Grant to support the new fiscal relationship for First Nations under the Indian Act

Table of contents

Terms and Conditions

1. Introduction

The Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations are working together to establish a new fiscal relationship that moves towards sufficient, predictable and sustained funding for First Nations communities.

A grant funding approach, supported by funding arrangements of up to ten years, provides First Nations under the Indian Act with: greater predictability of funding to support innovation in service delivery and longer-term partnerships; and, enhanced flexibility in the design and delivery of services.

Under the new fiscal relationship, First Nations and Indigenous Services Canada co-develop new approaches:

Note: For the purposes of this document, the term "citizens" refers to members of First Nations bands as defined by the Indian Act.

2. Legal and policy authority


3. Purpose, program objectives and expected results

The purpose of this grant is to empower First Nations under the Indian Act to improve social, economic, educational and health outcomes by providing enhanced flexibility and predictability of funding, in a context of mutual accountability.

Funding is provided to high capacity First Nations under the Indian Act who qualify for the grant, for a suite of services, designed and delivered by First Nations to better meet the needs of their citizens. The objective, in the long term, is improved socio-economic outcomes and the overall well-being of First Nations, leading ultimately to self-determination.

The desired result of this proposal is to fundamentally transform the way in which the Government of Canada funds First Nations that are under the Indian Act by having First Nation leaders primarily accountable to their citizens with effective governance and financial systems in place; and by strengthening First Nations-led institutions and the co-development relationship.

Given that implementation of the grant is for April 1, 2019, the new fiscal relationship is not reflected in the 2018-19 transitional Indigenous Services Canada Departmental Results Framework and as its own, separate, program in the 2018-19 Program Inventory. Intended results and indicators of the new fiscal relationship will be reflected in the upcoming 2019-20 Indigenous Services Canada Departmental Results Framework, subject to Treasury Board approval. The proposed initiative will also be part of a new program "New fiscal relationship" under the 2019-20 Program Inventory.

4. Eligibility

First Nations under the Indian Act who express interest in receiving funding through this grant are assessed for eligibility by the First Nations Financial Management Board. This assessment is provided to Indigenous Services Canada who makes the determination on eligibility.

In order for a First Nation to be eligible, the following requirements are met:

A financial administration law or by-law is a set of governance and financial practices that assist a First Nation in making informed financial decisions.

Financial Performance standards are as follows:

For a First Nation to receive funding through this grant for the upcoming fiscal year, a financial administration law, passed either under First Nations Fiscal Management Act or a financial administration by-law under the Indian Act, must be in place by April 1, with key provisions also brought into force at that time.

5. Type of activities and nature of eligible expenditures

The First Nation shall undertake to provide services that support social, economic, educational, and health outcomes, and shall be accountable to their citizens for the design and delivery of services to support those outcomes. Targets and outcomes will be articulated in Strategic Plans.

The following are considered the type and nature of the eligible activities and expenditures in determining the amount of the grant:

Band support funding
Band support funding is provided to assist band councils to meet the costs of local government and administration of departmentally funded services. This support is intended to provide a stable funding base to facilitate effective community governance and the efficient delivery of services, which includes the formulation, implementation and enforcement of policies and regulations, selection of representatives, and efficient delivery of services to members in a way that enhances social and economic well-being.

Employee benefits
Employee benefits funding supports First Nation employers in attracting and keeping the qualified staff needed to manage and deliver services taken over from the federal government and enables employers to establish competitive employee benefit packages comparable to other employers.

Capital facilities and maintenance

Capital facilities and maintenance funding is provided to First Nations in order to plan, construct and/or acquire and operate and maintain community capital facilities and services (infrastructure, including schools) and housing (residential). Streams of funding include: operations and maintenance funding provided for the maintenance and operation of existing assets; and minor capital funding for housing and for construction, acquisition, renovation, or significant repair projects with value below $1.5 million.

Income assistance
Income assistance provides funding as a last resort to assist individuals and families who are ordinarily resident on reserve with basic needs (such as food, clothing, and rent and utilities allowance), special needs (such as essential household items, personal incidentals and doctor-recommended diets), and pre-employment and employment supports to move individuals toward self-sufficiency (such as life skills and job training) supporting improved quality of life through the reduction of poverty and hardship on reserve and improved participation in and attachment to the workforce.

Assisted living
Assisted living provides funding to assist individuals with in-home care, adult foster care and institutional care. The purpose of the funding is to help provide non-medical social support services to seniors, adults with chronic illness, and children and adults with disabilities (mental and physical) so that they can maintain functional independence and achieve greater self-reliance.

