Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

July 20, 2009 10:38 ET

Government of Canada Increases Access to Business Financing for First Nations in Quebec

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 20, 2009) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, today announced a funding arrangement with Desjardins Group to provide debt financing to First Nation businesses in Quebec with assets on a reserve.

"The Government of Canada is committed to finding new ways to address some of the economic barriers First Nation businesses face everyday," said Minister Strahl. "Thanks to the participation of Desjardins Group, Aboriginal businesses in Quebec will have new opportunities to grow and prosper. Through initiatives such as the Loan Loss Reserve and other Aboriginal economic development measures, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its continued commitment to increasing Aboriginal participation in the Canadian economy."

"This fund is an additional tool that Desjardins Group can use to provide Aboriginal entrepreneurs with more effective support in developing their current and future businesses," said Stephane Achard, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Business Services, at Desjardins Group. "Members of First Nations are an integral part of Desjardins' business clientele, and this project reaffirms our desire to continue being their partner of choice."

The Government of Canada will provide $3 million through INAC's pilot Loan Loss Reserve Initiative (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ai/mr/nr/j-a2009/bk000000306-eng.asp?p1=209557&p2=1064691). The reserve fund works by offsetting a portion of the lender's potential losses on loans to First Nation businesses, thus reducing the financial risks associated with lending to on-reserve First Nation businesses.

Desjardins Group (http://www.desjardins.com/en/) is the largest cooperative financial group in Canada, and the ninth largest in the world, with overall assets of approximately $160 billion. Drawing on the strength of its caisse network in Quebec and Ontario, as well as its subsidiaries, several of which are active throughout Canada, Desjardins offers a full range of financial products and services to its 5.8 million individual and business members and clients. To find out more, consult www.desjardins.com.

The Loan Loss Reserve Initiative is part of the Government of Canada's new Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ecd/ffaed-eng.asp), which is focused on increasing Aboriginal participation in the Canadian economy. In addition to other priorities, the Framework will align federal actions across departments and agencies to strengthen Aboriginal entrepreneurship and improve access to capital by forging new and effective partnerships.

This release is also available on the Internet at www.inac.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Nina Chiarelli
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    819-997-0002
    or
    Media Relations
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    819-953-1160
    or
    Desjardins Group
    Andre Chapleau
    Director, Information and Media Relations
    514-281-7229 or 1-866-866-7000 x 7229