Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program


In the 2017 Budget, the Government of Canada announced $25 million over four years to support an Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program. This program will provide Indigenous Peoples with greater opportunity to exercise responsibility in stewardship of their traditional lands, waters, and ice.

The Pilot Program supports Indigenous rights and responsibilities in protecting and conserving ecosystems, developing and maintaining sustainable economies, and continuing the profound connections between Canadian landscape and Indigenous culture.

The Pilot Program will inform a long-term approach for a potential National Indigenous Guardians Network.

Map of funded initiatives

See the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program map for more information on the funded initiatives.

Individual approach for First Nations, Inuit and Métis

The Pilot Program is being implemented jointly with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis using an individual approach that respects and recognizes the unique perspectives, rights, responsibilities and needs of Indigenous Peoples.

Eligible organizations

Indigenous communities, Indigenous Nations, governments, and representative organizations are eligible for funding under the Pilot Program.  

Eligible activities

The kinds of initiatives eligible for funding under the Pilot Program include:

  • research
  • surveys
  • inventories and monitoring
  • collection and gathering of Indigenous traditional knowledge
  • conservation planning
  • outreach and education
  • best management land-use practice
  • capacity building
  • training
  • species management/restoration
  • species protection
  • species and habitat threat abatement
  • habitat improvement
  • habitat management for maintenance and improvement of ecosystem services

Application process

The proposal application processes have been co-developed with Indigenous groups.

Please note the call for proposals for new (Tier 1) First Nations Guardians’ Initiatives is open from August 31, 2020 to November 30, 2020. If you wish to apply for funding, and have not received the application package, please email

The multi-year funding envelop for Inuit, Métis and First Nations community-based initiatives (Tier 2) and networks (Tier 3) has already been fully allocated. There are no further rounds of funding planned for these Tiers at this time.

Early round of funding

With the aim of proceeding quickly with funding over the fall of 2018, the Pilot Program has provided funds to a number of guardian initiatives across the country. Proposals were sourced through individual groups’ expressions of interest, discussions with Indigenous groups and national Indigenous organizations, and relevant submissions received by other federal departments.

For more information

For more information, please contact the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program team by email at


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