Elementary secondary education

Elementary and secondary education provides predictable and flexible funding, based on the respective provincial funding model with adaptations, for funded First Nation students to receive a quality, linguistically and culturally relevant education that support their needs. It also aims to support models for First Nations to have control of First Nations education through regional education models with an ultimate goal to improve educational outcomes for First Nations students.

Post-secondary education
Post-secondary education improves the employability of First Nations people by providing funding for students to access education and skills development opportunities at the post-secondary level.  Streams of funding include: Post-Secondary Student Support providing non-repayable financial support to First Nations students attending recognized colleges and universities in Canada and abroad; and University and College Entrance Preparation provides financial support to First Nations students who are enrolled in university and college entrance preparation programs offered in Canadian post-secondary institutions to enable them to attain the academic level required for entrance into degree and diploma credit programs.

Primary health care

Primary Health Care includes funding for a suite of services provided primarily to First Nations individuals, families and communities living on-reserve. It encompasses health promotion and disease prevention to improve health outcomes and reduce health risks, public health protection, including surveillance, to prevent and/or mitigate human health risks associated with communicable diseases and exposure to environmental hazards, and primary care where individuals are provided diagnostic, curative, rehabilitative, supportive, palliative/end-of life care and referral services.

Health infrastructure support

Heath Infrastructure Support provides a foundation to support the delivery of services in First Nations communities and for individuals. More specifically, Health System Capacity funding enhances First Nations capacity to design, manage, deliver and evaluate quality health programs and services through planning, management and infrastructure.

Lands and economic development services

Lands and Economic Development Services funding provides to support to First Nations to assist with enhancing the economic development, land and environmental capacity of communities and to support the establishment of the conditions for economic development to occur, increasing their participation in the economy. Streams of funding include: allocations to First Nation communities for economic development services; and allocations to First Nations for land and environmental responsibilities.

Registration administration
Registration Administration funding supports First Nations in facilitating the administration of the Indian Registration System and maintenance of Band Lists, and increasing the adoption of the Secure Certificate of Indian Status at the community level. Funding provides for local provision of Indian registration administration that results in Indians gaining status and the attendant benefits as well as an updated Indian Register held by the federal government.

6. Total Canadian government funding and stacking limits

Total government assistance for the same purpose shall not exceed 100%.

7. Method for determining the amount of funding

The annual amount of funding for each First Nation is established in year one of the funding agreement, based on current levels of funding, and adjusted, as needed, in subsequent fiscal years. First Nations are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged in transitioning from contribution funding approaches to the grant funding approach.

8. Maximum amount payable

The maximum amount payable to any recipient will be $100,000,000 per year.

9. Basis on which payments will be made

To meet the objectives of the grant, to maximize flexibility and predictability, a single installment will be made available at the beginning of each fiscal year provided the eligibility requirements and terms and conditions of the funding agreement are met.

10. Application requirements and assessment criteria

First Nations express interest in receiving funding through this grant by notifying officials at Indigenous Services Canada. These First Nations are then assessed by the First Nations Financial Management Board against eligibility requirements (financial administration law or by-law and financial performance). Once complete, Indigenous Services Canada determines eligibility based on the First Nations Financial Management Board assessment. If approved, the First Nation becomes eligible to receive funding through this stream on April 1 of the subsequent fiscal year. Ongoing assessment will take place to ensure that recipients continue to meet the eligibility criteria on an annual basis.

11. Due diligence and reporting

The department has in place systems, procedures and resources for ensuring due diligence in issuing transfer payments and for verifying ongoing eligibility and terms and conditions of the funding agreement including: regular verification of financial performance; and co-developed approaches for risk-based monitoring of implementation of financial administration law or by-law provisions that support accountability to citizens.

In addition to the monitoring of the eligibility criteria, the adherence to terms and conditions of the funding agreement will be verified, including provisions to Canada of the following:

The above documents will also be made available to their citizens.

Grant recipients will also provide data to the department for a minimum set of indicators consistent with the Departmental Results Framework and program reporting structures. 

12. Official languages

Where activities may be delivered to members of either official language community, access to services from the First Nation will be provided in both official languages where there is significant demand and Part IV of the Official Languages Act is applicable. Federal employees in regional offices in designated bilingual regions have the opportunity to work in the Official Language of their choice as per Part V of the Official Languages Act and are encouraged to do so with consideration to the language rights of recipients.  Regional offices in designated bilingual regions as well as headquarters provide opportunity for recruitment, where appropriate, of both English and French speaking Canadians; taking into account the needs of recipients in these regions as per Part VI of the Official Languages Act.

13. Intellectual property

Where a grant is provided for the development of material in which copyright subsists, conditions for shared rights will be set out in the funding agreement.

14. Other terms and conditions


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