RBC releases fifth annual Aboriginal Partnership Report ahead of
National Aboriginal Day on June 21
TORONTO, June 11, 2013 /CNW/ - As the youngest and fastest growing
segment of Canadian population, Aboriginal peoples are poised to build
strong and sustainable economies through the development of housing and
community infrastructure projects. With the right resources, they can
overcome financial obstacles and focus on creating prosperous and
healthy communities, according to A Chosen Journey: RBC Aboriginal Partnership Report released today.
"Housing remains a critical infrastructure issue for many First Nations
communities," said Chinyere Eni, national director, Aboriginal Markets, RBC. "With conventional residential mortgages unavailable to First
Nation members living on reserves, it was important to create a loan
program to address this issue and provide the growing number of
Aboriginal families with the opportunity to enjoy the long-term
benefits of home ownership."
In 1999, RBC was the first financial institution to create an On-Reserve Housing Loan Program. This unique mortgage program doesn't require a federal government
guarantee and works directly with First Nation governments to determine
the terms and conditions of the program and eligibility requirements.
RBC administers the program that allows community members to purchase,
build or renovate a home - a program that has grown almost 40 per cent
in the last five years and has extended a total of $121 million of
authorized credit to 77 First Nation communities.
In addition to increasing home ownership on reserves, some First Nation
communities have seen a need to provide affordable housing to its band
members who live off-reserve and are pursuing post-secondary education,
training and job opportunities in urban centres.
Siksika First Nation is just one example of an Aboriginal community that created an
off-reserve housing project in Calgary. Funded by Siksika Nation Chief
and Council and the provincial government to purchase buildings,
additional funding from RBC allowed the First Nation to cover the costs
of upgrades and repairs to several of its units.
"Supporting the development of community infrastructure projects is key
to creating income earning opportunities for the growing Aboriginal
population," adds Eni. "These projects will not only generate revenue
and employment opportunities today, they will also have a positive
impact on the community's well being well into the future."
Other highlights from the report include:
Madawaska Maliseet First Nation in New Brunswick, is building the Grey Rock Power Centre - a roadside,
multifaceted, commercial power centre that is expected to create up to
300 jobs for the band and surrounding community in a region hit hard by
the closure of the pulp and paper mills. In fact, Chief Bernard says
her Council went out of their way to ensure that 98 per cent of the
investment would be spent locally, thanks, in part, to a RBC financing
Ontario's Couchiching First Nation, home to more than 2,000 band members, has seen dramatic changes in
recent years. From the addition of a championship golf course to a new
400-seat arena that opened in April of this year, the reserve has built
revenue-generating facilities that provide band members with employment
opportunities and access to modern recreation amenities, funded, in
part, by RBC.
The 2013 RBC Aboriginal Partnership Report is available online at www.rbcroyalbank.com/aboriginal.
About RBC and Aboriginal Canadians
RBC has a proud history of strong relationships with Aboriginal peoples.
For more than 100 years, RBC has helped strengthen First Nations, Inuit
and Métis communities across Canada. We are committed to serving
Aboriginal governments, communities, organizations, businesses and
individuals by creating opportunities for sustainable economic
development through: access to banking and capital; community and social development; employment, education and training; and procurement. RBC also provides donations and grants that support Aboriginal
interests in three key areas: the environment, specifically water;
youth literacy and education; and culture and heritage. For more
information about these programs and more, visit rbcroyalbank.com/aboriginal and click on "A Chosen Journey Annual Report".
Image with caption: "A Chosen Journey (CNW Group/RBC)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130611_C6946_PHOTO_EN_27820.jpg
For further information:
Angela Harkey, RBC Corporate Communications, 416 313-5001
Kate Yurincich, RBC Corporate Communications, 416 974-1031