Ontario Newsroom

Province Investing in Economic Development for Indigenous Communities in Central and Southwestern Ontario

Archived News Release

Province Investing in Economic Development for Indigenous Communities in Central and Southwestern Ontario

Ontario Supporting Indigenous Communities to Train and Build a Skilled Workforce

Ministry of Indigenous Affairs

Ontario is supporting Indigenous communities in Central and Southwestern Ontario to build a skilled workforce through training programs and infrastructure projects. 

The province is funding five projects across central and southwestern Ontario. Examples include:

  • The Inuit Art Foundation (IAF) will receive funding to help it protect the integrity and works of Inuit artists by reimagining the Igloo Tag Trademark it now controls. The internationally recognized trademark was created by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in 1958. It helps distinguish genuine Inuit art from counterfeits and is most often applied to sculptures. The trademark contributes approximately $3.5 million each year to the Inuit arts economy, with an added value of almost $120 for pieces with the mark.
  • The Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre will receive funding to help Indigenous single mothers with children to access education that leads to employment. This funding will allow the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre to work with Niagara College Homeward Bound in facilitating internships, job shadowing and job placements.

Supporting economic growth for Indigenous communities is one of the many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government's commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is providing the Inuit Art Foundation with $96,844 to help it reimagine the Igloo Tag Trademark.
  • Ontario is investing $100,000 in the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre for its employment initiative for Indigenous single women with children.
  • Other projects receiving funding in Central and Southwestern Ontario are:
    • $99,000 for Native Canadian Centre of Toronto’s Indigenous Marketplace to pair small businesses with entrepreneurial training and growth supports.
    • $50,000 for Six Nations Polytechnic in Six Nations of the Grand River to complete its feasibility study for a new student residence and commercial centre.
    • $54,700 for Chippewas of the Thames for a feasibility study for its Miinkaanens Hub project, intended to support cultural, social and economic development.

Additional Resources


“Today’s investments will help expand employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for Indigenous people in Ontario. These grants are part of Ontario’s commitment to work closely with Indigenous partners so they can fully develop the talent and economic opportunities in their communities. From supporting education and employment opportunities for single mothers to protecting Inuit art and culture and beyond these are important steps in Ontario’s journey of reconciliation.”

David Zimmer

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

“The Inuit Art Foundation’s partnership with the province of Ontario came at crucial time in the development and revitalization of The Igloo Tag Trademark. Officially transferred to the Foundation on July 16, 2017, this iconic mark distinguishes artwork made by Inuit from other mass-market, fraudulent objects. Since that time, the vital support we have received from the Province has allowed us to reinforce our infrastructure and conduct necessary consultations, which will result in significant impact for Inuit artists living and working in Ontario.”

Camille Usher

Programs Coordinator, Inuit Art Foundation

“The Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre is grateful for the support of the Ontario Government in helping us launch Indigenous Homeward Bound Fort Erie. This initiative supports Indigenous single mothers with children to engage in educational upgrades followed by employment with social supports used throughout the project. We help lift Indigenous single mothers out of the cycle of poverty setting up future generations of Indigenous people to claim success.”

Jennifer Dockstader

Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre