Innovation in Education Program
This program supports innovative programs and projects, which aim to improve outcomes for First Nations communities, schools and students.
On this page
About the program
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.
The objective of the Innovation in Education Program is to support innovative programs and projects which aim to improve outcomes for:
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 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.
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, projects related to:
- land-based learning
- or Indigenous language and culture
Eligible activities include:
- piloting a new program in school
- piloting an adaptation of an existing program for a new purpose or for a new audience in school
- assessing and measuring the impact of a pilot project first created under the former New Paths for Education program and based on similar objectives and outcomes
- sharing the story of successfully piloted innovations nationwide
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
Eligible funding recipients are:
- First Nations or bands
- tribal councils, political or treaty or settlement organizations
- other First Nations education organizations designated by First Nations, including:
- school boards
- First Nations education authorities
- First Nations regional representative organizations
- recipients in Yukon and Northwest Territories
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 was 11:59 pm Eastern time on April 30, 2023. Additional deadlines may exist in each region. Please contact your regional office for further information.
How to apply
Applicants must submit their detailed proposals electronically. Follow the instructions in the 2023 to 2024 Innovation in Education program guidelines. We encourage applicants to review these guidelines for all requirements before submitting an application.
Applicants who have access to the ISC's services portal should use the electronic application 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.
In your proposal, remember to:
- provide the title of your proposal
- indicate under the proposal title section which educational themes your proposal is addressing
- list the activities, costs and outcomes you expect to complete during the project
- indicate as much detail as possible
- show how the activity will fulfill at least 1 of the program's objectives
- describe how the organization will contribute to sustaining and sharing the story of the successful pilot activity
Attach any supporting documents with 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 determined on a regional basis according to regional office and First Nations schedules. Funding is allocated based on the number of successful proposals and availability of funds.
First Nations organizations in British Columbia must apply through the First Nations Education Steering Committee.
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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