Professional and Institutional Development Program: Program Guidelines

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Strong governance forms the foundation of a community. When capacity is developed a community can enhance and grow to suit its needs. The Professional and Institutional Development Program seeks to develop the capacity of First Nations and Inuit communities to perform core functions of government by funding governance-related projects at the community and institutional levels. It is a plan-based contribution program (please see 'Eligible projects' for the 10 core functions of government).

Treasury Board Authority for "Contributions to supply public services in Indian Government Support and to build strong governance, administrative and accountability systems" is the authority used for Professional and Institutional Development Program funding, and can be found on the department's website.

These Guidelines provide information on eligibility, assessment, approval, and reporting requirements. Each region has an independent budget for the Professional and Institutional Development Program, for use in funding projects that will benefit the governance capacity of First Nations and Inuit communities in that region.

In order to better inform the department of your organization's priorities applications will continue to be based on the initiatives and projects contained in a recipient's plan. A plan-based approach will allow the department to focus on the highest priorities identified by First Nations, Inuit and tribal councils in their plans; and reduce the need for multiple, detailed funding proposals.

Eligible projects

Effective governance will be advanced by projects that develop governance capacity in any of the following 10 core functions of government:

  1. Leadership
  2. Membership
  3. Law-making
  4. Community involvement
  5. External relations
  6. Planning and risk management
  7. Financial management
  8. Human Resources management
  9. Information management / information technology
  10. Basic administration
Examples of eligible and ineligible projects
Examples of eligible projects: Examples of ineligible projects:
Purchase of software or hardware that will be used for the general financial administration of the First Nation Purchase of software or hardware that is required for an individual program's administration (for example social program software)
A comprehensive review of governance, involving several or all programs, producing a short or long term strategic plan for a First Nation A review of an individual program, producing a document for use in the management of that program (eg: a housing plan or land management code)
Training in areas such as financial management or human resources management for Band Managers, Chief and council, or Band Office staff Training for staff on software explicitly concerned with a program's operations (eg: training child and family services (CFS) staff on new CFS software)
  Capacity development activities already listed in a tribal council's approved work plan that is to be undertaken with tribal council funding

Eligible expenditures

Expenditures listed in plans or proposals are only valid where they are in support of an eligible activity for the project, and when they fall under 1 or more of the following categories:

  • Tuition and training fees
  • Salaries and wages
  • Travel, transportation and accommodation
  • Telecommunications
  • Other communications
  • Office rent and overhead
  • Office supplies and printing
  • Professional services
  • Community information initiatives
  • Systems design, implementation and maintenance
  • Hardware and software needed to support data collection, analysis and reporting

Examples of eligible and ineligible expenditures

Proposed expenditures are eligible for funding when they will develop the governance capacity of one or more of the functions of government.

Function of government Examples of eligible expendituresFootnote 1 Examples of ineligible expenditures
Leadership Leadership selection codes, custom election codes, orientation of Chiefs and councilors, policies on roles and responsibilities of elected or appointed leaders Election costs, regular meetings of Chief and council, band council resolution costs
Membership Membership codes Membership clerk salary
Law-making Bylaw policies Litigation costs
Community involvement Community consultation codes, appeals and dispute resolution codes Meetings on regular community business
External relations Policies or codes on conducting business with other governments or the private sector Travel costs for regular meetings with other governments
Planning and risk management Training in strategic planning Housing plans, land use plans
Financial management Financial codes, financial systems training and upgrades Audit costs
Human Resources management Human resources codes, developing standardized job descriptions and salary ranges, labour relations training and policies Recruitment costs or salaries of employees
Information Management / Information Technology: Information security policies, upgrades of band office information technology Internet service provider fees
Basic administration Administrative training for office staff, administration codes Operating costs that would still occur without project funding


Eligible beneficiaries

In order to be eligible for funding, plans, or proposals if required, must directly benefit the governance capacity (in one or more of the 10 core functions of government) of one or more of the following:

  • First Nations
  • tribal councils
  • Inuit communities

Plans or proposals will not be approved if they aim to build the capacity of organizations that manage service-delivery grant or contribution programs, such as education authorities or child and family services agencies. Additionally, plans or proposals targeting the governance capacity of provincial or territorial organizations are not eligible for Professional and Institutional Development Program funding.

Eligible recipients

Recipients of Professional and Institutional Development Program funding can be any organization that has had an eligible plan or proposal approved by a Professional and Institutional Development Program committee.


Plans or proposals should originate from the First Nation or Inuit organization that will manage the contribution funding.


The format of the capacity development plan is the decision of each community. It should provide at minimum, adequate information to allow for consideration of a community's governance initiative, governance objective, governance activity costs, and performance measurement.

Plans must include a governance component, examples include:

The associated plan need not be complicated, or as extensive as a comprehensive community plan. You may already have a plan in place that can be used for the purposes of the Professional and Institutional Development Program. If you do not already have a capacity development plan in place you may wish to use the Governance Capacity Planning Tool.


The assessment process for evaluating plans or proposals ensures that all plans or proposals are evaluated objectively by regional Professional and Institutional Development Program assessment committees against the terms and conditions of the program, community needs, risk, and availability of funds. Plans and proposals are assessed, recommended and approved on the following criteria:

Notice to applicants

Non-personal information collected in your plan may be shared with internal partners and other government departments to increase joint community-focused capacity investments and leverage partnerships. In the event that the plan contains personal information, the personal information will be administered in accordance with the Privacy Act.


Following the assessment and approval of your plan or proposal, applicants will be notified in writing of the department's decision with details on the activities that can be funded, along with any reporting requirements specific to those activities. The originator of the plan or proposal and the department can then enter into a funding arrangement, or agree to an amendment to an existing arrangement.

Restrictions on approvals

Project funding only: The Professional and Institutional Development Program does not provide core operational funding. Recipients are advised that Professional and Institutional Development Program funding should not be relied upon as a source of ongoing revenue.

Repetition and extension of projects: The Professional and Institutional Development Program typically does not fund identical projects year over year with the same beneficiary. Repetition of a project is allowed if the beneficiaries are different, such as when an organization repeats a training project for new beneficiaries that have not yet attended the training.

Recipients and beneficiaries should not interpret Professional and Institutional Development Program funding for current year's activities as a guarantee that ISC will fund related activities planned for upcoming fiscal years.

Recipients under default management: Recipients in default management are encouraged to apply for Professional and Institutional Development Program funding for use in governance capacity projects that will help them to complete and implement activities in their management action plan. Professional and Institutional Development Program funds may not be used to support the core costs of co-managers or third party managers.

Duplication: The Professional and Institutional Development Program is designed to be implemented flexibly, but it is not designed to duplicate activities funded by other programs or to supplement funding in other program areas. Activities that provide training, resources, or services for a specific departmental program are not eligible for funding. Activities that impact several or all programs indirectly by building the beneficiary's governance capacity in one or more of the ten functions of government would be eligible for funding.

Existing governance resources: When resources similar to a proposed project activity are available, Professional and Institutional Development Program funding will not cover the full costs of developing a new product without a new approved project proposal or plan. Professional and Institutional Development Program funds can also fund related costs such as planning, engaging, customizing existing products to the unique needs of the beneficiary, ratification and implementation.


Annual report

Each recipient must prepare and submit an Activities and Expenditures Report with any supporting documentation and deliverables identified as reporting requirements.

In many cases, projects fund the creation of a tangible product such as codes, policies, chart of accounts, templates, frameworks, constitutions, training materials and additional plans. In order to ensure that deliverables are available as a shareable resource, funding arrangements contain standard text which allows the department to share these documents publicly.

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