Contributions to support Community Well-Being and Jurisdiction Initiatives for children and families
The 5 year (2018 to 2023) Community Well-Being and Jurisdiction Initiative (CWJI) Program concluded on March 31, 2023. The program's terms and conditions are no longer in effect.
Prevention funding is now in place under the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program. For Program Terms and Conditions, please refer to the FNCFS Transitional Terms and Conditions: Contributions to provide children, youth, young adults, families and communities, with prevention and protection services.
For additional information regarding capacity-building funding for activities in relation to an Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, please visit: Capacity-building funding for An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families for fiscal year 2021 to 2022.
- Purpose, objective and outcomes
- Eligible recipients
- Eligible project activities
- Eligible expenditures
- Application requirements and assessment criteria
- Method determining the amount of funding
- Maximum amount payable
- Basis for payment
- Stacking limits
- Performance measurement and reporting
- Official languages
- Redistribution of contribution
On August 7, 2020, a non-compliance motion from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (the Caring Society) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), was brought to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT or Tribunal) alleging that Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) failed to implement the Tribunal's 2016 and 2018 CHRT orders by not providing sufficient prevention funding to First Nations communities that are not served by a delegated First Nations child and family services (FNCFS) agency. In response to the non-compliance motion, ISC, the AFN and the Caring Society agreed to an interim funding model for First Nations children and families living on-reserve and in the Yukon who are served by a provincial or territorial agency or service provider.
In March 2021, the Tribunal issued a consent order for the implementation of a funding model to provide additional funding to First Nations communities not served by delegated FNCFS agencies for prevention and early intervention activities, retroactively back to January 2016 and going forward. More details on the order on consent (2021 CHRT 12) is available on the CHRT's website.
Effective April 1, 2022 the FNCFS program terms and conditions will apply to First Nations receiving prevention funding in accordance with 2022 CHRT 8.
Where there are inconsistencies between these terms and conditions and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decisions or decisions by any other Canadian court, in the context of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations matter, Canada will amend these terms and conditions to comply with the applicable orders.
The Community Well-Being and Jurisdiction Initiatives (CWJI) Program provides contribution funds for the provision of culturally-appropriate prevention and well-being services for First Nation children and families on reserve and in the Yukon.
The CWJI terms and conditions improve aspects of the Program that were determined by the Tribunal to be discriminatory and support the broader reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program as ordered by the Tribunal (2016 CHRT 2 para 481) and focused on addressing the needs of First Nation children, youth and families living on reserve or in the Yukon and preventing the perpetuation of historical disadvantage.
The Community Well-Being and Jurisdiction Initiatives (CWJI) Program provides contribution funds for the ongoing provision of culturally appropriate prevention and well-being services for First Nation children and families on reserve and in the Yukon.
The CWJI Program enables multi-year projects aimed at expanding the availability of prevention and well-being initiatives that are responsive to community needs, complement prevention programming provided by First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) agencies or provincial/territorial agencies, increase capacity in the area of child and family services prevention programming and support First Nations in the development and implementation of jurisdictional models. The Program recognizes the importance of preventive, early intervention and least intrusive measures to prevent and respond to child maltreatment supporting family preservation and well-being, maintenance of family, cultural and linguistic connections for children and youth as well as community wellness using a community supported approach.
The intention is that these terms and conditions are consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Changes to the FNCFS program emphasize that the safety and best interest of children are paramount and that cultural and linguistic connections should be upheld.
As of January 1, 2020, service providers delivering child and family services to Indigenous children must comply with the national principles and minimum standards set in the federal legislation An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, (the Act). The Act's national principles of substantive equality, cultural continuity, and the best interests of the child, have been established to help guide the provision of Indigenous child and family services while supporting Indigenous groups and communities transition toward exercising partial or full child and family services jurisdiction at a pace that they choose. Until an Indigenous group, community or people exercises jurisdiction under the Act, agreements related to existing service providers remain valid unless the parties decide otherwise.
CWJI applies to First Nation communities, served by the provinces or Yukon or by provincially or Yukon delegated agencies, who have not exercised child and family services jurisdiction and where the province or Yukon maintains jurisdiction.
The CWJI Program is delivered under the authority of the Department of Indigenous Services Act, S.C., 2019, c. 29, s.336., which provides the Minister of Indigenous Services with powers, duties and functions that extend to and include all matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction and that are not by law assigned to any other department, board or agency of the Government of Canada, relating to the provision of services to Indigenous individuals who are eligible to receive those services under an Act of Parliament or a program of the Government of Canada for which the Minister is responsible.
Capital expenditures are funded in accordance with the Tribunal's orders (2021 CHRT 41) to support infrastructure and capital required to support the delivery of child and family services for First Nations children, youth and families on reserve and in the Yukon. More details on decisions are available on the Tribunal's website or Funding for capital assets: Jordan's Principle and First Nations child and family services.
