Additional $1 Million For National Chair on Aboriginal Economic Development

VICTORIA, British Columbia (June 9, 2006) - The University of Victoria announced today that EnCana Corporation, one of North America's leading natural gas producers, is providing $1 million towards the first ever National Chair in Aboriginal Economic Development. The chair, based in the faculties of business and law, will direct a program of research, relationship-building and education to advance Aboriginal economic development in Canada.

The funding from Calgary-based EnCana will help launch the chair and its program and support ongoing research and project development. Previously announced funding of $2 million from Industry Canada and $1 million from the BC government will endow the chair.

"EnCana has taken strong steps over the last number of years to support and advance economic development in Aboriginal communities," says EnCana Vice-President, Aboriginal Relations, Andrew Popko. "We applaud the University of Victoria for taking this important step in the creation of a National Chair in Aboriginal Economic Development which we believe will have a significant, long-term impact on Aboriginal communities, and we are proud to be a part of such an important initiative."

"The University of Victoria is very grateful to EnCana for providing such significant private sector support to this chair, the first of its kind in Canada," says UVic President David Turpin. "Establishing this chair reflects the university's continuing commitment to improving the lives of Aboriginal peoples and supporting Aboriginal communities across Canada."

The chair will conduct independent and collaborative research, develop a repository of best practices, serve as a catalyst for and broker of partnerships among a range of parties, and offer students relevant learning in a supportive environment.

"This chair will build on our faculty's recognized leadership in entrepreneurship education, an interdisciplinary approach to business knowledge and community development," says UVic Business Dean Ali Dastmalchian. "It's an exciting new instrument for fostering Aboriginal business and educating tomorrow's leaders in Aboriginal economic development."

"UVic Law's strengths in Aboriginal education and public law will enhance the chair's capacity to identify and overcome barriers to Aboriginal economic development," says UVic Law Dean Andrew Petter. "Legal knowledge will be crucial to developing effective strategies that enable Aboriginal communities to realize their full economic potential."

A symposium on issues relating to the chair and its mandate will be hosted by UVic this fall, and a national search for the chair holder will be undertaken in the coming year.

UVic is committed to increasing the number of Aboriginal students graduating from all of its faculties and building on its unique relationships with First Nations communities.

EnCana is one of North America's leading natural gas producers, and is among the largest holders of onshore gas and oil resource lands in the continent. By partnering with employees, community organizations and other businesses, EnCana contributes to the strength and sustainability of the communities in which it operates. For more information on EnCana visit

For further Information:

For the University of Victoria:
Ali Dastmalchian
Dean of Business

John Borrows
Chair in Aboriginal Justice and Governance, Law

Maria Lironi
UVic Communications
EnCana contact:
Claire Munroe
NATIONAL Public Relations

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