Indigenous fund for community-based environmental monitoring

Program overview

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.

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 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. Project requirements are to be established by the community and based on their priorities. 

Communities are not limited to environmental monitoring of impacts of oil sands development, but can consider environmental monitoring more generally in the oil sands region, or as it relates to ongoing or proposed resource development in the oil sands region.

Available funding

A goal of the Indigenous Fund is to continue supporting community based monitoring in the oil sands region by allowing new communities an opportunity to access the Fund, while providing opportunity for continued funding to current recipients. Management of the Fund will be responsive and adaptive to changing conditions, and therefore may change from year-to-year.

The total amount of funding available under this program is up to $2 million annually. Owing to currently funded multi-year projects, there is $1,395,940 in funding available for new projects in 2024-2025. A project can run from one to three years. In general, projects are supported in the range of $150,000 per year. 

Communities that have received funding for three years must reapply to the Fund if they wish to be considered for further funding.  Recipients that have already received three years of funding may be eligible to receive up to $75,000 or a maximum of 50% of the initial agreement (year 1) for each of an additional two years, subject to annual approval.  

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).  This includes those First Nations, Métis Organizations and Métis Locals listed in the following table.
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 

Athabasca Landing Metis Community Association

Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement

East Prairie Métis Settlement

Elizabeth Métis Settlement

Fishing Lake Métis Settlement

Fort McKay Metis Nation

Gift Lake Métis Settlement

Kikino Métis Settlement

Lakeland Metis Community Association

Owl River Metis Community Association

Peavine Métis Settlement

Willow Lake Metis Nation

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

#1929 Valleyview

#193 Conklin

#1935 Fort McMurray

#1954 Big Bay / Touchwood Lake

#1990 Grande Prairie

#1994 Cadotte Lake

#207 Fairview

#2002 Buffalo Lake

#2012 Lloydminister

#2020 Fort McMurray

#2097 Lac la Biche

#55 Gunn

#78 Peace River

#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 actions for the protection, conservation and positive impacts 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 research and monitoring 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:

  • confirmation of community support for the project
  • title of the project/initiative
  • 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 and community support, via a letter of support, must be submitted by midnight Mountain Time on Thursday, February 29, 2024 to Inquiries can be directed to

All applicants will receive an acknowledgement of receipt of their proposals. An evaluation committee will review the proposals based on the program goals and requirements. All applicants will be notified as to the outcome of this evaluation. Successful applicants will be required to provide their input into the contribution agreement detailing the terms and conditions of funding.

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