Creating access to financial services for everyone is core to who we are as a credit union.
Systemic discrimination has resulted in a lack of historical relationships between banking institutions and Indigenous communities. This has created an unequal distribution of capital and access to opportunities which have far-reaching impacts on the lives and financial well-being of many Indigenous communities and people.
Reconciliation is one of Vancity’s core organizational values. Our commitment to the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) certification program marks the latest phase in our ongoing journey.
This builds on steps we've taken, such as being a founding partner of Reconciliation Canada, adopting the call to action for businesses from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and adopting the UN Declaration of the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Our partnerships with First Nation communities are based in recognition of their right to self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government. We listen to understand how Vancity can support Indigenous communities. We don’t always have the answer, but we bring together those that do. We believe this is an approach that helps build community strength, resilience, and nurtures a true long-term partnership.
When the 'Namgis Nation told us they needed local access to financial services, we opened a Vancity branch in the village of Alert Bay to meet this need, the first remote community branch in Canada. When the Heiltsuk people wanted to build the Heiltsuk Horizon Maritime Services in Bella Bella so they can directly benefit from marine and economic activities within their territory, we provided fair financing and specialized business advice. Vancity worked with two First Nations partners, Tsawwassen and Skowkale, to create tailored mortgage solutions to the Nation’s land ownership arrangements.
Indigenous economies existed before there was Canada. Indigenous entrepreneurship is — and will continue to be — a driving force of the country’s economy.
Canada’s legacy of discrimination continues to create barriers for Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses. Vancity works to address these systemic barriers and develop fair access to finance for all.
Vancity works with organizations like:
Vancity supports Indigenous education programs like Simon Fraser University’s Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership program, as well as UBC Sauder School of Business Ch’nook program.
We work in partnership with Native Education College (NEC) to deliver our small business financial literacy program, and provide small business mentorship and advice.
In 2021, over $1.3MM in Shared Success funds (the share of our net profits reinvested in community) were invested in Indigenous initiatives like the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School, Stewards of Sc’ianew Society, and Bears’ Lair TV series for Indigenous Entrepreneurs.
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