Application Guidelines – First Nations, Multi-distinction and Indigenous urban language projects, Indigenous Languages Component

Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program

These application guidelines set out the delivery requirements for the First Nation languages projects, multi-distinction languages and Indigenous urban language projects, that are submitted through the Department of Canadian Heritage application process.

For First Nations languages projects in the regions of Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia, consult the Indigenous Languages Component for information regarding the First Nations Regionally Designated Organizations.

For Inuit and Métis Nation languages projects, consult the Indigenous Languages Component for information.

Once an application is submitted, there is no guarantee that the application will be funded.

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With the 2023-2024 Indigenous Languages Component call for applications, Canadian Heritage is planning its transition to allocate multi-year funding and provide more predictability and flexibility to First Nations communities and Indigenous-led organizations in their efforts to revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous Languages, should funding become available.

Application Streams

The two application streams are:

  1. The Annual and Multi-year proposal-based stream to support:
    • First Nation communities and Indigenous organizations to develop a language plan;
    • Project-based funding up to five years (2023-2028) for language revitalization projects.
  2. The Ongoing programmatic funding stream:
    • to establish mechanisms to have access to predictable, long-term, flexible, and sustainable funding informed by the survey of interest;
    • to implement ongoing programmatic funding and identify First Nation communities or Indigenous not-for-profit organizations that have a long-term language plan or work plan in place and a minimum of two years of experience in providing First Nation languages revitalization services.

Objectives for the Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program

The objectives of the Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program are to:

  • Strengthen Indigenous cultural identity and participation in Canadian society; and
  • Support the efforts of Indigenous peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages and cultures.

Objectives and expected results for the Indigenous Languages Component


The objectives of the Indigenous Languages Component are to:

  • Support the efforts of Indigenous communities and Indigenous organizations to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages;
  • Create new Indigenous language speakers, increase immersion opportunities, increase use of Indigenous languages, and the documentation of all Indigenous languages.

Expected results

  • Indigenous communities have access to funding 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.


Eligible recipients

To be eligible for all application streams, an applicant must be an Indigenous organization or group within Canada, and in good standing.

Indigenous organization within Canada, refers to an organization that is owned and controlled by Indigenous persons, including an Indigenous-owned corporation or an Indigenous controlled not-for-profit organization, which directly delivers language revitalization services or that otherwise supports the delivery of language revitalization services.

To be eligible to the ongoing programmatic stream, an applicant must also be a:

  • First Nations government and equivalent organization and its delegated authorities;
  • Indigenous-led institution including accredited programs; and
  • Indigenous-led not-for-profit organization.

An applicant can only apply for the annual and multi-year project stream (for specific activities and resources) if an applicant is:

  • An Indigenous ad hoc group that has formed to do a specific language work plan;
  • An Indigenous for-profit organization, provided that the activities for which they are requesting funding will not result in income generation for their sole benefit.

Eligible activities

To be eligible for funding from the Indigenous Languages Component, the application must support the efforts of Indigenous communities and organizations in reclaiming, revitalizing, maintaining, strengthening and promoting Indigenous languagesFootnote 1 such as:

  • Cultural development;
  • Capacity building;
  • Conferences and gathering;
  • Community engagement;
  • Leadership development towards Indigenous languages;
  • Life skills and wellness that incorporate learning of an Indigenous language;
  • Production and broadcast of radio, television and programming;
  • Innovation and new technologies;
  • Consultation and coordination;
  • Research, studies and community assessment; and
  • Management and administration.

View the list of previous projects funded by the Indigenous Languages Component.

Eligible expenditures

Only expenditures for activities related to the objectives of the Indigenous Languages Component are eligible, these include:

  • start-up costs for Indigenous organizations whose mandate is to support the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance and strengthening of Indigenous languages;
  • salaries and employee benefits;
  • in exceptional circumstances, stipends, allowances or honoraria for attendance in a course or activity;
  • travel expenses, which must not exceed the rates permitted as per travel on government business;
  • professional development and training programs;
  • meetings;
  • rent and utilities related to the activities;
  • photocopying and printing services related to the activities
  • translation and communications;
  • professional, consulting and Elder fees;
  • equipment rental, service and purchase;
  • costs associated with information technology, including purchase and upgrade of hardware and software;
  • minor renovation in the context of promotional languages activities;
  • 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 cannot exceed 15% of the total approved funding.

