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Chief Sharleen Gale and CIB Chief Executive Officer Ehren Cory discuss Indigenous infrastructure challenges at the 2023 First Nations Major Projects Coalition conference.

In conversation with Chief Sharleen Gale, Fort Nelson First Nation; Chair, First Nations Major Project Coalition

Wind turbine being installed at the Bekevar Wind Energy Project in Kipling, Saskatchewan. Construction on the 200-megawatt project involving the Cowessess First Nation is slated to wrap up this summer.
Workers use a long crane to install a large white wind turbine at the Bekevar Wind Energy Project in Kipling, Saskatchewan. The 200-megawatt renewable energy project involving the Cowessess First Nations is slated to be completed this summer.

CIB helping Indigenous communities tackle infrastructure challenges

Indigenous Equity Initiative added to suite of loans and equity available for projects

(Left to right) Halifax Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Patrick Sullivan, CIB CEO Ehren Cory, WMA president and interim general manager Crystal Nicholas and Nova Scotia Power Inc. CEO Peter Gregg.

Nova Scotia First Nations first in Canada to obtain equity through CIB initiative

New program gives communities ‘a seat at the table’

Crystal Nicholas, President and interim general manager of Wskijnu’k Mtmo’taqnuow Agency Ltd.
Bill Lomax, CEO of the First Nations Bank of Canada
Sean Willy, President and CEO of the Des Nedhe Group
Matt Jamieson, CEO of the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation
Chief Sharleen Gale, CEO of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition

Indigenous voices: Why is infrastructure important for Indigenous reconciliation?

Atlantic Economic Council: Investment opportunities for transformational change in Atlantic Canada’s economy

The CIB provided financial support to the Atlantic Economic Council (AEC) to produce a report on the potential for new infrastructure projects to support sustainable growth in Atlantic Canada. AEC reviewed three sectors that will be critical to the future of the region’s economy – hydrogen and clean fuel projects, critical minerals, and trade and transportation. Factors driving the need for investment in Atlantic Canada in these sectors include the transition to net-zero emissions, a rising population, shifting global trade patterns and climate change adaptation. These trends are significant given the region’s traditional reliance on fossil fuels, previously stagnant population growth, strategic location on major trading routes and need for powerful climate adaptation solutions. 

According to the report, the right mix of public and private investment along with government policy will play an important role in ensuring infrastructure projects move ahead while facing challenges like construction labour shortages, access to capital, high borrowing costs and global demand uncertainties. The region needs to leverage its strengths including resource availability and geographic location to take advantage of global economic opportunities. It advocates that governments and private sector should work together to provide financial support for the three opportunity sectors.

CUTRIC: Non-Traditional Modes of Transportation Report published by the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC)

Canada is facing a growing demand for efficient and sustainable transportation systems. With increasing congestion in cities across the country, exploring alternative transit options from aerial transit to electric ferries will be critical to solving Canada’s transportation challenges. These nontraditional forms of transit can offer faster, cleaner and more accessible mobility solutions for urban and rural areas.

The Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) conducted an in-depth study of non-traditional modes of transportation, such as aerial transit systems, shared micro-mobility, ferries, on-demand transit and autonomous shuttles. The study outlines the use-case for each mode, demonstrating how when deployed as part of an integrated transit network, these modes offer great opportunity to enhance transit performance and improve rider experience. It identifies advantages and disadvantages associated with new mobility technologies, implementation considerations, infrastructure requirements and potential funding, financing and revenue-generating models associated with each mode of mobility.


The federal government’s 2024 budget proposed a $5 billion Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program to unlock access to capital for Indigenous communities, creating economic opportunities and supporting their economic development priorities. That follows the CIB’s 2023 launch of the Indigenous Equity Initiative (IEI). Stemming from Budget 2023, the initiative enables loans to be provided to Indigenous communities to support them in purchasing equity stakes in infrastructure projects in which the CIB is also investing. The first loan under the program is $18 million to Wskijnu’k Mtmo’taqnuow Agency Ltd. (WMA), which represents Nova Scotia’s 13 Mi’kmaw First Nations, to purchase equity stakes in Atlantic Canada’s largest energy storage project.

