Economic strategy starts

Victoria is providing $2.5 million for the First Nations Sustainable Economic Development Strategy

Shane Gottfriedson

Shane Gottfriedson

Improving economic outcomes and business development opportunities in First Nations communities is at the heart of a provincial partnership with the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.

The provincial government is providing up to $2.5 million over three years to support the continued development of the First Nations Sustainable Economic Development Strategy by the BCAFN.

“We must work together to ensure more positive, constructive, and meaningful relationships with government and industry, and in turn, we must work together as First Nations governments to address the poverty in our communities that has sadly become commonplace,” said Shane Gottfriedson, regional chief.

“It is time for us to start managing wealth rather than administering poverty.”

Provincial funding will support a variety of initiatives within the strategy to advance sustainable economic reconciliation with First Nations and provide tangible results for people within those communities.

Initiatives include establishing a roundtable of First Nations economic champions from all regions of the province to provide economic advice to the BCAFN and First Nations communities; improving the quality of employment data for on-reserve communities; development of “black books” to help guide sustainable economic development projects in First Nations communities, and engaging with all levels of government and industry associations on employment, mentorship and economic planning programs.

The strategy aims to ensure First Nations have the opportunities and resources to engage in economic development projects in their respective traditional territories, and that they see improved employment, training and benefits.

“This is an exciting B.C. Assembly of First Nations’ project to support, one that can make a real difference in increasing capacity and helping First Nations take advantage of a growing economy,” said John Rustad, aboriginal relations minister.

In the spring, the B.C. Assembly of First Nations held regional economic development workshops in five communities, including Enderby.

First Nations provided feedback and advice on regional economic development and fiscal relations. BCAFN plans to undertake a second around of regional workshops in the fall.