Application Guidelines – Indigenous Languages Component

Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program

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Objectives for the Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program

The Indigenous Languages Act received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. The Department is collaborating with Indigenous organizations to implement the Act and to develop a new approach to investing in Indigenous languages. While this work is being carried out, funding for 2020-2021 will be delivered through the Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program to achieve the following objectives:

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

Objectives and expected results for the Indigenous Languages Component

The objectives are to support the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance, and strengthening of Indigenous languages through community-driven activities. Expected results include the following:

  • Indigenous communities have access to resources to deliver activities that incorporate Indigenous languages;
  • Indigenous individuals and groups are engaged in activities that strengthen Indigenous languages; and
  • Indigenous individuals and groups are engaged as an integral part of Canadian society and embrace and share their languages with other Canadians.

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

Application deadline

January 31, 2020

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding, you must be a Canadian organization/group, democratically held and managed:

  • Indigenous-controlled not-for-profit organization incorporated under the Canada not-for-profit Corporations Act or under corresponding provincial or territorial legislation;
  • Indigenous-controlled unincorporated not-for-profit organization;
  • Indigenous government and equivalent organization, and its delegated authorities;
  • Indigenous-controlled ad hoc committee that have formed to do a specific project;
  • for profit Indigenous-controlled organization, provided that the project for which you are requesting funding will not result in income generation for your sole benefit;
  • Indigenous-led institution including accredited programs; and
  • in exceptional circumstances to be approved by the Program, non-Indigenous-controlled not-for-profit organization, in close partnership with Indigenous-controlled organizations.


We are responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant, its project and project-related expenses. The Indigenous Languages Component’s requests for funding typically exceed our available resources. If your organization/your group is eligible, submitting an application does not guarantee funding.

Eligible activities

To be eligible for funding from the Indigenous Languages Component, your project must include community-driven activities such as:

  • Capacity building
    • developing and implementing language plans;
    • organizing and delivering conferences; and
    • supporting leadership development towards languages.
  • Language preservation and revitalization
    • developing and delivering community language training programs (e.g. language and culture instruction and camps, language nests, online training, master-apprentice programs, etc.);
    • developing resources 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.);
    • recording, documenting and preserving Indigenous languages (e.g. radio and television content, archiving, etc.);
    • producing and broadcasting radio and television programming; and
    • developing and teaching of regular accredited program.
  • Community engagement
    • promoting engagement.
  • Cultural development
    • delivering life skills and wellness programs that incorporate learning of an Indigenous language; and
    • delivering festivals and gatherings including pow wows that incorporate Indigenous language promotion or learning.

Eligible expenses

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

  • salaries and employee benefits;
  • travel expenses, which must not exceed the rates permitted travel on government business;
  • professional development and training programs;
  • meetings;
  • rent/utilities related to the activities;
  • translation and communications;
  • professional/consulting/Elder fees;
  • equipment rental/service/purchase;
  • costs associated with information technology, including purchase and upgrade of hardware and software;
  • start-up costs for Indigenous-controlled organizations whose mandate is to support the reclamation, revitalization, strengthening, and maintenance of Indigenous languages;
  • project supplies and resource materials related to the activities;
  • photocopying and printing related to the activities;;
  • 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 percent 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).

Eligible expenses must be held between July 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. We cannot fund expenses incurred before the start date of your project. 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 Indigenous Languages Component 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. Proposals to the Indigenous Language Component should range from $25,000 to $200,000. Proposals under $60,000 may be funded through a grant agreement. All approved proposals over $60,000 will be funded through a contribution agreement.

How to apply

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

Please contact us to receive your application package.

You must meet all eligibility requirements and submit a complete application package to be considered for funding. A complete application package includes the:

  • Supporting documents required in the Application Checklist (Annex A);
  • General Application Form (Annex B);
  • Proposal (Annex C); and
  • Budget (Annex D).

Application process

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

Email submissions

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

You can mail, courier or hand-deliver your complete application package to:

Department of Canadian Heritage
Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program
15 Eddy St, 8th Floor (15-8-E)
Gatineau QC  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 activities that have clear objectives and measurable results. Your application will be evaluated based on the evaluation criteria below and then reviewed by a committee, composed of Indigenous members, 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 should be between $25,000 and $200,000; and
  • each funding application must be limited to 3 types of activities.

You may submit more than one application.

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 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, expertise and the financial capacity to successfully manage and deliver the project; and
  • The application reflects the organization’s experience in carrying out similar activities and/or 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 five business days of receiving your application in our office.

Funding decisions

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

How funding is provided

We will determine if funding will be disbursed as a grant or contribution.

A grant is a payment issued to a recipient for a project. The conditions you agreed to at the time of application will apply. At the end of your project, you may be required to submit a report and/or participate in the evaluation of results.

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. If you receive $250,000 or more as a contribution, you are required to submit an audited financial report.

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, when applicable.

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.

Impact Assessment Act

If you receive funding, your project may be subject to the provisions of the Impact Assessment Act. 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 your 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
Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program
15 Eddy Street
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 am to 5:30 pm (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.
Indigenous communities
Indigenous communities are First Nations, Inuit and Métis 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.
An individual working on behalf of others without receiving financial or material gain.
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