Education Partnerships Program

This proposal-based program is designed to advance First Nations student achievement in First Nations and provincial schools.

The call for proposals for 2019-2020 is now closed. Proposals were accepted until December 12, 2018 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

Budget 2016 is investing $80 million over five years for start-up costs to support First Nations in creating education systems for First Nations on reserve, which is delivered under the Structural Readiness component of the Education Partnerships Program.

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About the program

The Education Partnerships Program (EPP) promotes collaboration between First Nations, provinces, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and other stakeholders and supports the capacity development of First Nations organizations to deliver education including establishing education systems.

It has two distinct components:

  1. Partnership: This component supports the establishment and the advancement of formal tripartite partnership arrangements that aim to:
    • share expertise and resources
    • assist in the development of practical working relationships between First Nations and provincial officials and educators, to ensure supports are in place for all First Nations students
    • open the way to better coordination and transition between First Nations and provincial systems

    The result will be concrete benefits for the students, teachers and administrators involved, which should lead to improved educational outcomes for First Nations students.
  2. Structural Readiness: This component supports capacity and governance development through activities that build the capacity of First Nations organizations to:
    • strengthen their organization
    • cover start-up costs for First Nations school boards
    • support the conclusion of agreements to allow for the operation of on-reserve schools by provincial school boards

A third component, Regional Implementation is being contemplated based on the Memorandum to Cabinet that was recently co-developed with First Nations. It aims at fundamentally improving the way ISC funds elementary and secondary education, while supporting regional and local diversity and implementing the principle of First Nations control of First Nations education.

This new component will provide support for:

However, it is not part of the current EPP call for proposals.

More information will be available on this web page by the spring of 2019 including details on the application process, eligibility criteria and guidelines. Until then, for more information about opportunities to participate in information sessions, technical tables or other activities supporting regional implementation of the new policy framework, please contact your ISC regional office.

While both the Partnership and the Structural Readiness components of EPP use the same proposal template, each component has different eligibility criteria and guidelines and must be accessed via a separate proposal. You can apply for the Structural Readiness component without having a tripartite agreement.

Proposals for both the Partnership and the Structural Readiness components will only be accepted for one year and funding will be approved for one year only.

Structural Readiness projects can only be submitted through this program.


Proposals must focus on one or more of the following priority areas:

Structural Readiness

Proposals must address one or more of the following priority areas:

Please consult the Partnerships component or the Structural Readiness component Guidelines 2019-2020 for further details.

ISC is encouraging all program applicants that plan to submit a proposal for Structural Readiness activities to include copies of their capacity development plan (as an example, the Education Organization Planning Tool) as an attachment to their proposal submission.

Priority may be given to proposals which include this supporting document, demonstrate the greatest need for developing structural readiness and work to address these needs identified through the Education Organization Planning Tool.

Who can apply?

Applicants may only submit a one-year proposal for 2019-20. Organizations that submitted a two-year Partnership or Structural Readiness (or both) proposal in 2018-19 must re-submit a Partnership or Structural readiness (or both) proposal in 2019-20 using the 2019-20 Data Collection Instrument found through the ISC Services Portal. The 2019-20 proposal may include the same activities as originally submitted in 2018-19, or may incorporate new or updated activities.


Regional First Nations organizations that meet the following criteria:

  • be provincially or federally incorporated
  • have a documented management framework (such as policies or by-laws) outlining the organization's governance structure and procedures
  • have documented support from First Nations, communities or schools (such as band or tribal council resolution, or other documentation such as formal letters of support)
  • have documented and publically available policy guidelines
  • demonstrate economies of scale
  • organizational structure includes an executive director or equivalent, finance officer and a board of directors or equivalent
  • undertake, as a key function, elementary and secondary education support for groups of First Nations communities or schools
  • be in a sound financial position
  • agree to produce publicly available annual reports on education partnership projects and expenditures
  • if new, replace an existing organization or an amalgamation of existing organizations

Regional First Nations organizations can also manage partnership funding or coordinate partnership initiatives for independent, non-member First Nations if these independent First Nations agree to such an arrangement. Organizations will be required to provide a signed written statement from each non-member First Nation saying that they agree to have EPP funding administered and managed by the organization on their behalf.

Regional First Nations organizations cannot act only as a flow-through to member or non-member organizations under this program. They cannot issue calls for proposals to member or non-member organizations for activities funded through this program.

Structural Readiness

First Nations organizations including:

  • band councils
  • organizations designated by a band council
  • First Nations regional management organizations who currently undertake, as a key function, elementary and secondary support for a defined group of band-operated schools

Organizations designated by a band council and First Nations regional management organizations must meet the same minimum requirements for funding consideration as those listed above in the Partnerships component.

Organizations do not need to have a tripartite agreement to apply for the Structural Readiness component of the EPP.


The deadline to submit a proposal is December 12, 2018 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

How to apply?

For the purpose of this call for proposals, the existing Terms and Conditions will apply. Although the EPP is set to expire on March 31, 2020, a process is underway to ensure the sustainability of the program beyond 2020. In collaboration with First Nations partners, this process may result in revisions to the Terms and Conditions.

While both components use the same proposal template, each component has different eligibility criteria and guidelines. You must provide a separate proposal for each component.

The template is available through the ISC Services Portal. If you do not have access to the portal, contact your regional office.

More details on the application process, eligible activities, eligible recipients and the monitoring process can be found in:

Related links

Education by provincial governments

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