3. Purpose, objective and outcomes
The CWJI Program provides funding to First Nation communities to lead and develop and deliver culturally appropriate prevention programs and services that are in keeping with the best interests of the child, as determined by the community and which supports First Nations capacity in children and families wellbeing including the enactment of legislative authority in relation to children and families services jurisdiction.
The objectives of the CWJI are meant to complement prevention programming provided by provincial or Yukon government or First Nation Child and Family Service (FNCFS) agencies, societies or other child and family service providers delegated by Provinces or the Yukon to:
- support culturally appropriate prevention programming and activities that promote the safety and well-being of First Nation children and their families ordinarily resident on reserve, or in the Yukon, and help families at risk stay together in their communities; and
- support community initiatives aimed at exercising greater control of child and family services including the engagement and development of legislative child and family services models.
The Program's focus on prevention-based models supports family preservation and well-being, cultural and linguistic connections and supports to ensure inclusive and impartial child and family services including needs related to disability, sexual orientation, gender diversity and other characteristics protected by law.
The Program provides access to linguistic supports such as translation or interpretation services of Indigenous languages, where appropriate, to ensure a culturally appropriate service delivery pursuant to Canada's authorities under the Indigenous Languages Act.
CWJI outcomes focus on safe, healthy children and families supported by communities able to identify and address child and family needs.
Immediate (1 to 2 years)
- First Nations families have greater access to culturally appropriate prevention and early intervention services.
- First Nations service providers have adequate and predictable resources that allow for the development and delivery of culturally based child welfare standards and services including prevention services.
Intermediate (3 to 5 years)
- First Nations children are connected to their families and Indigenous communities
- First Nations communities develop structural supports in preparation for exercising jurisdiction over child and family services under the Act.
Ultimate (5 years and beyond)
- The over-representation of First Nations children in care is decreased compared to the proportion of non-Indigenous children in care in the overall population of children in Canada.
- First Nations children are free from severe physical danger and harm.
4. Eligible recipients
Eligible program recipients include:
|Community Wellbeing||Jurisdiction Initiatives|
5. Eligible project activities
5.1 Community Well-being
The following provides a list of eligible activities and costs that are in line with the CWJI Program terms and conditions.
The development and the delivery of prevention services supporting the safety of children, family and community well-being including at the primary, secondary or tertiary levels are evidence-informed, culturally appropriate and build protective factors within families and communities. Eligible project activities also support the implementation and operationalization of the minimum standards laid out in the Act as well as projects and activities intended to build greater evidence for culturally specific intervention.
CWJI recipients should ensure they engage with the appropriate delegated service provider and that activities do not interfere with the safety of a child or federal, provincial and territorial child welfare legislation.
Primary prevention services are aimed at the community as a whole and include the ongoing promotion and public awareness and education on healthy families and child maltreatment. Primary prevention activities typically target the whole community.
Projects supporting primary prevention activities include:
- Classes, workshops and outreach to improve family preservation and well-being for example
- domestic violence and anger management awareness
- nutrition classes for parents / teen parents
- parent education programs to enhance family preservation and well-being
- community outreach and awareness campaigns on prevention of child maltreatment, children's rights and how and where to report suspected child maltreatment
- initiatives focused on child, family and community well-being within the context of Indigenous culture and language
- well-being services that target children and families at risk in the home and community
- coordination efforts with other relevant federal or provincial sectors or programs including addictions and mental health, income support, housing and domestic violence to support community wide information / awareness sessions
Secondary prevention services are activated when a child may be at risk of child maltreatment and where intervention can enhance protective factors and remediate the risk.
Projects supporting secondary prevention activities include:
- group interventions or supports
- home visit programs for new parent(s) / teen parent(s)
- parent mentoring, parenting skills programs, in-home supports, respite care family counseling, guidance and assessment
- mediation and alternative resolution of disputes
- addictions treatment for parents as an alternative to taking children into care or as part of a plan for family reunification
- addiction treatment for youth as part of a plan for family remediation
- repatriation and reunification of children and youth with families on reserve or in the Yukon including maintaining and enhancing community connections
- coordination and reference services with other providers related to wrap-around services and interventions to ensure a coordinated approach based on identified needs including domestic violence, income support, housing, addictions and mental health
When otherwise not provided by delegated First Nation Child and Family Services agency (FNCFS) or provincial / territorial agencies, tertiary prevention services target specific families when a crisis and safety risks to a child have been identified. Tertiary prevention attempts to mitigate the risks of separating a child from his or her family and end the crisis. Targeted, least disruptive interventions and measures refer to the most appropriate level of service needed by a family whose child(ren) is/are at risk of maltreatment or where maltreatment has taken place. CWJI recipients should ensure they engage with the appropriate delegated service provider and that activities do not interfere with the safety of a child or federal, provincial and territorial child welfare legislation.