Budget 2024 also highlighted the CIB’s launching of its new Infrastructure for Housing Initiative, allocating at least $500 million in biofuels production and investments such as the Oneida Battery Storage and Bekevar Wind Power Project. The housing initiative will provide municipalities with the tools they need to build more homes and grow by supporting enabling infrastructure such as water, wastewater, transit and district energy. The first investment commitment under IHI committed up to $140 million in financing for new and enhanced water and wastewater infrastructure in five communities in Manitoba, including the City of Brandon. The project will support cleaner water and better wastewater treatment, which will provide the enabling infrastructure to support an estimated 15,000 new housing units.


Meet Bill Lomax, President and CEO of the First Nations Bank of Canada

My role at FNBC is easily the best job I’ve ever had. I’m excited to get up in the morning and lead an amazing team who are dedicated to bringing innovative financial services to Indigenous communities. We handle the financial part of Nation Building.

I grew up in Terrace, B.C., until I was 15, when I moved to Vancouver with my mom. I spent some time finding my career path. I did undergraduate work in economics and Japanese before moving into completing law at UBC. However, I quickly realized that I was more interested in finance and investments. So, I decided to pursue an MBA and was lucky enough to get into Columbia Business School in New York. From there, I started working on Wall Street.

As a kid, I had no idea jobs like mine even existed. FNBC operates on a for-profit basis, but our mission is our driving force. I love that we are enabling Indigenous communities to aim high and build stronger communities by financing infrastructure and community-based projects. It’s a wonderful feeling to witness all the great projects we’ve contributed to across the country. Our partnership with the CIB will further enable the Nations we work with to achieve their goals.

The loan product we developed with the CIB came out of a project we worked on jointly. We realized our objectives of delivering financing to Indigenous communities were closely aligned. By working together, we could provide more opportunities at a faster pace for Indigenous communities.

The FNBC/CIB Indigenous Land Development Program will lower the cost of capital for Indigenous communities engaged in land development. If a project is eligible, all approvals will be granted by FNBC. This means that Indigenous communities won’t need to apply separately to the CIB for approval. The impacts on communities can be substantial, including job creation and the provision of much-needed infrastructure.

At FNBC, we are not just building a bank; we are helping to build Indigenous nations. This ethos is mirrored by the folks at the CIB, underlining our shared commitment to progress.

The CIB is collaborating with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities across Canada

Our Indigenous Initiatives are enabling Indigenous participation to build infrastructure faster, bringing long-term economic benefits to Indigenous communities. Learn more about the CIB’s partnerships with Indigenous communities.


8.3 Mt
Annual GHGs Reduced
Daily Transit Riders
Homes Connected to Broadband
Indigenous Communities Benefitting
Acres of additional farmland irrigated


Indigenous Investments
501.5 million$
Total Value of Loans
Indigenous Communities Benefitting
1 (WMA)
IEI Investments


Solar panels with Calgary skyline in background
  • Clean Power
  • Indigenous Infrastructure

Deerfoot and Barlow Solar

  • Fosters economic resiliency for the Chiniki and Goodstoney First Nations
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 50,000 tonnes/annually
  • 175,000 bifacial solar panels produced renewable power from both sides of the panel
Ehren Bill Hillary
  • Indigenous Infrastructure

First Nations Bank of Canada

  • First-of-its-kind risk-sharing loan product with First Nations Bank of Canada
  • Aggregator financing option for enabling infrastructure in Indigenous communities
  • Includes site works, roadworks, water/wastewater facilities and utility connections
Hillary Thatcher alongside partners at the Tilley Solar announcement at Concord’s office in Vancouver
  • Clean Power
  • Indigenous Infrastructure

Tilley Solar

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 14,200 tonnes/annually
  • 69,450 fixed-tilt solar photovoltaic panels connected to Alberta’s electricity grid
  • Generates more than 280 full-time jobs during construction
Inside of the redeveloped Thompson airport terminal
  • Trade & Transportation
  • Indigenous Infrastructure

Thompson Regional Airport

  • Serving 15 remote Indigenous communities with limited transportation options
  • Provides critical services to a catchment area, serving 65,000 people
  • Long-term solution resilient to the impacts of climate change
drawing of man with boy wearing cowboy hat sitting on his shoulders pointing up at a plane in the sky, while standing in a field.
  • Green Infrastructure

