Application Guidelines – Aboriginal Languages Initiative

Aboriginal Peoples’ Program

On this page:

Objectives and expected results for the Aboriginal Peoples’ Program

The objectives of the Aboriginal Peoples’ Program (APP) are to:

  • preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages and cultures;
  • strengthen Indigenous cultural identity; and
  • increase Indigenous participation in Canadian society.

Objectives and expected results for the Aboriginal Languages Initiative

The Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI) supports the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages through community-based projects and activities. Expected results include the following:

  • Indigenous language stakeholders implement projects to revitalize, preserve and promote Indigenous languages;
  • mobilized groups, organizations and communities use and share Indigenous languages within Indigenous domains and cultural contexts; and
  • reversal of the current downward trend in the use and fluency of Indigenous languages.

The Department of Canadian Heritage recognizes that initiatives that aim to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages must be flexible and responsive to the broad range of community needs, goals and priorities.

Application deadline

December 5

When an application deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or statutory holiday, it is extended to the following working day.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding, you must be a Canadian organization/group, democratically controlled and be one of the following:

  • Indigenous not-for-profit organizations incorporated under Canada not-for-profit Corporations Act or under corresponding provincial or territorial legislation;
  • Indigenous not-for-profit organizations not incorporated;
  • Indigenous governments and equivalent organizations, and their delegated authorities;
  • Indigenous not-for-profit temporary committees and groups set up to complete a specific project;
  • Indigenous academic institutions; and
  • non-Indigenous not-for-profit organizations working in a clear partnership with Indigenous organizations or Indigenous advisory committees.


We are responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant, its project and project-related expenses. The Aboriginal Languages Initiative component is highly competitive. Requests for funding typically exceed our available resources. If your organization/your group is eligible, submitting an application does not guarantee funding.

Eligible projects

To be eligible for funding from the Aboriginal Languages Initiative component, your project must include community-based activities such as:

  • developing and delivering community language training programs (e.g. language and culture instruction and camps, language nests, online training, master-apprentice programs, etc.);
    • The development and teaching of regular accredited curriculum is not eligible for funding.
    • Language training programs must be held outside grade K-12 classes or accredited course work.
  • developing materials to increase Indigenous language use and proficiency (e.g. books, videos, workbooks, lexicons, language kits, games, etc.);
  • developing systems for facilitating communications in Indigenous languages (e.g. database, etc.);
  • developing digital tools to share information, materials and resources among Indigenous languages groups (e.g. website, application, etc.); and
  • recording, documenting and preserving Indigenous languages (e.g. radio and television content, archiving, etc.)

Eligible expenses

Only project-related expenses, which can be of cash and in-kind value are eligible; these may include:

  • salaries and employee benefits;
  • honoraria for Elders and professional services/consulting fees;
  • travel expenses, which must not exceed the rates permitted for travel on government business;
  • training;
  • rental costs for facilities specifically required for the project and/or project activities
  • material or equipment rental, service and purchase ;
  • project supplies and resource materials;
  • photocopying, printing and translation;
  • communications;
  • general liability insurances; and
  • administrative costs, such as: bookkeeping services, office supplies, telephone, fax, utilities, postage and courier fees, photocopying, printing, rent for office space, audit, legal, translation (administrative costs may not exceed 15 per cent of the total approved funding).

In-kind contributions are considered real contributions to the cost of the proposed project but are not reimbursable. Donated goods and services may be considered in-kind contributions if they:

  • are essential to your project’s success;
  • are eligible and would otherwise have to be purchased or paid for by you;
  • can be measured at fair market value (i.e. in relation to similar goods and services); and
  • are balanced by an equal revenue in your budget (i.e. total in-kind expenses equal total in-kind revenues).

Expenditures that are not eligible include:

  • stipends, allowances or honoraria for attendance in a course or activity;
  • professional development/employment training programs;
  • festivals and gatherings including conferences and pow wow;
  • contingency and miscellaneous fees;
  • deficit recovery;
  • expenditures related to capital construction and renovation;
  • salaries and honoraria for board members; and
  • core funding costs for organizations including: staffing, annual meetings and executive or board meetings.

We cannot fund expenses incurred before the start date of your project (which must be between July 1 and March 31 of the year immediately following the application date). If you incur expenses for your project before receiving written confirmation of your funding approval, you will be doing so at your own risk.

Limits of government assistance

To ensure the success of your project, we encourage you to have other funding sources. This may include contributions from your organization/your group, the private sector or other levels of government.

The total financial assistance received from the Aboriginal Languages Initiative and other levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 100% of the total eligible project-related costs.

We can fund up to 100% of eligible expenses up to $2.5 million per year. However, please note that the average amount provided by the Aboriginal Language Initiative should range from $25,000 to $75,000.

How to apply

Read these Application Guidelines in their entirety before completing your application.

Contact us to receive your application package.

You must meet all eligibility requirements and submit a complete application package to be considered for funding. Incomplete applications will be rejected. A complete application package includes the General Application Form, the proposal, the budget and the supporting documents required in the Application Checklist.

Application process

  • Complete, sign and date the General Application Form;
  • Complete the proposal and budget templates following the specific instructions;
  • Attach all the required supporting documents; and
  • Submit your application package through only one means (i.e. by email, by mail, in-person, etc.).

Email submission

We encourage you to submit your application package electronically to the following email address:

The email must be sent no later than 11:59 p.m. local time on the date of the application deadline for your application to be considered.

