The BC Government is providing $1.2 million to help advance the role of First Nations in BC’s economy.
The money will help the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) launch the new Centre of Excellence in First Nations Economic Development.
The funding is a part of the StrongerBC Economic Plan, and will help increase the capacity of First Nations in BC to engage priorities and initiatives highlighted in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan.
“The concept of the Centre of Excellence has been ongoing for several years, and now we will see the resources brought forward to this concept of a known entity that is developed by First Nations for First Nations,” said BCAFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee.
“This concept of a Centre of Excellence will help and support the 204 First Nations communities in British Columbia to really breathe life into what reconciliation means, much more than just acknowledgements.”
Teegee added that this is a continuation of work done on what is called ‘the black books’, a guidebook for First Nations in terms of economic development.
“This bodes well with the continued work that we’ve been doing to align many of the laws and policies of British Columbia with the United Nation’s Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People,” Teegee said.
Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Ravi Kahlon said the centre will help communities develop more economic capacity and attract investment.
“It builds on the supports we’ve already put in place for small business, local governments, and many local First Nation,” Kahlon said.
“The establishment of this centre moves us forward on one of the main missions of the StrongerBC economic plan. The centre is one of the many steps that we’re taking to advance economic opportunities for First Nations.”
According to the province, the First Nations-led centre will employ approximately six people this year, with plans to grow in the coming years.