Projects supporting tertiary prevention include:
- child maltreatment risk intervention
- domestic violence intervention supports
- intensive family preservation services
- restorative intervention services
- mental health and addictions treatment for parents as an alternative to taking children into care or as part of a plan for family reunification
- mental health and addiction treatment for youth as part of a plan to remediate risks and promote family wellness.
5.2 Jurisdiction Initiatives
Jurisdictional activities support the development of First Nation-based child and family services jurisdiction, as well as structures and processes to support the implementation and operationalization of the minimum standards and notice requirements laid out in the Act.
Jurisdictional initiatives and activities include:
- support for bilateral and trilateral meetings with federal and/or provincial governments
- research, development, including consultation with First Nation communities and with experts of First Nations child and family safety and well-being interventions and jurisdictional models
6. Eligible expenditures
Eligible expenditures under the CWJI support activities considered necessary for the direct delivery of services, including operational costs such as wages, training, planning, administrative needs and overhead such as bookkeeping, IT services or other direct costs necessary to deliver services.
Funding will provide funding for the purchase or construction of capital assets to support the delivery of child and family services for First Nations children, youth, and families on reserve, and in the Yukon in accordance with the Tribunal's orders (2021 CHRT 41). In regard to the purchase and sale of capital assets and buildings, the CWJI terms and conditions are consistent with those outlined in the applicable program directive.
6.2 Operations and administrative needs
Eligible expenditures support activities and projects highlighted in Section 5 and include:
- staff salaries, benefits and employee assistance programs to support the delivery of prevention services
- costs related to support recruitment, training or professional development of prevention workers
- professional and paraprofessional services and fees
- cost to support policy development related to the development of prevention based programming
- professional dues and subscriptions, licenses, memberships, etc.
- staff travel and transportation
- staff training and professional development (training, workshops)
- honoraria for Elders and/or Knowledge Keepers
- interpretation services and supports
- general program delivery costs
- non-medical travel costs and accommodations to support the delivery of services
- court related costs for families
- travel or other costs, including addictions treatment to support the reunification and repatriation of children or youth in care with families on reserve or in the Yukon
- program costs and assistance to support specific needs for children, youth, and families at risk of becoming involved with the child and family services system and those already involved in the child and family services system:
- episodic or emergency supports, including additions treatment to assist caregivers in meeting children's and caregivers' basic needs
- assistance for children and families to support and facilitate the maintenance and enhancement of community connections by coordinating access to culture and language programs, including one-on-one assistance to strengthen families
- costs and supports to ensure inclusive and impartial provision of child and family services for persons with distinct identities and characteristics protected by law such as persons with disabilities or LGBTQ+ persons.
- supports to ensure inclusive and impartial child and family services for persons with distinct needs related disability, sexual orientation, gender diversity and other characteristics protected by law
- board and committee operations
- development or purchase, implementation and evaluation of client and information management and technology systems
- policy research, development and implementation, audits, monitoring, program evaluation including HR and financial policies
- standards development and implementation
- consultation and development of multiyear plans
- provisions to ensure privacy, security and proper management of records
- support for central administration functions (administrative overhead and costs) such as office lease, computer/IT, utilities, and insurance to support the delivery of services
- janitorial and ground maintenance services
6.3 Ineligible expenditures
While some of these cost may be eligible for children in care as part of care and maintenance under the FNCFS Program terms and conditions, these are not considered eligible prevention based activities under CWJI. Please refer to the eligible expenditures of the FNCFS terms and conditions for additional information.
- lease, purchase or repairs to private or band owned homes and vehicles
- infrastructure or capital for jurisdiction related initiatives
7. Application requirements and assessment criteria
Before entering into a contribution agreement, department officials shall confirm its authorities to enter into an agreement with the recipient and to fund the proposed activities. The departmental review procedures for verifying eligibility, entitlement and application approval (including risk assessments) are detailed in relevant departmental program directives and procedures. Specific requirements include:
- a multi-year community plan, workplan or funding formula agreement that is responsive to community needs and increases capacity in the area of child and family services prevention programming
- evidence of demonstrated financial and administrative capacity to meet the performance measurement and reporting requirement outlined in Sections 12.
8. Method determining the amount of funding
In accordance with Section 7, funding for community well-being projects is determined based on proposals, workplans and / or agreements with eligible recipients.
Funding for community well-being projects is determined at the regional level based on the specific needs, circumstances and goals of the community, as well as on the nature and duration for the activities described in the project plan or proposal. When applicable, the Tribunal's orders 2021 CHRT 12 and 2021 CHRT 41, will also be considered when determining the amount of funding.
Funding for Jurisdiction projects will be determined based on proposal assessments.
