One of the key challenges outlined in Realizing the Potential: Global Perspectives on Indigenous Economic Development focused on the need to address access to finance for First Nation communities. Unlike other public institutions, First Nation governments face unique limitations that inhibit their ability to attract and leverage capital. Property cannot be used as collateral. Infrastructure deficits are common. Access to cheap loans is rare. These barriers discourage private investment and are the result of chronic underlying issues, including:

·       Socio-economic pathologies
·       Governance challenges
·       Institutional barriers and biases

In 2015, the Public Policy Forum convened three roundtables to identify how First Nation, public, private and non-profit leaders can collaboratively overcome these ubiquitous challenges. Participants agreed that culturally-appropriate approaches must be better developed, shared and utilized. Targeted reforms, supported by sustained dialogue among all stakeholders, will also be essential for breaking down barriers to capital.

Our final report, Improving access to capital for Canada’s First Nation communities, examines six broad recommendations that emerged from the discussions that could form the basis of a practical, multi-stakeholder response:

·       Modernize the federal-First Nations fiscal relationship
·       Improve First Nation governance processes and capabilities
·       Invest in First Nations’ education and training
·       Foster and support regional cooperation to create a more attractive investment climate
·       Strengthen Aboriginal Financial Institutions
·       Improve financial literacy and education opportunities

Download the report 

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