A New Initiative for First Nation Equity Ownership

November 29, 2023 /

The Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has introduced the Indigenous Equity Initiative (IEI), a lending program designed to enable First Nations to become equity owners of infrastructure assets situated on their traditional territories. 

Filling a Crucial Gap 

This initiative provides First Nations with the essential upfront capital required to purchase equity stakes in major infrastructure projects. This financing fills a critical gap in the market as few institutional or private lenders operate in this space, making it challenging for First Nations to secure the amount of capital required to own infrastructure. 

A Billion-Dollar Commitment 

This initiative is part of CIB’s broader pledge to invest a minimum of one billion dollars in Indigenous infrastructure. 

Eligibility Criteria and Strategic Alignment

To be eligible for funding under the IEI, CIB requires that each project:

  • aligns with at least one of CIB’s priority sectors, including Public Transit, Clean Power, Green Infrastructure, Broadband, and Trade and Transportation;
  • involves First Nation, Métis, or Inuit communities on whose traditional territory the project is located;
  • be part of a project where CIB is already engaged and considering funding, such as under the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative; and
  • demonstrates a financing gap for an equity stake purchase.

Coverage of the Loan 

Under the IEI, First Nations have the possibility to finance up to 90% of the Indigenous equity purchase. The program offers varied loan sizes, ranging from 5 million to 100 million dollars. 

The Objective 

The overarching goal of the IEI is to empower First Nations to become equity owners of infrastructure to a greater degree. Beyond financial assistance, this initiative represents a step towards economic reconciliation and a future where First Nation communities are active stakeholders and beneficiaries of the infrastructure shaping their territories. 

Federal Loan Guarantee Program

The IEI dovetails with the federal government’s recent announcement of a national loan guarantee program for First Nations. This program, set to be introduced in the upcoming budget, aims to enhance access to affordable capital for First Nation communities and facilitate increased opportunities for equity ownership.

Want More?

If you would like to discuss infrastructure projects, funding, or equity ownership, reach out to your MT+Co. legal team or get in touch with our First Nations Major Projects Team by contacting Stephen Pederson.