Pursuant to 2022 CHRT 8, the Tribunal amended existing orders to reflect that, as of April 1, 2022, prevention/least disruptive measures will be funded at $2,500 per person resident on reserve and in the Yukon on an ongoing basis adjusted annually based on inflation and population until the reformed First Nation Child and Family Services Program is fully implemented. The FNCFS program terms and conditions will apply to First Nations receiving prevention funding pursuant to 2022 CHRT 8.
As per the CHRT Order 2021 CHRT 12, costs incurred by eligible First Nations not served by FNCFS delegated agencies for community well-being activities outlined in these terms and conditions will be reimbursed retroactively for the period between January 26, 2016 and April 30, 2021.
Eligible capital assets, as set out in 2021 CHRT 41, will be funded as of August 26, 2021 until such time as a new funding process is developed for the program.
9. Maximum amount payable
To support different funding and delivery models, the maximum funding amount per recipient is $30 million per fiscal year for community well-being and jurisdiction initiatives with the exception of capital expenditures covered under 2021 CHRT 41
The program's funding methodology is being reformed as per the orders from the Tribunal. While the department has a temporary exception to item 8 of Appendix E of the Directive on Transfer Payments, in relation to capital asset funding in line with 2021 CHRT 41, the maximum amount payable is considered to be the full eligible cost of the claim as approved by ISC. The reasonableness requirements included in Section 10 (Basis for Payment) and any other applicable requirements, generally outlined in the applicable program directive and confirmed by ISC, must be met during the review of each specific funding request.
10. Basis for payment
Payments will be made in accordance with federal policies as reflected in the contribution agreement, including the funding approach and conditions of payment principles. Fixed or flexible funding agreement models are available to Indigenous recipients, in accordance with Appendix K of the Directive on Transfer Payments.
In accordance to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Policy on Transfer Payments, advance payments are permitted, based on a forecast of cash flow provided by the recipient.
Progress payments will be subject to periodic reports of activities and expenditures, as specified within the contribution agreement, which will be reviewed and validated by the department. Officials will ensure that all applicable requirements are met prior to processing a payment.
Holdback requirements, when applicable, will be determined based on risk assessment and may be up to 20% of the total contribution.
Final payment will be contingent on the receipt by the department of the final activity, performance and financial reports, as specified in the agreement.
Funding for the CWJI Program is targeted and cannot be used for any other purposes.
Any remaining retroactive entitlements under 2021 CHRT 12 for First Nations not served by delegated FNCFS agencies will be paid out in a lump sum in fiscal year 2022-23.
11. Stacking limits
The stacking limit is the maximum level of funding to a recipient from all sources (including federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal) for the same activity, initiative or project. The limit is 100% of eligible costs.
12. Performance measurement and reporting
Data will be collected by recipients using various methods and sources, and will meet requirements set out in the Reporting Guide. Frequency of financial and performance reporting will be specified in the contribution agreement. All recipients will be required to report at least annually.
12.1 Performance Measurement
To ensure that a balanced approach is implemented and that the reporting burden is minimized, a reliable performance data collection, analysis and reporting methodology is being developed that will meet the respective needs of the recipients, the communities and the department.
The methodology will be developed in consultation with the parties to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal complaint, the National Advisory Committee, and other partners as appropriate. Funding recipients will be required to provide to the department only the performance data required to demonstrate program performance and achievement of program outcomes.
12.2 Financial reporting
Financial reporting requirements, including frequency, will be determined based on the recipient's risk assessment and the type of contribution agreement. Financial reviews will be conducted to ensure each recipient submits financial reports in accordance with its contribution agreement requirements. An annual audited financial statement will be required in all cases.
As per the department's Management Control Framework, annual reviews will be undertaken to ascertain whether funds provided are being expended for the purposes intended, and whether a recipient's financial situation is sufficiently stable to enable continued delivery of funded activities. Where any instability is due to the department's funding structures or levels of funding, the department will take appropriate measures to mitigate and remediate these risks. The department will respect privacy laws and regulations respecting the First Nations child and family service records of children, youth and families.
13. Official languages
Where a program supports activities that may be delivered to members of either official language community, which means where there is significant demand, the recipient is required to provide access to services in both official languages. In addition, the department will ensure that the design and the delivery of programs respect the obligations of the Government of Canada as set out in the Official Languages Act.
14. Redistribution of contribution
Recipients may redistribute contributions, as per the terms of their contribution agreements. Redistributions should be done in line with program objectives, eligibility criteria and eligible expenses. In doing so however, recipients will not act as agents of the federal government.
Where a recipient further distributes contribution funding to another service delivery organization (such as an authority, board, committee, or other entity authorized to act on behalf of the recipient), the recipient will remain liable to the department for the performance of its obligations under the contribution agreement. Neither the objectives of the programs and services nor the expectations of transparent, fair and substantively equivalent services will be compromised by any redistribution of contribution funding.
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