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Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation Award

About the Award

It takes vision, tenacity, and courage to support community economic development, and the recipients of the AEDC award have these qualities in spades. Responsible for wealth creation, rising levels of employment, and business development in Indigenous communities, the award recognizes an AEDC’s profound work and ability to increase the prosperity and sustainable economic development of entire communities.

Eligibility Criteria

The award is open to all Aboriginal Economic Development Corporations (AEDC) in Canada. AEDC’s are the economic and business development arm of a First Nations, Métis or Inuit government, and are a major economic driver for Indigenous communities. These community-owned businesses invest in, own and/or manage subsidiary businesses with the goal of providing financial support to advance community interests.

The corporations will have demonstrated effective economic leadership, skill and innovation. While special acts or other one-time achievements will be considered, this award will place special emphasis on effective and sustained efforts worthy of recognition. This justification will serve as the principal basis for the selection of the award recipient.

Project Size: What is the size and scope of the projects undertaken by the corporation? Are they ambitious?

Innovation: Is the corporation particularly innovative in the industries they operate in? Are they a major economic driver for Indigenous communities and have demonstrated effective economic leadership, skill, and innovation?

Economic Ecosystem: Have the activities of the corporation increased business and employment opportunities for its community members?

Measurable Results – Nominees must contribute in a substantive way to the economic well-being of their community.  Their results are identifiable and measurable, and include economic development, employment opportunities, sustained business growth, start and maintain new ventures, and create options for the future.

Nominations for 2024 are closed. The award was presented at the 40th Anniversary Award Gala, May 29, 2024.

Candidates are deemed ineligible if they have an existing formal relationship with CCIB (e.g. Board of Directors, CCIB Staff member, Award Sponsor, etc.)

Current Award Recipient

2024

Det’on Cho Management LP

Det’on Cho Management LP

Det’on Cho Management LP (Det’on Cho) is 100% owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN), who have occupied their traditional lands in Chief Drygeese Territory within Akaitcho Territory for thousands of years. As signatories to Treaty 8, the YKDFN are part of the Akaitcho process, which is currently negotiating a land, resources, and self-government agreement with the Government of Canada.

Many of the 1400+ members of the YKDFN live in their two communities of Dettah and Ndilǫ, both located near Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories. The YKDFN members are governed by two Chiefs, one representing each community, and a 10-person elected Council. The community is deeply committed to maintaining traditional cultural values such as speaking their Weledeh language; maintaining a traditional lifestyle of hunting, fishing, and trapping; respecting the land; and protecting Treaty rights.

Past Award Recipients

2023

Meadow Lake Tribal Council Industrial Investment (MLTCII)

Meadow Lake Tribal Council Industrial Investment

Read the official press release

Meadow Lake Tribal Council Industrial Investment is the 2023 recipient of Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’ Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation Award.

A group of nine First Nations form the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, and this led to the creation of Meadow Lake Tribal Council Industrial Investments (MLTCII) in 2012. Based in Saskatchewan, the Indigenous-owned MLTCII continues to make a meaningful and positive impact on economic development, focusing on five sectors: forestry, renewable energy, oil and gas, agriculture, and hospitality services.

“MLTC was founded over 40 years ago, in the 10 years since developing MLTCII, they have made an exceptional economic impact throughout northwest Saskatchewan and beyond,” says president & CEO, Tabatha Bull. “The continuous growth in the number of projects and their success makes MLTCII a most deserving recipient of the AEDC award. Our sincere congratulations to MTCII.”

MLTC manages four wholly owned companies: NorSask Forest Products, Northwind Forest Products, MLTC Bioenergy Centre, and most recently, MLTC Solar Farm and has partnership positions in another 10 active companies. These companies are spread across MLTC’ s traditional territories in northwest Saskatchewan and the remainder of the province. MLTC provides many direct and indirect benefits by contributing to employment, dividend distribution to communities and overall economic growth.

“As we look at the future, MLTC is enthusiastic about new opportunities for diversification and growth in forestry, agriculture, petroleum services, the hospitality industry, renewable energy, digital communication and environmental consulting,” says Richard Ben, Tribal Chief of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. “It is truly an honour to be recognized among the outstanding group of past winners. MLTC will continue to work toward the betterment of our nine nations and is looking to the future with optimism.”

