L-R: Aaron Cardinal, Minister Feehan, Jane Stroud, councillor, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Erica Janvier, Chief Vern Janvier, Channing Napoose, Autumn Marcel and Marcel Janvier, councillor, Chipewyan Prairie First Nation.

Jobs created: 20 during construction, 8 permanent full-time positions

A northeast Alberta First Nation has received $492,000 from Alberta’s Aboriginal Business Investment Fund to support toward an eco-friendly commercial laundry facility that will serve the busy oilfield. The laundry has already led a local entrepreneur to create a new business providing the laundry with water and wastewater disposal services.

“This new business has allowed us the opportunity to provide sustainable employment for a few of our members,” said Chief Vern Janvier, Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, which is located south of Fort McMurray near the Saskatchewan border.

“With employment like this, our people can establish long-term plans and goals, just like other Albertans.”

Richard Feehan, minister of indigenous relations, says that the Alberta government is proud to support the business venture.

“It creates a new revenue stream for the Chipewyan Prairie First Nation that can be used to re-invest in important community services and employment and training opportunities for community members,” he said in a press release.

“First Nation businesses contribute to healthier local economies by promoting growth and prosperity that makes life better for all Albertans.”

According to a press release, 20 jobs were created during construction, with an additional eight permanent full-time jobs.

Established in 2015-16, the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund has provided $15 million to 24 in grants to Indigenous community-owned businesses in a variety of sectors to promote growth and jobs. The program offers direct investment into eligible Indigenous community-owned businesses and is intended for capital projects that are close to starting operations or breaking ground for building projects within the funding year.

Sectors include finance, construction and maintenance, forestry, the service industry, tourism and communications.