FNII will support at least the following improvements in the First Nation infrastructure system:
- Longer term stable federal transfers – ensure that new infrastructure transfers can be monetized allowing the funds to be pledged as long-term financing security, for infrastructure.
- New revenues – new revenues could include First Nation resources, carbon, fuel, tobacco and cannabis tax jurisdiction and removing the current caps on the FNGST. They could also include participation in resource projects or other secure revenues.
- Improved access to capital – participating First Nations can combine improved long-term transfers with more revenues to build infrastructure sooner and have the necessary resources to ensure its sustainability. As more First Nations participate, risk diversification will improve credit and lower the cost of capital.
- Standards and capacity – will work with participating First Nations to implement standards efficiently and cost effectively. This will support more effective local, regional and provincial capacity development. It will increase expertise and reduce the complexity, time and cost of all phases of the infrastructure cycle.
- Reduce review processes – implement a shorter, comparable and equally effective review process. This saves time and money for First Nations.
- Support innovation – more infrastructure decisions and management will occur locally, tribally or regionally. This will provide the opportunity to implement infrastructure innovations appropriate for local circumstances. Share infrastructure design, support research, better policies and standards and to identify innovations that save time and money and improve sustainability.
- Capitalize on aggregation opportunities – Economies of scale can lead to efficiencies and lower costs. FNII will work with participating First Nations to take advantage of the strength from numbers. This could lead to costs savings related to procurement and professional support.
- Develop insurance options – will work with participating First Nations to develop affordable options for infrastructure insurance.
- Incorporate economic potential – will work with participating First Nations to break the unsustainable infrastructure cycle by incorporating economic and fiscal potential into the First Nation infrastructure system. It means supporting more economic infrastructure projects and ensuring First Nations receive more economic and fiscal benefits from resource and other projects in their territories.
- Stapled Finance Option – an option for smaller infrastructure projects to access favourable financing by using standards, defined in a term sheet which is then stapled to the design build contract (or design build operate contract).
FNII will build on the successful approach to implement innovations used by the other FMA institutions and provincial infrastructure agencies. The FMA approach to support innovations is based on a continuum that begins with quality research. This research initially supports legislation and regulations which eventually support sound policies and standards. These form the basis for best practice standards, sample laws and templates. These are tested, implemented and updated as necessary through research and test projects. Standards, templates and sample laws are the foundation that allows institutions to provide accredited and standardized training to support capacity development and other capacity support tools and services in support of innovations.
FNII will employ a similar process to implement all its proposed innovations as is illustrated below. It will work with its partners and use a national data base to conduct improved research about the proposed and other innovations. This research will ensure more effective First Nation partnerships, better FMA institutional coordination and inform the FNII legislative and regulatory design and framework to implement these innovations. FNII will use this framework to develop policies and procedures in a transparent manner to that support the proposed innovations. These policies and procedures will be tested with partners through pilot projects. Standards, laws and templates arise from successfully tested policies and procedures. These SLTs will be further tested and refined to make sure they support infrastructure innovations. FNII will work with its partners to provide training related to the framework, policies and SLTs to ensure participating First Nation have the capacity to implement infrastructure innovations. Finally, FNII will employ all elements of this continuum to provide capacity support to participating First Nations so that they maximize the benefits from the proposed innovations.