First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy - Skills Link Program: National Program Guidelines 2019-2020

Table of contents

1. Introduction

The First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program (SLP) is one of two programs that Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) administers under the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy (FNIYES).

These guidelines are effective as of April 1, 2019.

2. Objectives

The SLP has the following objectives:

These objectives are consistent with, and support, the overall objectives of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy (YES) Skills Link Program.

3. Expected results

Key expected results of the SLP are:

4. Funding recipients

A "funding recipient" means an individual or entity that has met the eligibility criteria of the program and has signed a funding agreement with ISC to deliver an initiative (program, service or activity).

5. Eligible recipients

Eligible recipients are First Nations and Inuit communities, governments and organizations, and not-for-profit associations and private sector employers. For co-operative education activities, only First Nations schools or federal schools on reserve may submit proposals through their administering organization.

Eligible recipients may then enter into agreements with private sector and non-profit sector employers to access employment opportunities for youth. Private organizations may be eligible for funding provided that the nature and intent of the activity is non-commercial, not intended to generate profit, and supports FNIYES program priorities and objectives.

6. Eligible participants

Eligible participants include First Nations and Inuit youth ordinarily resident on reserve, in recognized communities or on community lands, and Inuit who are residents in Canada, but who reside outside their territory, and are no longer eligible to be funded by their territory (proof of refusal is required). Eligible participants have to be legally entitled to work in Canada. Youth means persons aged 15 to 30 inclusive.

Mentored work placements are for youth who are not in school, or are unemployed, or underemployed.

Co-operative education placements youth may be younger than 15 years of age as activities under cooperative placements are for students in grades 7 to 12 (secondary 1 to secondary 5), enrolled in and attending a federal or band-operated school.

For career promotion and science and technology activities, youth may be younger than 15 years of age.

7. Activities

The key activities of SLP are:

8. Expenditures

8.1 Eligible expenditures

8.1.1 For mentored work placements

  • participant wages and mandatory employment-related costs including the gross employee share of CPP, QPP, EI, vacation pay, WCB/CSST (Quebec) and where applicable, health insurance premiums
  • wage costs per participant will meet or exceed the applicable minimum wage in the province or territory where the work placement occurs
  • training experiences that support the acquisition of skills required for work placements may be included
  • other necessary costs directly related to a proposed work placement including, but not limited to, criminal record check, required uniforms, and personal safety gear such as work boots, safety hats, etcetera up to a maximum of $300 per participant
  • actual costs for special equipment and facilities to accommodate the needs of a disabled participant, up to a maximum of $3,000 per participant
  • participant costs such as living expenses, travel, room and board

    Note for recipients: Travel expenses are to be claimed at actual cost, but cannot exceed Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's guidelines as specified in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Travel Directive in effect at the time of travel. Expenses which exceed the rates set for in the Directive are ineligible and will not be paid.

  • dependent care for participants (documentation is required including a description of the type of arrangements available in the community if applicable).

8.1.2 For co-operative education placements and internships

  • salaries and employee benefits for teachers, co-op or internship coordinators, career counsellors and other staff directly related to FNIYES program delivery not already covered by existing programs, such as the ISC elementary or secondary education or band support or tribal council funding
  • other necessary costs directly related to a work placement including, but not limited to, criminal record check, uniforms required by the workplace for the students, personal safety gear such as work boots, safety hats up to a maximum of $300 per participant
  • actual costs for special equipment and facilities to accommodate the needs of a disabled individual, up to a maximum of $3,000 per participant
  • staff training on co-operative education and internships
  • other incidental co-op and internship placement costs including insurance for students during their co-op or internship placement
  • travel for co-op coordinators or teachers to meet employers
  • participant costs such as living expenses, travel costs and room and board.

    Note for recipients: Travel expenses are to be claimed at actual cost, but cannot exceed Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's guidelines as specified in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Travel Directive in effect at the time of travel. Expenses which exceed the rates set for in the Directive are ineligible and will not be paid.

8.1.3 For activities related to Career Planning and Promotion of Science and Technology

  • facility rental
  • materials produced exclusively for students to promote specific careers, subjects, fields of study for such as testimonials, biographies, et cetera but not including general program advertising
  • honoraria and speaker fees
  • transportation
  • admission and event fees for students and chaperones

    Note for recipients: Travel expenses are to be claimed at actual cost, but cannot exceed Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's guidelines as specified in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Travel Directive in effect at the time of travel. Expenses which exceed the rates set for in the Directive are ineligible and will not be paid.

8.1.4 For all activities

Administration costs: Administration costs must not exceed 10% of the sub-total amount requested before administration costs. The program's Data Collection Instrument (DCI) will automatically calculate the amount. Eligible administration costs include (but are not limited to):

  • office or general expenses
  • materials
  • supplies
  • advertising
  • communication and printing costs
  • professional services

Further distribution of funds by ISC's funding recipients: When a funding recipient further transfers, to a Third Party, funds that were received under this program, the 10% allowed for administration costs must be divided between the parties, as agreed between the parties. The total administration costs retained by all parties must not exceed 10% of the sub-total amount requested before administration costs.

