Jim Boucher is a Cree and Dene Indigenous Canadian businessman and political leader, and Chief of Fort McKay. Having devoted an impressive 33 years of public service to his community and greater Alberta, Chief Jim Boucher was one of the leading figures in aboriginal politics.
During this time he served as elected chief for Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN), created The Fort McKay Group Of Companies, held positions such as President of Athabasca Tribal Council (ATC) Grand Chief for Treaty 8 First Nations Of Alberta Vice-Chairperson Board Of Governors at Keyano College and Chairman For National Aboriginal Economic Development Board.
Jim Boucher was born in Fort McKay, Alberta in 1956 to Theodore Boucher (1923-1992) and Eva Boucher (1934-1969). His first languages were Cree and Dene. His parents both lived off the land and earned their living from trapping. He also spent time on the trap line until he reached school age.
As part of Canada’s Indian residential school system, he attended Blue Quills School in St Paul before settling down with two children and five grandchildren to look after today.
Chief Jim Boucher of Fort McKay is known for his visionary, consensus-based leadership as the Chief of Fort McKay First Nation. Under his direction, the First Nation became one of the most enterprising Indigenous communities in the world.
The Fort McKay First Nation is situated in the heart of Canada’s Athabasca oil sands and is surrounded by industrial development. As a young Chief in the mid-1980s, Boucher recognized that the Fort McKay First Nation community’s location not only posed issues but also offered opportunities. This was the early beginnings of his political career.
Under the brilliant leadership of Chairman, Mr. Boucher, Fort McKay First Nation successfully propelled their business ventures to become one of Canada’s most successful Indigenous-owned companies in history. From 2012–2016 alone they achieved average gross annual revenue of $506 million and created 13 joint ventures with other businesses. This economic growth enabled an impressive rise in the post-tax income for FMFN community members; Statistics Canada reported it as significantly higher than that found among similar communities nationwide.
With his strategic and conciliatory approach, Grand Chief Boucher negotiated the Fort McKay’s Treaty Land Settlement Agreement in 2003 with great efficiency. He later worked collaboratively alongside other First Nations communities to author the groundbreaking First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act which came into effect on April 1, 2006. With his strategic and conciliatory approach, Grand Chief Boucher negotiated the Fort McKay’s Treaty Land Settlement Agreement in 2003 with great efficiency. He later worked collaboratively alongside other First Nations communities to author the groundbreaking First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act which came into effect on April 1, 2006.
This legislation was a critical step forward that allowed complex commercial projects to move forwards without regulatory gaps. In addition, he has been recognized for his expertise published within many notable sources such as an article written for Canadian Heavy Oil Association’s 25th-anniversary celebrations in 2011.
In addition to his career, he has a great history of philanthropic work as well. Boucher established the Chief Jim Boucher Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Chief Jim Boucher Ministerial Award of Excellence at Keyano College.
In 2017, Boucher led the Fort McKay First Nation and its business partners in a donation of $550,000 to the Northern Lights Health Foundation’s Gratitude Campaign. “The $16 million Gratitude Campaign is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the foundation’s history with the goal of bringing world-class health care to Wood Buffalo.”
Jim Boucher is an unwavering advocate for environmental protection, and his influence as the leader of FMFN has been instrumental in developing a comprehensive plan to manage resources near Moose Lake Reserves 174A & B. This highly impactful Management Plan seeks to regulate development processes within a 10km zone surrounding the area – ensuring its sustenance into future generations.
As of today, Jim Boucher’s net worth is not publicly available.
He has received many awards and recognitions in his time. Here are some of the highlights: