Backwoods Energy Services Launches First in Alberta Employee Financial Support Program for Indigenous First-Time Home Buyers

New program provides matched savings plans and incentives for Indigenous employees on the path to home ownership with expertise from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

EDMONTON, Alberta, Feb. 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Backwoods Energy Services (Backwoods), one of the largest Indigenous-owned business in Canada, has launched the province’s first program that provides financial support to Indigenous employees seeking to purchase their first home. This unique program is the first time a private business has engaged with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) on a housing program for Indigenous employees in Alberta.

The Home Ownership Program for Indigenous Employees offers online training, support enrolling in an RRSP program and significant down payment contributions to a maximum of $20,000 per participant. Ultimately this program will ease access to the assets and credit facilities required during the path to home ownership.

“Indigenous people often face unique barriers when it comes to purchasing a home,” said Paul Poscente, President and CEO, Backwoods. “For many people, their home is their largest asset, and it’s our belief that by helping our employees attain home ownership we can impact their lives for the better.”

The Home Ownership Program is designed to guide prospective first-time home buyers through the purchase process and provide the information required to make an informed decision. Backwoods has partnered with the CMHC, First Nations Bank of Canada, and Capital Region Housing to provide one-on-one support for participants throughout the program and to develop a comprehensive list of courses, reading materials, tools and financial calculators.

“This program is certain to help make home ownership more accessible and we are pleased to contribute our expertise to Backwoods and lend our support,” said Nicole Church, Senior Manager, Indigenous and Northern Housing Solutions Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon, CMHC.

Through the inaugural Home Ownership Program, Backwoods will match Indigenous employees’ RRSP savings to a maximum of $10,000 per employee and offer an additional $2,000 per year of employment to a maximum of $10,000. To assist employees in selecting an RRSP program, Backwoods has a preferred partnership with the First Nations Bank of Canada, an organization familiar with the requirements of this program.

“First Nations Bank of Canada remains focused on meeting the financial needs and services required of Indigenous communities to enhance the lives of their members,” said Leigh Solomon, VP Retail Banking, First Nations Bank of Canada. “With this project being consistent with that, we are proud to play a role in making this happen.”

The Home Ownership Program is a huge step towards achieving the Backwoods mission to drive economic opportunities by empowering Indigenous people and communities.

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About Backwoods Energy Services

Backwoods Energy Services (Backwoods) is now one of the largest Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada and a leading service provider for utilities, forestry and oil and gas companies in western Canada. Based out of Edmonton, and winner of the prestigious 2019 Waterstone Most Admired Corporate Culture Award in Canada, Backwoods has been in operation for more than 30 years and was acquired by the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation in 2015. Backwoods works with industry to create meaningful partnerships and deliver exceptional results to its clients while creating economic opportunity for the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation.

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