Azure Sustainable Fuels

  • SAF are produced by Canadian agricultural products such as canola and soybean oil
  • Production will help create new green jobs and support Canada’s agricultural sector
  • Near-term solution to reduce the aviation industry’s carbon footprint without modifying existing aircraft engines or infrastructure
BC Ferries
  • Green Infrastructure

BC Ferries

  • About 9,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions saved annually
  • Cleaner and quieter transportation option for Vancouver-area commuters and tourists
  • Reduces passenger exposure to emissions from diesel ferries
Stock aerial photo of wastewater treatment
  • Green Infrastructure

Brandon and Red‑Seine‑Rat Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

  • Contributes to communities’ sustainable growth through investments in water infrastructure
  • Increased water capacity supports future developments of approximately 15,000 new housing units
  • First investment under the CIB’s Infrastructure for Housing Initiative
Port of Prince Rupert
  • Trade & Transportation

CANXPORT Logistics

  • Facility will handle 6 million tonnes of cargo
  • Project will improve and expand flow of exports, helping Canadian businesses to reach international markets
  • Two local First Nations will receive significant benefits from project
Apartment building - St Clair
  • Green Infrastructure

CAPREIT Retrofits

  • CAPREIT’s overall annual greenhouse gas emissions to be cut 40%
  • Deep energy and decarbonization retrofits to improve the quality of living for residents
  • CIB loan contains tenant protections that restrict rent increases
President of Efficiency Capital Matt Zipchen, CEO of Efficiency Capital, Chandra Ramadurai, MP Julie Dabrusin and CIB’s Senior Director Investments, Gregory Balycky at the Canada Green Building Council conference
  • Green Infrastructure

Efficiency Capital Retrofits

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in retrofitted buildings by a minimum of 30%
  • Increasing the energy efficiency of small- to medium-sized buildings
  • Investment repaid through energy savings generated by the retrofits
ai generated image of building
  • Green Infrastructure

Enbridge Sustain-Blackstone Retrofits

  • Upgrades to buildings include on-site geothermal, solar and other renewables, coupled with battery storage.
  • Universities, colleges and hospitals are among the customers to cut emissions by at least 30 per cent.
Highland Electric bus
  • Public Transit

Highland Electric Zero-Emission Buses

  • About 5,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions saved annually
  • Cleaner and quieter student transit
  • Reduces students’ exposure to emissions from diesel buses
Rendering of HTEC liquefaction facility
  • Green Infrastructure

HTEC Hydrogen Production and Refuelling Infrastructure

  • Promotes the adoption and deployment of fuel cell vehicles and low carbon transportation solutions
  • Up to 20 hydrogen refuelling stations to be built in British Columbia and Alberta
  • Estimated to generate more than 280 full-time jobs over the construction and operations phases
Office building
  • Green Infrastructure

KingSett Capital Retrofits

  • Reduces 6,095 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually
  • More than 4.8M square feet of space to be upgraded with low-emitting technologies
  • Enhances building energy efficiency and energy cost savings
Rendering of Montreal Metropolitan Airport domestic terminal
  • Trade & Transportation

MET - Montreal Metropolitan Airport (YHU)

  • Enhancing domestic transportation options to access the Montreal region
  • Terminal capacity to support up to approximately four million passengers a year
  • Located 15 kilometres from Montreal with modern terminal and nine gates
Rendering of an energy storage facility that will be built in Nova Scotia.
  • Clean Power

Nova Scotia Energy Storage

  • Energy storage is essential for Nova Scotia’s move towards more renewable electricity
  • Reduce 98,000 tonnes of GHGs annually, supports renewable power generation and future needs
  • 13 Mi’kmaw communities to partner with support from Indigenous equity loan
Bob Espey, President and CEO of Parkland, and Ehren Cory, CEO of the CIB, pictured together
  • Green Infrastructure

Parkland EV Charging Network

  • Sites across Canada to see new public fast charging infrastructure installed
  • Alleviating range anxiety and supporting EV adoption
  • Paves the way for the installation of up to 2,000 new fast charging ports

Do you have infrastructure projects that we can help to accelerate?


Investment proposals: