OTTAWA, ON. – The Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced $13.5 million in funding for the First Nations Major Projects Coalition as part of the Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships program at the 2022 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference.

According to a release, the funding is part of the budget 2022 commitment of $100 million over five years, starting in 2022, to expand the Indigenous Partnership Office (IPO) and the Indigenous Natural Resource Partnership (INRP) to all regions in Canada.

The release states that it will provide opportunities for Indigenous communities across all regions in Canada to benefit from all types of natural resource projects and will reportedly contribute to Canada’s net-zero by 2050 targets.

This funding will also reportedly support the First Nations Major Projects Coalition (FNMPC) to empower First Nations with the ability to make informed business decisions concerning natural resource and infrastructure projects proposed in their territories.

“This long-term investment by Natural Resources Canada in our services will ensure that our national First Nations membership will continue to have access to the business capacity supports, free of charge, that are required to make informed business decisions about their participation in major projects,” Chief Sharleen Gale of Fort Nelson First Nations and chair of the board of directors of FNMPC said.

The funding will support the beginning of FNMPC’s five-year strategic plan, with aims to increase Indigenous participation in the natural resource economy and increase awareness of the benefits of incorporating Indigenous knowledge in major projects.

“This investment also comes at a time when our members are advancing their participation in projects that will contribute to the energy transition, including critical minerals and electrification, furthering our vision of First Nations playing a lead role in the co-development and ownership of major natural resource and infrastructure projects going forward,” Chief Gale continued.

This five-year plan aims to increase Indigenous opportunities and participation in the natural resource sectors and enhance business relationships between Indigenous communities, governments and industry.

According to the release, these renewals and expansions come in direct response to feedback from Indigenous partners.

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.