Eligible expenses must be incurred between April 1, 2023, and March 31, 2028.

Ineligible expenditures

You cannot use funds from the Indigenous Languages Component for:

  • capital construction and major (high cost) renovation;
  • salaries and honoraria for Board of members in the delivery of regular operations;
  • pre-school, Elementary, Secondary and Post-Secondary Education core funding;
  • start-up and operational costs for commercial enterprises, and support for the development of cultural and professional industries;
  • contingency and miscellaneous fees; and
  • deficit recovery.

Limits of government assistance

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.

Canadian Heritage can fund up to 100% of eligible expenses.

Approved applications of $150,000 and under may be funded through a grant agreement.

Approved applications over $150,000 will be funded through a contribution agreement.

An applicant can submit only one application form per fiscal year which could be annual or multi-year, without limitation on the number of activities or projects submitted in the application. This should allow regional organization or tribal council serving multiple communities to reflect their overall funding request in their application form.

Application should not result in any form of duplication in regard of funding Indigenous languages activities and services delivery.

Application and assessment process

Canadian Heritage is responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant, its project and project-related expenses. The Indigenous Languages Component’s requests for funding always exceed Canadian Heritage’s available resources. Hence, applying for funding is a competition for limited funding. If the organization or group is eligible, submitting an application does not guarantee funding.

How to apply

Canadian Heritage encourages the applicant to read these application guidelines in their entirety before completing the application. The same project should only be submitted once, by a single applicant or a delivery organization.

Please contact us to receive an application package.

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

  • Supporting documents required in the Application Checklist (Annex A)
  • General Application Form (Annex B)
  • Organization Overview (Annex C)
  • Language plan (Appendix 1)
  • Proposal-Based Funding – single or multi-year (Appendix 2)
  • Survey of Interest: Ongoing Programmatic Funding (Appendix 3)
  • Declaration (Annex D)
  • Budget (Annex E)

Application process

Only application packages submitted electronically will be considered for assessment.

  1. Complete:
  • Annex B: the General Application Form
  • Annex C: the Organization Overview
  • Annex E: the budget template
  • Appendix 1, 2 or 3 pertaining to your application
  1. Sign the Declaration and Attestation (Annex D)
  2. Attach all the required supporting documents listed in Annex A

Submit the complete application package to the following email address: Please contact us for further information or if you need assistance to submit the application.

How applications are evaluated

Canadian Heritage funds activities that have clear objectives and measurable results, where applicable. The application will initially be assessed by Canadian Heritage to ensure the eligibility of the application, according to the eligibility section above.

Eligible applications for First Nations languages projects will then be evaluated, based on the evaluation criteria below through a First Nations Review Committee, which will prioritize them in relation to the funds available as well as regional priorities.

Failure to comply with any conditions of a previously provided funding will be considered in the evaluation of the applicant’s new application and could result in a rejection of the new application.

Should an applicant’s application be rejected, regionally designated organizations and First Nations Review Committee, through its secretariat, could provide feedback on the applications.

As part of the assessment process, unsuccessful applications will also be tracked including reasons for not being funded.

Upcoming: For continuous improvement, prior to the renewal of ongoing funding, an applicant may also be required to conduct an independent evaluation or assessment of their language plan in place and share the recommendation report with the Department.

