Indigenous fund for community-based environmental monitoring

In December 2017, the governments of Canada and Alberta renewed their commitment to provide clear and scientifically-rigorous information about the environmental impacts of oil sands development in northeastern Alberta. This commitment also called for greater collaboration with representatives from local Indigenous communities to encourage Indigenous involvement in monitoring priorities and decisions.

Program overview

The Government of Canada has committed up to $2 million annually to develop capacity for community-based environmental monitoring in the oil sands region that is designed and led by Indigenous communities.  This new funding opportunity will build capacity and provide an opportunity for community leadership in environmental monitoring design and implementation.  

Environmental monitoring involves the systematic collection of samples and specimens from the air, water and land to determine the extent of impacts on the natural ecosystems and habitats.  Requirements are to be established by the community and based on their priorities. They can consider the impact of oil sands development in relation to ongoing or proposed resource development in the oil sands region.

Available funding  

The total amount of funding available under this program is $1,850,000 for 2018 to 2019 fiscal year.  A project can run from one to three years and it is expected that funding will be in the range of $150,000 per year.  However, consideration will be given to projects whose costs are higher or lower than this amount.  

Eligible applicants

Indigenous communities are eligible to receive funding through the program if:

  • they are located within the oil sands monitoring (OSM) program boundaries (defined by provincial oil sands deposits layer) or
  • they have a designated interest in the OSM area (defined by the 160-km interim buffer under the Alberta Environment and Parks’ Métis Harvesting Policy 2010).
See list of eligible communities
First Nations

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Beaver Lake Cree Nation

Bigstone Cree Nation

Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation

Cold Lake First Nation

Dene Tha' First Nation

Driftpile Cree Nation

Duncan's First Nation

Fort McKay First Nation

Fort McMurray First Nation

Frog Lake First Nation

Heart Lake First Nation

Horse Lake First Nation

Kapawe'no First Nation

Kehewin Cree Nation

Little Red River Cree Nation

Loon River First Nation

Lubicon First Nation

Mikisew Cree First Nation

Onion Lake Cree Nation

Peerless Trout First Nation

Saddle Lake Cree Nation

Sawridge First Nation

Sucker Creek First Nation

Swan River First Nation

Tallcree First Nation

Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation

Whitefish Lake (Atikameg) First Nation

Woodland Cree First Nation

Métis Organizations

Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement

East Prairie Métis Settlement

Elizabeth Métis Settlement

Fishing Lake Métis Settlement

Gift Lake Métis Settlement

Kikino Métis Settlement

Peavine Métis Settlement

MNA Region 1

MNA Region 2

MNA Region 5

MNA Region 6

Métis Nation of Alberta Locals

#100 Bonnyville

#116 West Parkland

#125 Fort Chipewyan

#1886 & #2085 Edmonton

#1909 Lakeland

#1929 Valleyview

#193 Conklin

#1935 Fort McMurray

#1949 Owl River

#1990 Grande Prairie

#207 Fairview

#2002 Buffalo Lake

#2010 Athabasca Landing

#2012 Lloydminister

#2020 Fort McMurray

#2097 Lac la Biche

#55 Gunn

#78 Peace River

#780 Willow Lake (Anzac)

#83 Fort McKay

#90 Wabasca

Indigenous communities can work with external partners as long as their roles and responsibilities are clearly detailed in the project proposal. Examples of external partners include:

  • other Indigenous communities
  • federal, provincial or regional governments
  • non-governmental organizations
  • academic institutions
  • consultants.

Eligible projects

The following key components must be considered in a proposed project as they relate to environmental monitoring:

  • Is the project community-driven or supported initiative?
  • Does it encourage positive actions for the protection and conservation of the environment?
  • Does it include relevant knowledge such as Indigenous Knowledge and science?
  • Does it include opportunities for training and/or youth engagement?
  • Does it include a data management plan to collect, manage, store and share data resulting from the project?

An example of a project that could be eligible under this program would be one which:

  • increases capacity for effectively engaging in environmental management, assessing results and progress, undertaking activities related to networking, sharing of information and outreach
  • produces scientific research and monitoring data related to ecosystem status, assessment and reporting, and research into the development of new technologies relating to those issues
  • relates to increasing awareness, training, outreach or behavioural change on a specific environmental issue
  • establishes, coordinates and updates local or regional action plans and strategies, or
  • restores areas of concern or of special interest.

Funding applications

The project proposal must include the following key components:

  • title of the project/initiative
  • letter of community support for the project
  • description of responsible community, organization or individual including contact name, expertise and role in the project
  • description of all partners involved in the project including their expertise, and role in the project
  • location and duration
  • general overview of the project including objectives and rationale, and alignment with the program
  • proposed work plan including scope, implementation and management of the project budget
  • expected results and how achievement of these results might be measured
  • project costs including a statement of the funds required from this program and any other cash and in-kind contributions secured for the full duration of the project.

Submission deadline

Project proposals must be submitted by midnight Eastern Time on Thursday, 10 May 2018 to

All applicants will receive an acknowledgement of receipt of their proposal and will be notified of the decision by the evaluation committee.  Successful applicants will be required to provide their input into the contribution agreement detailing the terms and conditions of funding.

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