AIOC backs largest Indigenous energy partnership
2022-09-28

Worth $1.12 billion, this energy partnership between Enbridge and the 23 communities, which have formed a partnership called Athabasca Indigenous Investments, is the largest of its kind in North America.

This major investment provides a long-term stream of income for Indigenous communities, which was the driving force behind AIOC.

“Alberta’s government has a moral obligation to share in the bounty and prosperity of this land, which we can finally do through AIOC as a backstop of the government’s faith and credit.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

AIOC began with a mandate to back secure investments in natural resource development projects, but that changed in February 2022 with an expansion into agriculture, telecommunications and transportation. The minimum investment threshold of $20 million remains in place to be sure projects are large enough to create significant and sustainable earnings for Indigenous communities.

“This project is exciting and historic in its scale. For all 23 Indigenous communities that are investing in these infrastructure assets, there is a more stable economic future ahead.”

Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

AIOC can provide up to $1 billion of support to major Indigenous investments through loan guarantees and other financial tools. This project brings the total backing to $410 million since 2020.

“AIOC is immensely proud of our role in this historic transaction. When our corporation was created in late 2019, we set out to be a catalyst for Indigenous prosperity here in Alberta, and to see the work we have been able to accomplish in such a relatively short window is beyond exciting. This announcement represents everything we want to be known for – multi-generational projects that bring real economic prosperity to Indigenous and Métis communities in Alberta.”

Chana Martineau, CEO, Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation

Quick facts

  • Prior AIOC-backed investments include:

    • $93 million for an equity stake in the Cascade Power Project near Hinton, supporting six participating First Nations.

    • $25 million loan guarantee to Frog Lake First Nation to maintain ownership of their steam-assisted gravity drainage operation.

    • $40 million loan guarantee to the eight Indigenous communities that have formed the Astisiy Limited Partnership to purchase the Northern Courier Pipeline System.

  • Indigenous communities, particularly First Nations – as their reserves are considered federal land – may have more challenges to secure significant financial backing because they have less collateral than non-Indigenous communities.

  • Among the 23 Indigenous communities are four Metis Settlements – the first that have been part of an AIOC-backed project.

  • The 23 communities are:

Metis Settlements

  • Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement

  • Kikino Metis Settlement

  • Elizabeth Metis Settlement

  • Fishing Lake Metis Settlement

Treaty 8 First Nations

  • Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

  • Chipewyan Prairie First Nation

  • Fort McKay First Nation

  • Fort McMurray 468 First Nation

  • Mikisew Cree First Nation

Métis communities

  • Chard Métis Nation

  • Conklin Métis Local 193

  • Fort Chipewyan Métis Local 125

  • Fort McKay Métis Nation

  • McMurray Métis Local 1935

  • Willow Lake Métis Nation

Treaty 6 First Nations

  • Beaver Lake Cree Nation

  • Cold Lake First Nations

  • Frog Lake First Nation

  • Heart Lake First Nation

  • Kehewin Cree Nation

  • Onion Lake Cree Nation

  • Saddle Lake Cree Nation

  • Whitefish/Goodfish Lake First Nation