Members of the provincial government, including Kenora Rainy-River MPP Greg Rickford, are partnering with the Chiefs of Ontario to provide $25 million to Indigenous-owned businesses as they work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Indigenous communities welcome this funding to help businesses and organizations,” said Ontario Regional Chief, Glen Hare.

“First Nations communities continue to struggle to recover after the COVID-19 pandemic, and this funding will assist with the economic recovery and development for business and entrepreneurs.”

Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Northern Development, helped to announce the $25 million over three years fund earlier this month, aimed to remove barriers for Indigenous people in apprenticeships, provide training opportunities and help businesses recover.

“Indigenous businesses have an incredible opportunity,” said Rickford, during Question Period at Queen’s Park. 

“This is an Indigenous-led and inspired fund by the Chiefs of Ontario. We’re proud of the work that we’re doing with the Chiefs of Ontario and our Indigenous businesses. We’re going to get this done and Indigenous communities will be the benefit of it,” adds Rickford.

Ontario says the three-year fund includes:

- $10 million to increase access to low-interest loans and grants for Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs,
- $2.5 million for capital to support digitization and e-commerce,
- $800,000 to map and better understand issues within Ontario’s Indigenous supply chain and facilitate solutions to increase opportunities for Indigenous businesses in Ontario,
- $7.7 million in funding to support economic development training opportunities in communities,
- $4 million to reduce financial barriers for Indigenous apprentices,