Evaluation criteria

The application must:

  • demonstrates that its implementation would support the objectives of the Indigenous Languages Component;
  • describes the activities to be funded;
  • describes the expected results of the proposed activities;
  • includes a budget that clearly links to the proposed activities;
  • if applicable, discloses partners and the role that they will play in the activities;
  • The recipient commits to providing activity, evaluation, and financial reports and other related information, when requested by the Department; and
  • Funding priorities:
    • Community-based initiatives/activities
    • Development of language plan for accessing ongoing programmatic funding should additional funding become available;
    • Implementation of multi-year activities that strongly support the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance and strengthening of Indigenous languages (e.g., mentor-apprentice programs, immersion, language nests); and
    • Other regional priorities recommended by the Indigenous review processes.

Language plan criteria

The Language plan should have:

  • One or more longer-term goals to achieve community language revitalization and fluency;
  • Multi-year plan, spanning at least 3 years;
  • A set of concrete objectives that work towards obtaining the goal(s);
  • Comprehensive approach that incorporates multiple activities and strategies as appropriate;
  • Plans for activities that carry out the objectives on a seasonal or annual basis;
  • Proposed budgets to fund the activities; and
  • Demonstrated support from Indigenous communities or recognized Indigenous Regional Organizations by way of band council resolutions, regional resolution, letters or emails of support, among others.

The language plan could have a range of other elements including but not limited to:

  • Monitoring/evaluation plan.
  • Identification of roles and responsibilities.
  • Community assessment or environmental scan of existing state of language in the community(ies) and/or nation.
  • Community language charter or other provision in First Nation constitution or bylaws or language law.
  • Research on language learning methodologies.
  • Training plans for community languages educators.

Application deadline

  • The 2023-2024 call for applications is now open to all eligible applicants applying for funding to Canadian Heritage for annual and multi-year proposal-based stream and ongoing programmatic funding stream.
  • The application for this call will be open for 6 weeks starting March 27, 2023.
Deadline to submit your application
Fiscal Year Application Deadline to submit your application
2023-2024 May 8, 2023

Application processing time

Canadian Heritage will acknowledge receipt of the application package within two weeks of its reception.

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

Funding decisions

Canadian Heritage will target funding to specific activities based on the priorities outlined in the Evaluation criteria section.

Decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are final.

How funding is provided

Canadian Heritage will determine if funding will be disbursed as a grant, as a set contribution as a fixed contribution or as a flexible contribution.

A grant is a payment issued to a recipient for an activity. The conditions you agreed to at the time of application will apply. At the end of the activity, the applicant will 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 agreement is signed by the organization or group and by Canadian Heritage and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At the end of the activity, the applicant must submit a final report.

A fixed contribution funding is an option to Indigenous recipients where eligibility criteria are met. The funding level is predetermined annually to meet program requirements and achieve the planned results. When planned results are achieved for less than the amount provided, fixed contribution funding allows the recipient to retain the unexpended funds, subject that all the contribution agreement conditions are met and subject to approval from Canadian Heritage a plan on how the unexpended funding will be utilized.

A flexible contribution funding is an option to First Nations recipients where eligibility criteria are met. The funding level is predetermined in order to support work plan and recurring activities for more than 12 months. The Recipient may retain, during the term of this Agreement, an unexpended balance at the end of each fiscal year to spend towards eligible expenses incurred in subsequent fiscal years. Except for administration costs and travel expenditures, the Recipient may transfer funds from one eligible expenditure category to another without the Minister’s authorization.

Funding conditions

An applicant may be required to submit interim reports during the activity. If an applicant receives $250,000 or more as a contribution, an applicant is required to submit an audited financial report.

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

Managing conflict of interest

It is necessary to avoid actual conflicts of interest and any situation that might cause doubt in objectivity. For recipients receiving funds as a managing organization, a managing conflict of interest procedure needs to be developed and put in place to ensure accountability to First Nations within the respective region.

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

This includes having:

  • a publicly available conflict of interest policy
  • written standards, policies and procedures on the project selection process for funding
  • a publicly available list of successful proponents.

Individuals or organizations cannot participate in the evaluation of a proposal in the following situations:

  • the individual or organization has assisted in the preparation of the proposal, is an employee of the applicant, has provided consulting services, in any capacity, to the organization submitting the proposal, or may in the future
  • the individual or organization will be a team member on the proposed project
  • the individual or organization is a relative or close friend of any of the employees of the management team of the eligible recipient which submitted a proposal

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 individuals must recuse themselves from the deliberations concerning the specific proposal.

