First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy: Summer Work Experience Program: National Program Guidelines 2020-2021

COVID-19: Extended support for student work terms

Due to COVID-19, there may be disruptions to student's employment. The First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy will support work experience opportunities for First Nations and Inuit post-secondary students until February 28, 2021 for the 2020-2021 program year.

Table of contents

1. Introduction

The First Nations and Inuit Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) 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, 2020.

2. Objectives

The objectives of SWEP are:

These objectives are consistent with, and support, the overall objectives of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) Summer Work Experience Program.

3. Expected results

Key expected results of the Summer Work Experience Program are:

4. Funding recipients

A funding recipient is 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.

Eligible recipients may enter into agreements with private sector and non-profit sector employers to access employment opportunities for youth.

6. Eligible participants

Eligible participants are:

7. Activities

The activities will support work experience opportunities for First Nations and Inuit secondary and post-secondary students, between May 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021.

8. Expenditures

8.1 Eligible expenditures

The recipient will determine the wage rate for participants. It must be at or above the applicable provincial or territorial minimum wage.

Eligible expenditures include:

  • 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
  • other necessary costs directly related to a work placement, including (but not limited to): criminal record check, required uniforms, personal safety gear (for example, work boots, safety hats) up to a maximum of $300 per participant
  • actual cost for special equipment and facilities to accommodate the needs of a disabled individual up to a maximum of $3,000, if applicable
  • administration costs that do 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 funds that were received under this program to a third party, the 10% allowed for administration costs must be divided between the parties, as agreed to 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:

  • infrastructure or equipment purchases (for example, computers and software)
  • capital costs for 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

9. Proposal process

All funding for the FNIYES will be based on approved proposals. 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:

  • meet the program guidelines
  • be gender-balanced
  • outline the activities that support any or all of the above objectives
  • demonstrate that the activities will provide assistance only to eligible participants
  • provide an estimate of eligible costs, including any share to be incurred by partners
  • outline the results to be achieved

Note: The placement must provide a minimum of 80 hours of work.

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, contact

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 partnership with other related employment, entrepreneurship, economic development and social programs

Note: Meeting these criteria does not guarantee funding from the First Nations and Inuit Summer Work Experience Program.

Review and approval of proposals

ISC regional or headquarters staff will review and approve proposals. A written response will be sent to applicants to confirm whether, or not, their proposal has been approved for funding.

Details on the 2020-2021 call for proposals and the application process can be found on 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.

The initiative is nationally and regionally based and proposal-driven.

The non-profit sector is eligible to receive a contribution of up to 100% of the applicable wage, plus mandatory employment-related costs (MERC), while the private sector is eligible to receive up to 50% of the applicable wage only.

Note: Where a participant with disabilities is hired, all employers are eligible to apply for 100% of the wage. A maximum contribution of $3,000 per participant may be available, on an actual cost basis, for special equipment and facilities to accommodate the student's needs.

10.2 Funding approaches

Transfer payments to funding recipients of the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy Summer Work Experience Program may be made using fixed contribution funding. Set funding may also be used if the recipient wishes. ISC officers can advise on the eligibility of these funding approaches as well as on the requirements related to the management of the funds. The funding approach used to transfer funds to a recipient is identified in the recipient's signed funding agreement.

The following specific program directions for the management of transfer payments complement the directions provided in the recipient's signed funding agreement and are to be read in conjunction with the funding agreement.

Set contribution funding
Reallocation of funding:
Reallocation of funds is not allowed with transfer payments made using set contribution.

Fixed contribution funding
Reallocation of funding:
During the fiscal year, recipients may reallocate a reasonable percentage of funds among the eligible activities and expenditures of their ISC-approved proposal for the FNIYES Summer Work Experience Program. Recipients must obtain the approval from the ISC officer responsible for the program in their region before reallocating funds.

Unexpended funding
Recipients may retain unexpended funding from a fiscal year, to expend in the one year period immediately following the fiscal year for which it was provided, on eligible activities and expenditures outlined in the FNIYES Summer Work Experience Program National Guidelines 2020-2021.

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, or if you are a national recipient, contact

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 Summer Work Experience Program page.

Contact your local ISC regional offices.

You can also write to:
Education Branch
Indigenous Services Canada
10 Wellington Street
Gatineau QC K1A 0H4

For more information about education programs, consult the National program guidelines or through the View Instructions button on the first page of this program's Data Collection Instrument (DCI).

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