Clarence Louie, Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band will be inducted into the 2019 Canadian Business Hall of Fame, which recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of Canada’s most distinguished business leaders. Also being inducted are: Claude Lamoureux, retired president & CEO, Ontario Teachers’ Plan, Stephen J.R. Smith, chairman & CEO of First National Financial, and Annette Verschuren, chair & CEO of NRStor Inc.
Mr. David Denison, Chancellor of the Order of the Business Hall of Fame says the 2019 Class of Companion Inductees is a very special group.
“The Canadian Business Hall of Fame is honoured to recognize their enduring contributions to the business community and our country,” said Denison. “On June 19, 2019, we will have the great privilege of highlighting their excellence in business leadership, outstanding professional achievements and dedication to bettering Canada’s social fabric.”
Clarence Louie who’ll be the first Indigenous person inducted into the Business Hall of Fame was born in 1960 and raised on the Osoyoos Indian Band by his mother. Due to high unemployment, many adults on his First Nation community had to work as transient labourers on fruit orchards in nearby Washington State. Louie was forced to be self-sufficient during his childhood years. At age 19, he left BC and enrolled at the First Nations University in Regina. He then studied native studies at the University of Lethbridge. After receiving his degree, he returned to home to Osoyoos.
At 24 years of age, Louie was elected as chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band. Louie has won every election but one since 1985. The band has 460 members, and controls 32,000 acres of land. He started the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation (OIBDC) in 1988.Through the corporation’s efforts, the previously impoverished band started or acquired nine businesses, including tourism, construction, and recreation companies. The band now employs 700 people including non-First Nations. A high-profile business started by the OIBDC during Louie’s tenure is Nk’Mip Cellars, the first aboriginal-owned winery in North America.
In 2003, Louie was chosen by the U.S. Department of State as one of six Canadian First Nations leaders to review economic development in American Indian communities. In 2004, he received the Order of British Columbia. Louie has also been involved in land claim settlements with the provincial government.
The Canadian Business Hall of Fame was established by JA Canada in 1979 to honour Canada’s preeminent business leaders for their professional and philanthropic achievements.
This year’s Class of Companions will formally be inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame at the 2019 Gala Dinner and Induction Ceremony at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on June 19, 2019. Proceeds from this gala help JA Canada meet the growing demand for financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship programs for Canadian students, which are essential to youth’s future success