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.

Public health guidance

Canadian Heritage expects that applicants will act in compliance with applicable statutes, laws, bylaws, regulations, orders, codes, standards, directives and guidelines governing the activities for which funding is being sought, including those related to public health and safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other requirements

While supporting efforts to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages and to preserve and revitalize Indigenous cultures, Canadian Heritage is subjected to legislations, such as the Official Languages Act. If you receive funding, you agree to comply with the requirements that are set out in your funding agreement, when applicable.

Acknowledgement of financial assistance

If an applicant receives funding, an applicant 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 the funding agreement.

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

Access to information requests

Canadian Heritage is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information an applicant submits in their application may be disclosed in accordance with these Acts.

Disclosure of information

By submitting the funding application, the applicant authorizes Canadian Heritage to disclose any information submitted with this application within the Government of Canada or to outside entities such as the review committee for the following purposes:

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

Audits of recipients and evaluation of the Program

Canadian Heritage reserves the right to audit an applicant’s accounts and records to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of their funding agreement. Canadian Heritage also conducts periodic program evaluations, during which an applicant may be required to present documentation. An applicant must keep any records, documents, or other information that may be required to perform the audit or the evaluations for five years. Demonstrated failure to maintain such records may result in the repayment of amounts previously received.

Contact us

For further information, contact the Indigenous Languages Branch at Canadian Heritage by:


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


Although some terms and definitions do not appear in the application guidelines for the Indigenous Languages Component, applicants may come across these terms in associated documents that they may have to review as part of the application process.

Audited financial report
An audited financial report includes a statement of operations for the given period with regard to the activity 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 activity. At the beginning of your activity, 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 activity 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 activity.
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 activity being funded.
First Nations Organization
First Nations Organization” refers to an organization that is owned and controlled by First Nations persons, including a First Nations-owned corporation or a First Nations controlled non-profit organization, which directly delivers language revitalization services or that otherwise supports the delivery of language revitalization services.
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.
Good Standing Organization:
In order to be eligible, the applicant must be in good standing with the Department of Canadian Heritage, meaning that there are no compliance issues with past contribution agreements, including unjustified late reports (more than 12 months late) or issues for which there would be a recovery that is still not refunded yet.
Independent Evaluation or Assessment:

Periodical evaluations or assessment led by Indigenous communities and organizations to ensure that language plans outcomes and objectives are being met and with the purpose of supporting continuous improvement in the efforts of Indigenous communities and organization to revitalize Indigenous languages.

For the implementation of the recommendation, Canadian Heritage may request that the recipient of ongoing programmatic funding share any evaluation report that was developed by the organizations.

Indigenous communities
Indigenous communities are First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.
Interim reports
Interim reports are submitted during your activity 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.
Language Plan
A language revitalization plan is a wholistic document that incorporates community-wide language revitalization strategies that are supported by Indigenous communities or recognized Indigenous Regional Organizations. The plan covers multiple years and may considers all appropriate domains of language revitalization work, including the creation of new Indigenous fluent speakers. Hence, what constitutes a language plan will differ from community to community.
Multi-distinction languages projects
Projects including Indigenous language activities from more than one distinction are considered as Multi-distinctions. The distinctions are First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation.
Official-Language Minority Communities
The official-language minority communities are the Anglophone communities residing in Quebec and the Francophone communities residing outside of Quebec.
Ongoing programmatic funding
Ongoing programmatic funding represents a new stream that support the transition away from proposal-based funding. Ongoing programmatic (“core-like”) funding is more appropriate for the language revitalization than annual or multi-year proposal-based funding because the funding is ongoing, predictable, and does not have to be applied for. Ongoing/core funding is also flexible in the hands of the recipient for a variety of language revitalization purposes.
An individual working on behalf of others without receiving financial or material gain.
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