Mail or in person submissions

Department of Canadian Heritage
Aboriginal Peoples' Program
15 Eddy St., 8th Floor (15-8-E)
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M5

Your application must be postmarked or hand-delivered no later than the published deadline to be considered.

How applications are evaluated

We fund projects that have clear objectives and measurable results. Your application will be evaluated based on the evaluation criteria below by a review committee who will compare it with other applications and prioritize it in relation to the funds available.

When prioritizing eligible applications, we will take into consideration:

  • the total requested amount which should be between $25,000 and $75,000;
  • the funding application which must be limited to 2 separate activities; and
  • organizations/groups that currently do not have a multi-year agreement in place for 2019-2020 under the Aboriginal Languages Initiative component.

Failure to comply with any conditions of a previously funded project will be considered in the evaluation of your new application and could result in a rejection of your new application.

Evaluation criteria

Project activities and deliverables

  • The extent to which the proposed activities’ implementation would support the program’s objectives and priorities;
  • The application describes clear activities including measurable and realistic deliverables; and
  • The activities or resources will be accessible broadly, free of charge.


  • The expenses are realistic, reasonable, and in line with the proposed activities.

Organizational capacity

  • The application demonstrates how the organization has the necessary staff and expertise and the financial capacity to successfully manage and deliver the project; and
  • The application reflects that the organization has experience in carrying out similar activities in the community and that it is supported by a network of partners.

Application processing time

Please refer to the Service standards for Canadian Heritage funding programs or contact the Program.

We will acknowledge receipt of your application within two weeks of receiving your application in our office.

Funding decisions

We reserve the right to target our funding to specific projects. Please note that decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are final.

How funding is provided

We provide funding in the form of a contribution.

A contribution is a conditional payment issued for a specific purpose, as outlined in a funding agreement. The funding agreement is signed by your organization/your group and by us and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At the end of your project, you must submit a final report.

Funding conditions

You may be required to submit interim reports during your project and a final report is required.

You must have a minimum of $2 million in general liability insurance.

Additional conditions may apply and, if applicable, will be included in your funding agreement.

Workplace well-being

The Government of Canada is strongly committed to promoting healthy workplaces where harassment, abuse and discrimination are not tolerated. Organizations that receive funding from Canadian Heritage must take measures to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse and discrimination.

Official languages requirements

We are committed to taking positive measures to enhance the vitality of official-language minority communities and to promote the use of English and French in Canadian society. If you receive funding, you agree to comply with the official languages requirements set out in your application and in your funding agreement.

Acknowledgement of financial assistance

If you receive funding, you must publicly acknowledge – in English and in French – the financial support received from the Government of Canada in all communications materials and promotional activities. Additional requirements may be included in your funding agreement.

For additional information, please refer to our Guide on the public acknowledgement of financial support.

Environmental Assessment Act

If you receive funding, your project may be subject to the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. If your activities are to be carried out on federal lands, we will contact you for additional information prior to the start of your project.

Access to information requests

We are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you submit in your application may be disclosed in accordance with these acts.

Disclosure of information

By submitting your funding application, you authorize us to disclose any information submitted with this application within the Government of Canada or to outside entities for the following purposes:

  • to reach a decision;
  • to evaluate the results of the project; and
  • to support transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

Audits of recipients and evaluation of the Program

We reserve the right to audit your accounts and records to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the funding agreement. We also conduct periodic Program evaluations, during which you may be required to present documentation.

You must keep any records, documents, or other information that may be required to perform the audit or the evaluation for five years. Demonstrated failure to maintain such records may result in the repayment of amounts previously received.

Contact us

For further information please contact us:

Department of Canadian Heritage
Aboriginal Peoples' Program
15 Eddy St., 8th Floor (15-8-E)
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M5



1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)


1-888-997-3123 (for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired)

Agents are available to answer your questions Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (ET).


Audited financial report
An audited financial report includes a statement of operations for the given period with regard to the Project and is prepared by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization.
Audited financial statements
A complete set of financial statements including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Audited financial statements are completed by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization. The certified accountant performs auditing activities in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
Cash flow
A presentation of all anticipated revenues and planned expenses that will occur over the length of your project. At the beginning of your project, your cash flow will have only forecasted revenues and expenses. Over time, your cash flow will be updated to reflect the actual revenues and expenses.
Final report

A final report is submitted at the end of your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. Your final report needs to provide the results of the activities you have undertaken for the duration of your project.

Final financial report
A final financial report includes, as separate items, the budget as well as all of the revenues realized and expenditures incurred for the given period with regard to the Project being funded.
Financial statements

A complete set of financial statements, including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Financial statements may be audited or unaudited.

General liability insurance
Insurance for claims arising from injuries or damage to other people or property.
Indigenous communities

Indigenous communities are First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities

Interim reports

Interim reports are submitted during your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. These reports indicate the results of the activities undertaken for a specific period. In addition, they include a status report on the work to be accomplished and updated revenue and expense reports.

Official-Language Minority Communities

The official-language minority communities are the Anglophone communities residing in Quebec and the Francophone communities residing outside of Quebec.


All parties with an interest in the project with the exception of the Government of Canada. Partners could include individuals, communities, community-based organizations, public and private sector institutions and funding bodies.


An individual working on behalf of others without receiving financial or material gain.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: