Post-Secondary Partnerships Program: National Selection Committee Terms of Reference 2018-2019

This is a short web-friendly overview of the process. To obtain the full version, please send a request by email to

The Post-Secondary Partnerships Program (PSPP) provides funding to eligible Canadian post-secondary institutions to design and deliver university- and college-level courses or programs tailored for First Nations and Inuit students. This is a proposal-driven program and the level of funding is determined through a selection process based on merit and total available funding. The program is not intended as a source of core operational funding.

Choose a topic:

About the PSPP National and Regional Selection Committees


To select proposals that will fulfill the intent of the PSPP and to ensure a fair and transparent proposal review process, the National Selection Committee will:

  • review recommendations by Regional Selection Committees from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) regional offices on the proposals selected
  • validate the recommendations provided by the Regional Selection Committees
  • make amendments to recommendations on proposals only in exceptional circumstances
  • make final decisions on proposals to be funded
  • determine the funding to be provided


Each region has a Regional Selection Committee that will review and assess all the proposals received within their region. The Regional Selection Committees will be comprised of regional education branch staff and at least one external Indigenous representative.

The members of the National Selection Committee will include the Director of Education Programs (Chair), the Manager of the Post-Secondary Education team, the Post-Secondary Partnerships Program lead and additional Post-Secondary Education staff members. It will also include representatives from the Assembly of First Nations and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami during the proposal validation meetings.

Managing conflicts of interest

In the event that contractors are hired for evaluating proposals, these individuals cannot be members of the selection committee if:

  • the individual has assisted in the preparation of the proposal, is an employee of an organization that has submitted a proposal under the program, has provided consulting services, in any capacity, to the organization submitting the proposal (or may in the future)
  • the candidate will be a team member on the proposed project
  • the member is a relative or close friend of any of the employees of the management team of the organization which submitted a proposal

ISC recognizes that conflicts of interest may arise during the review of proposals. The department's position is that these situations need to be managed in an open and transparent manner. Should a situation arise that presents a real or potential conflict of interest during the review process, the impacted member must recuse himself or herself from the deliberations concerning the specific proposal.


Information contained in proposals is considered confidential and handled in a secure fashion. In the event that contractors are hired for this process, they are expected to protect and maintain confidentiality with respect to the review of proposals and information discussed during Committee meetings.

To assist ISC in ensuring the confidentiality of information in all proposals and discussions held, should contractors be hired, they will be responsible for:

  • not sharing or disclosing any information related to the proposals or evaluations made at any time to individuals outside the National Selection Committee, Regional Selection Committees or ISC staff
  • ensuring that information placed in their custody is used only for the purpose for which it was collected, i.e.: the evaluation of the proposals
  • ensuring that all copies of documents (electronic and paper) are secured to maintain confidentiality
  • not discussing or divulging any information obtained from the work of the committees, including their recommendations, until such time as this information has been officially released by ISC for public distribution


The Terms of Reference may be amended at any time with the approval of the Chair of the National Selection Committee.

Proposal assessment process

The responsibility for validating the recommendations of the Regional Selection Committees rests with the National Selection Committee members. The Regional Selection Committees' members will review and assess all of the proposals received within their respective regions using a Scoring Sheet provided by the Education Branch. All recommendations must be approved by the respective Regional Director General prior to National Selection Committee validation.

Roles and responsibilities

National Selection Committee staff

National Selection Committee staff are responsible for the national implementation and management of the activities set out below:

  • issuing a call for proposals through the Calls for proposals web page
  • maintaining the PSPP program authority and National Program Guidelines
  • coordinating the National Selection Committee's activities as set out below:
    • establishing a National Selection Committee, maintaining membership and developing its Terms of Reference
    • preparing the call for proposals templates and proposal evaluation material, including:
      • the template (Excel) to roll up total proposal funding requests by region
      • the provision of communications material to regional offices for use with proponents
    • preparing the agenda
    • providing note-takers for National Selection Committee meetings
    • validating the recommendations proposed by the Regional Selection Committees on the proposals to be funded and the amount to be provided

Regional Selection Committee staff

Regional Selection Committee staff are responsible for:

  • sending the call for proposals to proponents
  • providing support and information to applicants on the development of proposals confirming and acknowledging receipt of proposals
  • confirming and acknowledging receipt of proposals
  • entering proposal data into the HQ template
  • scoring proposals and making funding recommendations as per the proposal assessment criteria (Annex 1 of Program Guidelines)
  • seeking approval on scoring and recommendations from their respective regional director general
  • sending the templates with proposal scores and recommendations to the National Selection Committee
  • uploading proposals, scoring sheets, and letters of support into collaboration, EIS or GCIMS
  • entering into, and managing funding arrangements with approved recipients in accordance with the National Model Funding Agreements, Program Terms and Conditions and National Guidelines following the National Selection Committee's validation of proposals and funding levels

Steps for the proposal evaluation process

Step 1: Regional offices receive, review and score proposals

Step 2: National Selection Committee examines Regional Selection Committees' recommendations

Step 3: Validation by the National Selection Committee

Step 4: Communication of results to recipients

Step 5: Preparation of the funding agreement by ISC

Date modified: