First Nations and Inuit Cultural Education Centres Program: National Program Guidelines 2023 to 2024

Table of contents

1. Program introduction

The First Nations and Inuit Cultural Education Centres Program (FNICECP) provides funding for First Nations and Inuit cultural education centres on reserves or Inuit settlement regions to support the development and promotion of First Nations and Inuit cultural heritage.

These guidelines set out the FNICECP delivery requirements for recipients that enter into a funding agreement with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) for the delivery of the FNICECP.

These guidelines are effective as of April 1, 2023 and replace the First Nations and Inuit Cultural Education Centres Program National Program Guidelines 2022 to 2023.

These guidelines are to be read in conjunction with the funding agreement signed by the funding recipient.

2. Objective

The objective of the FNICECP is to:

3. Expected results

The program is a small part of broader efforts to improve First Nations and Inuit elementary and secondary education. Learnings derived from its activities are expected to help improve the overall quality of education for First Nations and Inuit students and contribute to the following specific expected outcomes:

The expected outcomes for the program are:

4. Eligible Recipients

Recipients eligible to receive funding include:

Indigenous Services Canada directly funds First Nations and Inuit cultural education centres and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

Indigenous Services also funds the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres, which manages and administers FNICECP funds for a majority of First Nations cultural education centres.

5. Eligible activities

Key activities supported by the program include:

6. Expenditures

6.1 Eligible initiatives and projects

Funding is provided to recipients to undertaking work that will lead to:

  • Culturally relevant curricula for First Nations and Inuit schools
  • An enhanced cultural environment and understanding within communities

The funded activities:

  • Focus on school-age children
  • Include resources for classroom instruction and after-school programs
  • Include operational funds for cultural education centres
  • May include classes for adults and events for community members, including cultural information sessions and tours targeted toward the general public

6.2 Eligible expenditures

Eligible expenditures must be directly related to the eligible activities set out in the work plan that has been approved through a First Nations-led and/or Inuit-led regional process.

Eligible expenditures may include the following:

  • development of culturally relevant curricula for First Nations and Inuit schools
  • costs for operating eligible First Nations and Inuit cultural and education centres on reserves or Inuit settlement regions
  • Costs for specific initiatives related to First Nations and Inuit culture
  • salaries, benefits and wages for employees
  • printing and publishing costs
  • materials and supplies
  • Elders and guest speakers
  • professional services and consulting fees including:
    • communications consulting
    • business services
  • facility rental including:
    • equipment rentals
    • conference and meeting rooms
  • travel within Canada
    • travel expenses are to be claimed at actual cost, but cannot exceed the rates and allowances established in the National Joint Council Travel Directive in effect at the time of travel.
    • expenses which exceed the rates and allowances set for in the directive are ineligible and will not be paid
  • administration costs not exceeding 15%:
    • telephone, fax and internet connection
    • postage and courier
    • photocopying
    • management of regional program processes such as travel, honoraria
    • clerical support
    • office supplies
    • collection, maintenance and reporting of data and information in accordance with program and financial reporting requirements
    • costs associated with ensuring that personal information is appropriately managed and safeguarded during its collection, retention, use, disclosure, and disposal
    • bookkeeping
    • audit, if required, not to exceed $5,000
  • other

Administration costs must not exceed 15% of the sub-total amount requested before administration costs. The data collection instrument (DCI) will automatically calculate the amount.

The total administration costs retained by all parties must not exceed 15% of the sub-total amount requested before administration costs.

6.3 Ineligible expenditures

Ineligible expenditures include, but are not limited to:

  • capital construction and renovation
  • purchase of land or buildings
  • stipends, allowances, honoraria for attendance in a course and activity
  • contingency or miscellaneous fees
  • deficit recovery
  • interest or other bank charges
  • amortization expenses
  • advocacy

7. Proposal process and assessment criteria

All funding for the FNICECP is based on proposals approved by ISC.

Applicants must:

Recipients whose proposal for a multi-year project is approved will be notified in a timely manner of the funding amount for the subsequent years of the project.

Funding for a subsequent year will depend on achievement of the objectives and availability of funds.

7.1 Submission of proposals

Only proposals submitted in the electronic proposal form issued by ISC will be considered for assessment. 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

Refer to the proposal form and the attached instructions for application details. Incomplete proposals will be returned to applicants.

7.2 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 activities within their proposal successfully
    • complete the project or initiative in a timely manner
  • consultation and commitment: the extent to which the proposal has the support of relevant organizations or communities
    • the assessment process will consider the letters of support provided by the applicant
  • implementation activities: the extent to which the proposal aligns with eligible activities and meets program objectives. The assessment process will consider:
    • timelines
    • cost-effectiveness
    • the degree to which the activities will result in the expected outcomes
  • project management: how the initiative or project will be managed, including:
    • project governance
    • management of program scope
    • human resources
    • risk management
    • deliverables
    • project monitoring, control and reporting
  • project costs: a demonstration of a realistic assessment of estimated total costs and a justification of the level of funding required

Any cultural education centre that has previously received funding from the FNICECP must report on how the funding:

  • met the commitments in their funding agreement
  • concretely addressed the approved proposal objectives and expected results of the program

Meeting these criteria does not guarantee funding from the FNICECP.

7.3 Review and approval process

ISC regional or headquarters staff will review and approve proposals. Applicants will receive a written response to confirm whether or not their proposal has been approved for funding.

The First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres will review and approve proposals for recipients they fund.

8. Managing conflict of interest

Recipients that manage the adjudication and administration of the funding of the program must demonstrate transparency and accountability in their policies and processes.

This includes having:

An individual cannot participate in the evaluation of a proposal in the following situations:

Conflicts of interest may arise during the review of proposals. These situations need to be managed in an open and transparent manner.

Should a situation arise that presents a real or potential conflict of interest during the review process, the impacted individual must recuse themselves from the deliberations concerning the specific proposal.

9. Funding

9.1 Maximum amount payable per funding recipient

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

This program is proposal-driven and the level of funding is:

  • determined on a case-by-case basis
  • limited overall by total available funding and the number of proposals approved

9.2 Funding approaches

Transfer payments to funding recipients of the First Nations and Inuit Cultural Education Centres Program will be made using fixed contribution, however set contribution may be used if the recipient so wishes.

Indigenous Services Canada regional officers can provide information on the eligibility requirements of these funding approaches and 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 contributions

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 First Nations and Inuit Cultural Education Centres Program
  • Recipients must obtain approval from the ISC officer responsible for the program in their region before reallocating funds
  • Centres funded through the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres should contact the confederacy for guidance

Unexpended funding:

  • Recipients may retain unexpended funding from a fiscal year to expend in the 1-year period immediately following the fiscal year for which it was provided on eligible activities and expenditures as outlined in these guidelines

10. Reporting requirements and monitoring and oversight activities

10.1 Reporting requirements

The reporting requirements for program and financial reports and their respective due dates are listed in the recipient's funding agreement. Details on these requirements are available in the Reporting Guide.

Recipients must report on all funds received and expended, including the use of unexpended funding they were allowed to retain in another fiscal year. Consult the funding approaches section of these guidelines for details on the use of unexpended funds.

Recipients who have access to the ISC Services portal can access the reporting forms by opening a session on the portal. Recipients who do not have access to the portal, should contact their regional office.

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

10.2 Monitoring and oversight

To ensure that the program or strategy outcomes and objectives are being met and opportunities for continuous improvement with a goal to improve results for Indigenous peoples are being identified, activities including audits, evaluations, targeted programs or strategy reviews may be conducted in collaboration with the recipient (for example desk and on-site reviews).

11. Personal information

ISC's collection and use of personal information and other records for the purposes of targeted program reviews (for example, desk and on-site reviews) will be limited to what is necessary to ensure program delivery requirements are met.

ISC 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, R.S.C., 1985, c. P-21 and other related policies on privacy.

Recipients are responsible for the protection of personal information as per the privacy statutes and regulations up to the point that the personal information is transferred to ISC.

12. Accountability

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

Regional offices and other ISC contacts are available to answer questions and provide guidance related to ISC programs and strategies and funding.

Recipients must:

13. Intellectual property

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

14. Contact information

For further program information, visit:

Visit the Regional offices page to find your regional office contact.

You can also write to:

Education Branch
Indigenous Services Canada
10 rue Wellington - Suite 1455, Mailstop 25E-19
Gatineau QC K1A 0H4


For more information about education programs, consult Education programs: National program guidelines or click on the View instructions button on the first page of this program's data collection instrument.

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