The Canadian Infrastructure Bank’s (CIB) goal is to invest $35 billion in revenue generating infrastructure projects across the country. The CIB is working on projects from coast to coast to coast that reflect core sectors such as green infrastructure, clean power, trade and transportation, public transit, and broadband infrastructure. The CIB can invest alongside public and private sector partners, with the goal to develop projects which benefit Canadians in provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous communities. The focus is on outcomes – more infrastructure to grow the economy, reduce greenhouse gases, connect people and communities. Recognizing there are significant needs in First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities, the CIB has launched a program called the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative (ICII). This initiative supports investments or projects that are sized for First Nations, Metis, Inuit communities. The CIB does this in collaboration with communities who are looking at building infrastructure to start closing the significant infrastructure gap that Indigenous communities face. In its Statement of Priorities and Accountabilities, the Government set a target for the CIB to invest at least $1 billion in total across its five priority sectors for revenue-generating projects that benefit Indigenous Peoples. The emphasis for the CIB investing in Indigenous communities is on collaboration, facilitating and promoting new infrastructure partnerships at an increased pace. The CIB offers an additional tool to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit populations where communities can use a debt to move their projects forward a little bit faster.
CIB is about getting more indigenous populations, the core infrastructure that they need. And so it’s about how many projects and how many communities can they help to support by using alternative and innovative financing solutions. As a Crown Corporation, CIB is always looking for opportunities to make sure Indigenous communities can continue to generate revenue from new infrastructure for Indigenous populations. Hillary Thatcher, the CIB’s Senior Director, of Indigenous Project Development explains “It’s about having impact!. We want to make sure infrastructure is getting built and in this respect, the CIB is working with communities, provinces, territories and partners to make sure we can really be that tool to help communities get their project built.” The CIB is working with communities on the vision of what they want their infrastructure to look like in the community. The CIB serves as a tool to help Nations build solid outcomes and solid infrastructure with increased community, social and economic well-being. Thatcher asserts, “It’s really important that we are a trusted partner within the public sector and with Indigenous communities. Building trust is important part of this work. Communities need to be able to engage with the CIB and know we have their best interests at heart and we’re here to really help them to find innovative financing solutions to get that infrastructure built.” The difference in working with the CIB is its ability to structure or absorb risk which then enables an increase in private capital and to use new models to finance infrastructure. With the growing infrastructure needs identified by Indigenous communities and limited options for government grants to fill that void for communities, partnering with the CIB is an opportunity to leverage debt at lower cost for capital and very flexible terms.