Innovation in Education Program

Supports innovative programs and projects, which aim to improve outcomes for First Nations communities, schools and students.

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About the program

The Innovation in Education Program replaces the Innovation Activities Program that was offered under the discontinued New Paths for Education. It is one of several contribution programs, along with programs such as the Research and Learning Program and the Education Partnerships Program, which complement Indigenous Services Canada's (ISC) funding efforts towards First Nations elementary and secondary education.

The investment in this program reaffirms the Government of Canada's commitment to working collaboratively with First Nations to ensure that all First Nations students receive a culturally-responsive, high-quality education that improves student outcomes, while respecting the principle of First Nations control of First Nations education.

Guidelines for this program were developed in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the National Indian Council of Education and are intended to help eligible beneficiaries in the development of their costed work plans.

The objective of the Innovation in Education Program is to support innovative programs and projects which aim to improve outcomes for:

These projects are defined through a regionally-based funding allocation and project approval process led by First Nations.

About the activities

The program supports development and implementation of innovative education program pilots, for example:

Eligible activities include:

The program is a small part of broader efforts to improve First Nations elementary and secondary education. Activities are expected to support improving the overall quality of education in First Nations and to contribute to specific results.

Who can apply

Recipients eligible to receive funding for this program are:

Depending on the nature of the regional agreement, funding may be allocated to a First Nations organization to administer the program regionally or to specific projects based on availability of funds and First Nations decisions.

Total program budget is divided amongst Assembly of First Nations-determined regions and based on a First Nations-determined methodology.

If the total costs of identified projects are lower than the approved allocations and additional opportunity exists for collaboration between regions, additional projects may be supported in oversubscribed regions. This process should be completed by May 31 of each year.


The deadline to submit a proposal is 11:59 pm Eastern time on April 30, 2021. Additional deadlines may exist in each region. Please contact your regional office for further information.

How to apply

Applicants must use the generic application template: Project or work plan funding application (PDF, 202 KB) and submit their detailed electronic proposals as instructed in the 2021 to 2022 Innovation in Education program guidelines.

Applicants are encouraged to review these guidelines before submitting an application for more requirements.

Applicants who have access to the department's services portal should use the electronic form by opening a session on the portal. If you do not have access to the portal, please contact your regional office to get access to the portal.

When you open the form, you must save it on your local drive before you begin entering any information. Remember to:

Please ensure that the form is fully complete and all mandatory fields are filled in. Attach all documents to the supporting documents section of the proposal form. Attached documents should be in Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel format.

Submission of a proposal does not guarantee its acceptance. Funding decisions are communicated on regional basis according to regional office and First Nations schedules. Funding is allocated based on the number of successful proposals and availability of funds.

Guidelines for previous years

Proposal assessment criteria

Regionally-based First Nations organizations are engaged in and in many cases lead the selection of innovation in education proposals, based on an approved regionally-based process. Please contact your regional office for more information.

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