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Freeland says $5 billion just a start for Indigenous loan guarantee program

TORONTO — Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the $5-billion announced for an Indigenous loan guarantee program in last week's budget is just a start.

Speaking to media at the First Nations Major Projects Coalition conference Tuesday, Freeland says nothing would make her happier than for it to be oversubscribed and needing to put more funding in place.

By guaranteeing loans through the program, the federal government intends to help Indigenous borrowers secure more favourable interest rates when investing in natural resource and energy projects.

The First Nations Major Projects Coalition estimates there will be $525 billion in capital investment opportunities for Indigenous equity participation over the next 10 years.

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Mark Podlasly, chief sustainability officer of the coalition, said in a chat with Freeland at the conference that the loan guarantee program is the "the biggest step toward economic reconciliation we have ever seen as a country."

The government says the loan program is open to a wide range of natural resource and energy projects and will support projects across the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press