2022

Cree Regional Economic Enterprises Company Inc. (CREECO)

Cree Regional Economic Enterprises Company Inc.

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Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) is pleased to announce Cree Regional Economic Enterprises Company Inc. (CREECO) as the 2022 recipient of their national Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation Award. CREECO has continuously made meaningful contributions to Cree development and represents the Cree communities in Quebec. Incorporated in 1982, CREECO is a subsidiary wholly owned by the Cree Nation Government which acts through the Board of Compensation. CREECO is involved in many economic sectors, and its subsidiaries are committed to profitability, longevity, stability, services for Cree communities, autonomy and self-sufficiency, leadership, transparency, employment for Cree people, and finally, Cree participation in the areas of administration and development.

The Cree Nation of Northern Quebec consists of nine communities. Approximately 20,000 people combined inhabit this area. With a mandate to harness employment and development opportunities in
Cree territory, CREECO was established in 1982. With several wholly owned subsidiaries, and established joint ventures, profits are redistributed to the communities as dividends, community members are their shareholders.

CREECO companies include Air Creebec, Cree Construction, Valpiro, Gestion ADC, Eeyou Eenou Realty Properties, Quality Inn, Suites Val d’Or and more, while also being involved in the mining and renewable energy sectors. These companies and others contribute to the development of employment, training and revenue for the Nation. Their latest project expands the company into the world of real estate with a $100M, 26-storey tower on Robert Bourassa Boulevard in Montreal, QC which is under construction.

Past Winners

2021

Mikisew Group of Companies

Mikisew Group of Companies

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Mikisew Group of Companies, based in Alberta, strives to transcend economic prosperity and self-reliance in the Mikisew Cree First Nations. Their goal to work towards economic and community development is exhibited in their tagline “Pride of a Nation” meaning to drive innovation, corporate performance, and pride of operation among their community’s businesses.

Mikisew Cree First Nation members reside in northeastern Alberta’s Athabasca Delta and Wood Buffalo National Park. Mikisew has over 3,000 members with two designated entities to ensure long-term, sustainable economic progress, Mikisew Group and Mikisew Government and Industry Relations. With the decline of Mikisew’s traditional economy commercial fishery and fur trade, in 1991 they pivoted to the oil and gas sector within their traditional territory. Now balancing environmental concerns while providing economic benefits to their members, Mikisew Group of Companies has 13 operating entities. They develop capacity among their employees, employ members from the community, and generate sustainable returns. In addition, Mikisew Cree First Nation has majority interest in two hotels in two Fort McMurray hotels along with ownership in a major remote solar farm in Fort Chipewyan.

The  2021 AEDC award recognizes that Mikisew Group Companies has gone above and beyond to help their community members, and Nation, to become equipped with sustainable profits while also being an integral part in their community. Over the years, their company has diversified their revenues, and added new products and services resulting in tremendous growth.

2020

Ntityix Development Corporation

Ntityix Development Corporation

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Ntityix Development Corporation is the general partner that manages the corporate division of Westbank First Nation. It exists to serve the social, cultural, and economic interests of the community. The corporate division of Westbank First Nation (formerly Westbank Indian Band) began in 1973 with the formation of Westbank Indian Band Development Company.

Today, the corporation manages multiple divisions including 59,000 hectares of forest tenure, a construction division responsible for the majority of the WFN community core institutional buildings and residential housing needs for band members, two shopping centre partnerships, and a retail gift store.“The CCAB AEDC Award validates the tremendous work done not just over our last fiscal year but most importantly by recognizing each WFN Member that has been involved with WFN corporate economic development over the past several decades. This award celebrates and recognizes their entrepreneurial spirit, their dedication, their fight, their determination, and their relentless hard work to shape NDC into what it is today. limlemt.”

2019

Pimee Well Servicing LP

Pimee Well Servicing LP

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“We are the Natural Stewards of our resources. Pimee Well Servicing was founded 35 years ago, but we have been here for 10,000 and will be here for 10,000 more.” – Clayton Byrt, CEO, Pimee Well Servicing LP

A leader in oil and gas industry well services, the company was established in 1984 and is co-owned by the Heart Lake First Nation, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Whitefish (GoodFish) Lake First Nation, Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Kehewin Cree Nation and Frog Lake First Nation.

Pimee Well Servicing represents Indigenous entrepreneurship at its best. The company was founded by the Shareholder Chiefs with the express purpose of creating jobs for their people and giving back to their communities.