8.2 Ineligible expenditures

Ineligible expenditures include, but are not limited to:

  • all programs:
    • office infrastructure or equipment purchases such as computers and software
    • capital costs for the construction of a building (other than small repairs or renovations to support the participation of persons with disabilities) or the purchase of land or buildings
  • career promotion and awareness, and science and technology activities:
    • salaries
    • training
  • co-op education placements:
    • salaries or wages for students
    • dependent care or daycare

9. Proposal process

Proposals are selected on the basis of meeting program objectives.

Applicants must submit detailed proposals for the activities to be undertaken over the course of the agreement, clearly stating how the proposed activities will further the objectives and expected results of this program.

Eligible proposals must:

Submission of proposals

Only proposals submitted in the electronic proposal form issued by ISC will be considered for assessment. Refer to the proposal form and the attached instructions for application details. Incomplete proposals will be returned to applicants.

The information required in the proposal is available in the Reporting Guide. Recipients who have access to the ISC Services Portal can access the proposal form by opening a session on the portal. If you do not have access to the portal, contact your regional office or if you are a national recipient, write to aadnc.education-education.aandc@canada.ca.

First Nations organizations in British Columbia must apply through the First Nations Education Steering Committee.

Assessment criteria

All proposals will be assessed by the following criteria:

Capability: The experience and capacity of the recipient (and identified project leader, where applicable) to manage the implementation of the activities within their proposal successfully and complete the proposed employment initiative in a timely manner

Comparability: The extent to which the proposed initiative is comparable with programs and services provided by provincial schools within the locality of the First Nations

Implementation activities: The extent to which the proposal aligns with eligible activities and meets program objectives. The assessment will consider timelines, cost-effectiveness and the degree to which the activities will result in expected outcomes

Project management: How the initiative or project will be managed, including project governance, management of project scope, human resources, risk management, and project monitoring, control and reporting

Project costs: Realistic assessment of estimated total costs and a justification of the level of funding required

Cooperation and partnerships: With other governments, employers, community-based organizations and interested organizations to encourage strategic partnerships, minimize overlap or duplication and operate in synergy with other related employment, entrepreneurship, economic development and social programs

Note: Meeting these criteria does not guarantee funding from the First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program.

Review and approval of proposals

The ISC regional office will review proposals, or the First Nations or Inuit organization managing the program will review and approve proposals from their member First Nations or Inuit communities. A written response will be sent to applicants to confirm whether, or not, their proposal has been approved for funding.

Details on the 2019-2020 call for proposals and the application process can be found in the Call for proposals page.

10. Funding

10.1 Maximum amount of funding

The maximum amount of funding to be provided to a funding recipient in a fiscal year is set out in the funding agreement signed by the funding recipient.

10.2 Funding approaches

Transfer payments to funding recipients can be made using contribution funding of different types or using grant funding, depending on the eligibility of the recipient and depending on the program, service or activity to be delivered. Your ISC regional officer can inform you about eligibility for these different funding approaches as well as of the delivery requirements related to each of them. The funding approach used to transfer the funds will be identified in the recipient's signed funding agreement.

Consistent with the Government of Canada's intention to provide additional flexibility to First Nations recipients to carry over funds, most funding approaches include, to different levels, carry over provisions and redirection of funds provisions. For details on the different levels of flexibility, see the Funding approaches page on ISC's website.

This section will require adjustment to align program instructions with the new provisions included in the 2019-2020 national funding agreement models.

11. Reporting requirements and monitoring and oversight activities

The reporting requirements (program and financial reports) are listed in the recipient's funding agreement, and details on these requirements are available in the Reporting Guide. Recipients who have access to the ISC Services Portal can access the reporting forms by opening a session on the portal. If you do not have access to the portal, contact your regional office.

All funding recipient reporting requirements are subject to monitoring and oversight activities to determine the accuracy of the information provided to ISC.

Reporting requirements include not only the overarching program report, but also the completion of a youth evaluation form for each participating youth. This requirement does not apply to activities related to career planning and promotion of science and technology. The form is available within the instructions tab of the main report and must be reattached to the main report using the "Add Youth Evaluations" function in the main report.

12. Accountability

ISC is committed to providing assistance to recipients in order for them to effectively carry out obligations set out in this document and funding agreements.

Funding recipients must deliver the programs in accordance with the provisions of their funding agreement and the program delivery requirements outlined in this document while also ensuring that the necessary management controls are in place to manage funding and monitor activities. Funding recipients are required to exercise due diligence when approving expenditures and must ensure that such expenditures are in accordance with the eligible expenditures set out in this document.

13. Personal information

The department's collection and use of personal information and other records for the purposes of program compliance reviews will be limited to what is necessary to ensure program delivery requirements are met.

The department is responsible for all information and records in its possession. The confidentiality of the information will be managed by ISC in accordance with the Privacy Act and other related policies on privacy. Recipients are responsible for the protection of personal information per the privacy legislation, regulations or policies that govern them up to the point that it is transferred to ISC.

14. Contact information

For further program information, please visit the First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program page.

The regional offices coordinates can be found on the Regional Offices page.

You can also write to:
Education Branch
Indigenous Services Canada
10 Wellington Street
Gatineau QC K1A 0H4
aadnc.education-education.aandc@canada.ca

These National Program Guidelines can be consulted in the Education Programs - National Program Guidelines page of ISC's website and through the View Instructions button on the first page of this program's Data Collection Instrument (DCI).

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