TORONTO —The Ontario government is investing $9.2 million in two programs to improve economic opportunities for Indigenous communities across the province. The Indigenous Economic Development Fund (IEDF) and the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program (ICCGP) provide grants and financing for Indigenous peoples to increase access to support for business, employment and training opportunities.
“Our government understands the important role programs like the Indigenous Economic Development Fund and the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program play in developing and strengthening economic prosperity for First Nation communities, Indigenous organizations, and other key partners,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “By improving access to these programs, we are providing the opportunity for Indigenous entrepreneurs, businesses, and communities to receive the funding they need to unlock their economic potential.”
The IEDF provides $3.2 million for access to skills training and other economic development initiatives, while the ICCGP provides $6 million for Indigenous infrastructure projects. Interested and eligible applicants can apply to a grant or a funding stream through the IEDF for projects that diversify Indigenous economies, support skills training, and other economic development initiatives. The ICCGP is open to community capital projects that support the planning, renovation, or construction of buildings in First Nations and Métis communities and Indigenous organizations on- and off- reserve.
Applications can be submitted through Transfer Payment Ontario until December 19, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET for the IEDF and December 21, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET for the ICCGP. Interested applicants must register with Transfer Payment Ontario to submit, track, and manage requests for funding opportunities.
The IEDF and ICCGP have previously funded various research projects, helped businesses hire more employees, and supported the development of new business ventures. These programs are an example of Ontario’s commitment to meaningful and lasting reconciliation and to strengthening Indigenous economies.
The Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program has operated since 1989 and re-launched in 2016 to better address gaps in Indigenous community infrastructure needs.
Ontario doubled funding for the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program from $3 million to $6 million in 2021-22 to fund 40 projects across the province.
The Indigenous Economic Development Fund allocated $3.2 million for the 2022-2023 competitive programs.
In partnership with the Chiefs of Ontario, the province has established a First Nations’ Economic Growth and Prosperity Table to support economic advancement. Findings from this table were used to inform an investment of $25 million between 2022 and 2025 to support Indigenous economic growth:
$10 million for Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs to increase access to low-interest loans and grants.
$6.8 million for Indigenous training opportunities and capacity building for economic development officers and communities’ economic development needs in First Nation communities.
$4 million to support skills training and Indigenous apprentices.
$2.5 million to support digitization and e-commerce for Indigenous businesses.
$900,000 to support the ongoing work of the First Nations’ Economic Growth and Prosperity Table.
$800,000 to better understand issues and opportunities within Ontario's First Nation supply chain and what is needed to grow First Nation business' participation in government procurement, including the development of an online supply chain map and business portal.
Learn more about available funding opportunities from the government of Ontario.