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Economic Development Sector


Toronto office
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Economic Development Sector

The Anishinaabek, Mushkegowuk, Onkwehonwe, and Lenape Peoples have relationships, rights, and responsibilities to the lands and water, which are drawn from sacred law and traditional law.   We are the original stewards of the land and we believe that what we do to the land we do to ourselves, and to our future generations.

So when it comes to economic development, First Nations in Ontario face a host of diverse and complex opportunities and challenges. The Chiefs of Ontario has played a role in working with communities to develop tools to address some of these opportunities and challenges. 

First Nation communities are becoming increasingly involved in sectors such as green energy projects, mining, forestry, agriculture, and gaming. From producing locally grown food to generating electricity, from owning and operating world class casinos, resorts, and golf courses, to producing the next generation of trades people and professionals, First Nations have vast potential to enhance the economies of their citizens.    

The Economic Development section of this website explores initiatives and available community tools.

Sustainable Economic Development

Sustainable economic development means committing ourselves to generate economic opportunities for our Peoples today while upholding our responsibility to the lands and the waters for future generations.  We believe that everything that we need to sustain us is contained in the resources of our Mother Earth.  Thus “sustainable development” must be exercised and developed not only to the benefits of our generations today, but that today’s development will not leave our future generations without these same benefits from sustainable resources.

Our Nations have the inherent right, as reaffirmed through the Treaties, the UNDRIP, and the Canadian Constitution, to protect, develop and utilize our traditional territories.  The Treaty relationship stipulates the sharing of resources within our territories, as well as the free, prior and informed consent required by our Nations for any development on these lands. 

We have a critical role to play in making sustainable development a reality in Canada, given our responsibilities for managing the lands, the importance of honouring Creation and the earth to our way of life, and the fact that we are most often the first to experience the impacts of environmental change and damage.

First Nations seek to build relationships with industry and commercial sectors, and foresee ourselves as players at all levels of the economy, but these relationships must be built  on our inherent right to assert jurisdiction over our traditional territories.



The Chiefs of Ontario First Nations Economic Baseline Database Survey for Economic Development Officers deadline has been closed.

See this link for background information:

The surveys were sent to Economic Development Officers on February 13, 2014. The 3 surveys were requested for voluntary participation and completion by March 10, 2014.

  • All submissions and information received will remain confidential.

Through collection of the survey’s we hope to obtain a good snap-shot of the First Nation business situation across the province so that we can use the information to advocate and influence government policies/programs/legislation that will enable First Nations businesses to be more viable and successful.

We at the Chiefs of Ontario would like to thank you for those of you who participated. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Gary Dokis, Economic Coordinator at or Christine Shawana, Project Assistant at or toll free at 1 877 517 6527.