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Economic and community development key to Aboriginal success: RBC

RBC marks National Aboriginal Day with release of two new reports - Action Plan with the AFN and new Aboriginal Partnership Report

TORONTO, June 21, 2010—  To mark National Aboriginal Day, RBC today announced the release of its second annual A Chosen Journey: RBC Aboriginal Partnership Report and is providing highlights from the two-year Corporate Challenge Action Plan with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).

"Our focus is on improving the key pillars of economic and community development for First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities," explained Dale Sturges, national director, Aboriginal Markets, RBC. "With the success of the action plan and our commitment to the aboriginal community, we look forward to continue working with the AFN, as well as local businesses, governments and communities to find ways to create economic opportunities that benefit Aboriginal peoples and the overall Canadian economy."

Both the Partnership Report and the Action Plan address four key elements of RBC's ongoing work with Aboriginal peoples across Canada including access to financial services, employment and education, community development and procurement.

The two-year Corporate Challenge Action Plan included the following initiatives:

Providing access to financial services and capital

  • RBC introduced a new banking service for Aboriginal people living in remote communities, making it easier for them to access personal banking services with the same convenience and ease as individuals living in more urban locations.
  • RBC provided capital funds for community infrastructure projects, such as cultural centres, housing projects, health centres and community buildings.
  • RBC expanded the On-Reserve Housing Loan Program to increase home financing options in First Nations communities.

Community and social development

  • RBC provided more than $1 million in RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grants that benefit Aboriginal communities.
  • RBC became a lead investor in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada, for a new five-year commitment to the Centre for the North.
  • RBC donated $4 million to support Aboriginal community and social development programs and charities.
  • RBC spearheaded unprecedented Aboriginal involvement in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, with over 100 visits to First Nation communities.

Employment, training and education

  • RBC provided education and employment programs for First Nations youth, including the RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program, the RBC Stay in School Program and the Aboriginal Transitions Program at Lethbridge Community College.
  • RBC awarded $1 million in scholarships through the RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program.
  • RBC provided 'work and learn' summer job opportunities as customer service representatives to 86 Aboriginal students in grades nine to 12.

Procurement

  • RBC worked with the Canadian Aboriginal Minority Suppliers Council to identify Aboriginal-owned companies to provide goods and services to RBC, including sponsorship of their annual trade fair and awards gala.

A Chosen Journey: RBC Aboriginal Partnership Report 2009 can be viewed by visiting www.rbcroyalbank.com/commercial/aboriginal.

For highlights, or more information about what RBC is doing to support Aboriginal Canadians, please visit www.rbcroyalbank.com/aboriginal.

About RBC and Aboriginal Canadians
RBC has a proud history of strong relationships with Aboriginal peoples. We are committed to serving Aboriginal governments, communities, organizations, businesses and individuals by creating opportunities for sustainable economic development through: access to banking and capital; community and social development; employment, education and training; and procurement.

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Media contacts:

Matt Gierasimczuk,
416-974-2124, matthew.gierasimczuk@rbc.com