Nominations Open for Aboriginal Business Leadership Award


OTTAWA, April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) today announced that nominations are open for this year's joint FPAC-AFN Business Leadership Award. The award recognizes and celebrates First Nations entrepreneurs for their success in a forest products business that exemplifies business leadership, exceptional environmental and safety performance and the delivery of high-quality products and services. The recipient must also demonstrate a strong, long-term commitment to the Indigenous community, particularly in supporting Indigenous employment. 

"This award will recognize the leadership excellence of an Aboriginal business in the forest products sector," said Catherine Cobden, the President and CEO of FPAC. "In previous years this award has been won by outstanding Aboriginal businesses, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to once again recognize a company who shares our common values in human development, social development and environmental excellence reflected in all they do," she said.

"Recognizing the role of First Nations businesses in enabling strong First Nation communities is very important. Such recognition also underscores the importance of First Nations in shaping the future of the Canadian forest industry consistent with our rights and values of respect, responsibility and sustainability," said National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo.

There are now approximately 1,400 Aboriginal owned businesses in Canada, and about 17,000 Aboriginal people working in the sector, making the forest products industry the largest employer for First Nations workers.

This is the third time the award will be given. The first recipient was Grace Esquega, the President of Niigaani Enterprises in Gull Bay, Ontario, and Percy Guichon, the Chief of the Alexis Creek Indian Band, and Tsi Del Del Enterprises of Chilanko Forks B.C. won the Award in 2011.  Award nominees are judged against six criteria; Business Leadership, Longevity, Employment of Aboriginal Peoples, Safe and Environmental Performance, Consistency of Goods and Services Provided and Commitment to Aboriginal Community. The winning recipient will receive $5,000.

Nominations for the FPAC-AFN Business Leadership Award are open until June 15, 2012. The award will be presented on July 18, 2012 at the AFN General Assembly in Toronto, Ontario. To obtain an application, please visit

FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $57-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 240,000 direct jobs across the country.