The company has consistently achieved those foundational goals. Today, 97 per cent of the company’s 138 full-time employees are Indigenous. Pimee Well Servicing also pays regular dividends to the shareholder First Nations that are used to fund youth and elder programs and support local recreation and sports organizations. These dividends also support community investments in daycare and other “Public Good” projects and programs.

The company credits its strong track record of growth and profitability to its ability to attract and keep highly motivated employees. To support its flourishing workforce, Pimee Well Servicing provides comprehensive training and mentorship programs.

2018

Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN) Fort McKay Group of Companies (FMGOC)

Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN) Fort McKay Group of Companies (FMGOC)

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Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and Sodexo Canada are pleased to announce Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN) Fort McKay Group of Companies (FMGOC) as the recipient of the CCAB 2018 Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) of the Year Award.

Given its geographic location, Fort McKay has championed many opportunities to work with the forestry, oil sands, and pipeline industries in Alberta. Over time, they became known for their commitment to  establishing and maintaining positive partnerships with surrounding industry while still preserving their cultural values.

FMFN made its first major foray into business in 1986 when it established the Fort McKay Group of Companies (FMGOC), which is fully owned and operated by the Fort McKay First Nation. In addition to this FMFN has also established numerous joint venture companies. It is this progressive collaboration that continues to contribute to a legacy of pride and promises a brighter future for generations to come.

By forming constructive partnerships, Fort McKay First Nation is able to implement the necessary framework to support progressive economic, industrial, and social developments in the region.

2017

Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation

Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation

Read the official press release

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and Sodexo Canada are pleased to announce Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation as the recipient of the CCAB 2017 Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) of the Year Award.

Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) manages the economic interests of the people of Six Nations of the Grand River (Six Nations) located between Hamilton, Brantford and Simcoe Ontario. One of the primary drivers behind the creation of the Corporation was recognizing the need to separate business from politics.

2016

Tsuut’ina Nation – Economic Development Lands and South West Ring Road

Tsuut’ina Chief Roy Whitney-Onespot and Vice President, Communications & Corporate Affairs Sodexo Canada

Tsuut’ina Nation – Economic Development Lands and South West Ring Road

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CCAB and Sodexo Canada are pleased to announce that Tsuut’ina Nation – Economic Development Lands and South West Ring Road are the recipient of the Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation Award for 2016. 

Tsuut’ina was chosen among a field of excellent candidates for its historic Transportation and Utility Corridor (TUC) Agreement with the Province of Alberta that transferred 1058 acres of land to the province for the construction of the final portion of the South West Ring Road.

2015

Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation

Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation

The Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation is a for-profit Corporation, incorporated under the provisions of the British Columbia Companies Act in 2007, owned by the Penticton Indian Band. 

Read the official press release 

PIBDC is the principal economic development, marketing and promotional organization for the Penticton Indian Band.  PIBDC is the business investment vehicle pursuing business joint ventures and investment opportunities on behalf of Penticton Indian Band community and stakeholders that meet the established investment criteria developed by PIBDC.

PIBDC exists to ensure the certainty of the Penticton Indian Band’s traditional values and provide a sustainable economic return. 

Watch Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation vignette here:

Award Sponsor

2014

Membertou Economic Development Corporation

Membertou Economic Development Corporation

Read the official press release 

Named after the Grand Chief Membertou (1510-1611) the community of Membertou belongs to the greater tribal group of the Mi’kmaw Nation.

Membertou is situated 3 kilometres from the heart of the city of Sydney, Nova Scotia, within its tribal district of Unama’ki (Cape Breton). It is one of five Mi’kmaw communities in Cape Breton, and one of 13 in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Membertou is an urban First Nation community consisting of over 1260 people, and one of five communities that make up the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, with a total population of over 115 thousand people.

The community of Membertou successfully overcame the significant challenges facing an urban First Nation community. In a two-decade span from 1995-2014, Membertou First Nation lifted itself from a poor community with low morale and a high unemployment rate to a very strong community within a community that has seen progress, economic growth and a commitment to its culture and heritage.

CCAB would like to recognize and thank Sodexo Canada the founding and exclusive sponsor for the Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) of the Year Award.  Sodexo is proud to be celebrated as one of the top diversity employers in Canada and a CCAB Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) Gold Certified company.