indigenous community infrastructure projects, both on and off-reserve is immense,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “We recognize that Indigenous communities are facing unique challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and we will continue to provide tailored supports that will help communities address these challenges by achieving meaningful, lasting results.”
Successful projects range from a shovel-ready initiative in Pikangikum First Nation for a new community and learning facility focused on food storage and distribution, to a feasibility study for a skills and employment training centre in the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation community. The projects also include a major renovation at the Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families in support of additional childcare, learning and community services for the Inuit community in Ottawa.
ICCGP investments will continue in 2022-23 to support the construction and renovation of Indigenous community infrastructure projects, both on and off-reserve, that support economic development, job creation and social benefits to Indigenous communities. Priority will be given to applications for previously funded stages, business or training centres, shovel-ready projects, and initiatives that support COVID-19 related community needs. The 2022-23 ICCGP application period is now open and will close on February 18, 2022.
“Whether our government is investing in community centres, updating and repairing roads and highways, or modernizing hospitals and health centres, we’re committed to supporting critical infrastructure projects in Indigenous communities so they have the necessary tools and infrastructure in place to be safe, healthy, and successful,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “To amplify our commitment to Ontario’s Indigenous communities, our government is working tirelessly to connect rural and remote areas to reliable high-speed internet by the end of 2025 so that everyone, no matter where they live, can work, learn, access vital services and connect with others from the comfort of their home community.”
Supporting Indigenous economic development represents reconciliation in action and helps create opportunities to strengthen relationships with Indigenous partners.
- The Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program has operated since 1989 and was re-launched in 2016 to better address gaps in Indigenous community infrastructure needs.
- Since the program re-launch, the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program has provided over $17 million in funding to support 133 major and minor capital projects and related studies and assessments. Eligible projects include community centres, Elder and youth centres, and small business centres.
“Applying to the ICCGP and working with ICCGP staff has been a pleasure. The funding secured will enable us to move forward with the development of our community Ecolodge. The Ecolodge will offer much needed Community Programming and will become the epicentre of community learning activities. At the same time, it will thrive as a vacation destination for visitors from around the world, offering community members an extraordinary opportunity to become directly involved in tourism. The Ecolodge has the potential to become a staple for CCFN and the local region. It will play a critical role in creating much needed investment opportunities in the region.”
– Peggy Domingue
Community Economic Development Officer, Chapleau Cree First Nation
“The Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program assisted M’Chigeeng First Nation in remedial work on one of its Business leasing spaces and this was a welcome support program that enabled M’Chigeeng to lease out unoccupied space that would have remained vacated if it had not received the financial support from this much needed program. COVID-19 has impacted the leasing of space for M’Chigeeng owned businesses and service providers. M’Chigeeng First Nation is proud to be a partner with the ICCGP program.”
– Grant Taibossigai
General Manager, HIAH Corp Economic Development, M’Chigeeng First Nation
“Miziwe Biik is grateful for the generous contribution to the building of the new Miziwe Biik Training Institute in the West Donlands. The facility will be transformational in terms of being an economic driver which provides employment related training to Indigenous people living in the GTA. MB is ever so appreciative of the support under the ICCGP.”
– Nancy Martin
Executive Director, Miziwe Biik
“Working with the ICCGP has been a pleasure and the funding secured through the program will allow Chippewas of the Thames First Nation to move forward with the first steps in developing our Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Centre. This initiative seeks to provide First Nations with training programs that would enable them to become more self-reliant and self-sufficient. The programs provided will equip COTTFN members and members of other First Nation communities in the region with the skills and knowledge to maintain their own community infrastructure.”
– Allan Farrell
Public Works Director, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation