First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy: Summer Work Experience Program: National Program Guidelines 2024 to 2025

Table of contents

1. Program introduction

The First Nations and Inuit Summer Work Experience Program is 1 of 2 programs that Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) administers under the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy (FNIYES).

These guidelines set out the delivery requirements for funding recipients that enter into a funding agreement with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) for the delivery of the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy: Summer Work Experience Program during the 2024 to 2025 fiscal year.

These guidelines are effective as of April 1, 2024 and replace the 2023 to 2024 First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy: Summer Work Experience Program: National Program Guidelines.

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

2. Objectives

The objectives of the Summer Work Experience Program 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

The desired outcome for the Summer Work Experience Program is that secondary and post-secondary students further their education and acquire employability skills. Key expected results of the Summer Work Experience Program include:

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:

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

6. Eligible participants

Eligible participants include:

Eligible youth must be legally entitled to work in Canada. Youth means persons aged 15 to 30 at the start of the program's activities. Eligible youth must be registered as secondary or post-secondary students during the preceding academic year and intend to go to school for the next academic session.

7. Activities

The activities will provide career-related summer employment opportunities for First Nations and Inuit secondary and post-secondary students between May 1, 2024 and the beginning of the student's fall academic term. These activities may include:

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 wage costs that meet or exceed the applicable minimum wage in the province or territory where the work placement occurs, and mandatory employment-related costs. Mandatory employment-related costs including the gross employee share of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Quebec Pension Plan (QPP), Employment Insurance (EI), vacation pay, Worker's Compensation Benefits (WCB) or Commission de la santé et de la Sécurité du travail (CSST) and where applicable, health insurance premiums
    • the non-profit sector is eligible to receive a contribution of up to 100% of the applicable minimum wage, plus mandatory employment-related costs (MERC). The private sector is eligible to receive up to 50% of the applicable minimum wage only
    • all employers are eligible to apply for 100% of the wage and MERC when a participant with disabilities is hired. In addition, a maximum contribution of $3,000 per participant may be available, on an actual cost basis, for special equipment and facilities to accommodate the participant's needs
  • other necessary costs directly related to a work placement including, but not limited to, a criminal record check, uniforms and other office attire required by the workplace for participants, and personal protective equipment such as work boots or 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 must not exceed 15% of the sub-total amount requested before administration costs. The 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 they received under this program to a third party the 15% 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 15% 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 First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy 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. Proposals must clearly state how the activities will further the objectives and expected results of this program.

Eligible proposals must:

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 ISC 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 successful implementation of the activities in their proposal
    • 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 or territorial schools near 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

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 reviews and approves proposals. A written response is sent to applicants to confirm whether or not their proposal has been approved for funding.

To find out more about the 2024 to 2025 call for proposals and the application process, visit:

10. Funding

10.1 Maximum amount of funding

The maximum amount of funding given 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. To learn more, consult Eligible expenditures.

10.2 Funding approaches

Transfer payments to funding recipients of the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy Summer Work Experience Program will be made using fixed contribution, however set contribution may be used if the recipient so wishes.

ISC 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 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 1 year period immediately following the fiscal year for which it was provided, on eligible activities and expenditures outlined in these guidelines.

11. Reporting requirements and monitoring and oversight activities

11.1 Reporting requirements

The reporting requirements, such as 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 to use 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. If you are a national recipient, contact

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

Reporting requirements include the overarching program report and 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 youth evaluation form is available through the Menu button on page one of the main report by clicking on View instructions. The youth evaluation form must be reattached to the main report using the Add youth evaluations function.

11.2 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, as well as targeted program or strategy reviews may be conducted in collaboration with the recipient, for example, desk and on-site reviews.

12. Managing conflict of interest

It is necessary to avoid potential, perceived and actual conflicts of interest and any situation that might cause doubt in objectivity. As such, a procedure to manage conflicts of interest needs to be developed and put in place.

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:

Individuals 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.

13. 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, is limited to what is necessary to ensure delivery requirements are met.

ISC is responsible for all information and records in its possession. The confidentiality of the information is 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 provincial or territorial privacy statutes and regulations and the recipient's policies up to the point that the personal information is transferred to ISC.

14. Accountability

ISC is committed to providing assistance to help recipients effectively carry out their obligations under these guidelines and their funding agreement.

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

Recipients must:

15. Contact information

To find out more, visit:

Contact your local ISC Regional office.

You can also write to:

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

To learn more about education programs, consult the 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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