BC indigenous communities get CA$5.9M for clean energy & upskilling

 BC indigenous communities get CA$5.9M for clean energy & upskilling

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The Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan) has committed CA$5.9 million for innovative clean energy projects and skills training. This is a welcome move towards promoting green economy and digital skills among indigenous communities.

BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative and the First Nations Technology Council are the two recipients of this funding by PacifiCan. The announcement was made during the Indigenous Partnerships Success Showcase.

As part of this announcement, the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) will receive over CA$3.9 million in funding. This will support 14 Indigenous communities in developing new clean energy projects and reducing reliance on non-renewable fuels. PacifiCan is going to contribute CA$2.3 million, while Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) will provide CA$1.6 million.

The BCICEI has a successful track record in delivering support for clean energy projects. The initiative has provided CA$26 million since its inception in 2016, resulting in over 100 clean energy projects. As per the agency, these efforts have created 1,400 jobs and reduced diesel usage by over 2.8 million litres annually.

From the very beginning, PacifiCan has been an enthusiastic champion and supporter of the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, which has created thousands of jobs and launched 100 clean energy projects. These projects have generated enough clean energy to power over 3,600 homes and reduced enough CO2 emissions to take the equivalent of 128,000 cars off the road for a year.  PacifiCan will continue to work with Indigenous peoples, businesses and other partners in B.C. to create lasting economic development that advances reconciliation.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development

Also read: Canada cleantech tax credits get big boost in federal budget

Empowering Indigenous Communities through Digital Skills & Opportunities

In addition to green energy, digital technology is also a primary focus area for the funding. Over CA$2 million is earmarked for the Digital Horizons technology employment training program, to be delivered by the First Nations Technology Council.

Rooted in cultural understanding, this program aims to equip over 700 Indigenous individuals with in-demand digital skills. They can pursue roles in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector or start their own tech businesses. The program aims to change the narrative by addressing the underrepresentation of Indigenous people in the workforce, despite diversity being a recognized strength in the ICT industry.

Through this funding, the Canadian government aims to create robust economic benefits for Indigenous communities in British Columbia. Moreover, it hopes to encourage collaborative partnerships and foster a path towards sustainable growth and self-reliance.

Last year, Minister Sajjan announced over CA$5.2 million in PacifiCan funding for 19 projects on Vancouver Island and the Coast. This includes CA$3.6 million for 11 projects from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund and CA$1.6 million for eight projects from the Tourism Relief Fund.

Other relevant British Columbia news: Clean energy innovations get CA$5.2M more support from BC and BC e-bike rebate launched: 5 things to know


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