Indigenous Capacity Support Program

National Program Guidelines

March 9, 2021


These guidelines are intended for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for the Impact Assessment Act (the IAA) or any of its regulations. In the event of any inconsistency between these guidelines and the IAA or its regulations, the IAA or regulations would prevail.

To ensure that you have the most up-to-date versions of the IAA and its regulations, please consult the Department of Justice website.


This document may be reviewed and updated periodically. To ensure that you have the most up-to-date version, please consult the Funding Programs page of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada's website.


© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, (2021.

This publication may be reproduced for personal or internal use without permission, provided the source is fully acknowledged. However, multiple copy reproduction of this publication, in whole or in part, for purposes of distribution requires prior written permission. To obtain written permission, contact the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada at

Catalogue No.: En106-231/2020E-PDF

This document has been issued in French under the title:

Programme de soutien aux capacités des autochtones—Lignes directrices nationales du Programme

Table of Contents


The Government of Canada has a legal duty to consult with Indigenous peoples when it contemplates conduct that might adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. In addition to the common law duty to consult, the Government of Canada consults with Indigenous peoples for statutory reasons and for sound policy development and decision-making. The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) is well-positioned to foster linkages between the impact assessment process and Indigenous consultation processes to enhance overall process efficiencies and contribute to informed federal decision-making.

The Government of Canada wants to ensure that:

The Indigenous Capacity Support Program (the Program) is one of four components of the Agency's Funding Framework. Under this Program, short-term funding is available to support community understanding of environmental assessment (EA) and impact assessment (IA) processes and related issues. The aim is to help communities meaningfully participate in EAs/IAs and in related EA/IA engagement. This work would be aligned with the work of other federal departments with similar capacity building programs. In those cases, consultations would take place before approving any funding to ensure there is no duplication of work, and to maximize the benefits of funding with similar recipients and outcomes.


The overall objective of the Program is to support the development of local and regional capacity in order to promote meaningful participation and leadership of Indigenous peoples in project EAs/IAs, regional and strategic assessments, and EA/IA monitoring and follow-up activities. To support this objective, financial assistance is provided outside the context of specific project assessments, including regional assessments or strategic studies, to Indigenous communities or organizations with high-quality proposals to carry out capacity-building activities.

The anticipated outcomes of the Program include:


Eligible recipients include Indigenous communities and Indigenous organizations.

Eligible activities include:

The Agency may establish priorities for funding. If so, it will outline the priorities in the announcement on funding availability.

Application Process

Stream 1 – Program Partners

Under this stream, capacity support programming will be delivered through the establishment of partnerships with Indigenous bodies to provide support to a number of members or communities in a region where project activity is anticipated.

Funding under this stream would support the activities of Program Partners to increase capacity for members or communities served.


1. Submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI): The applicant must first provide the Agency with an EOI that demonstrates how their proposed initiative(s) meets the objectives and criteria of the Program. It must contain information to determine eligibility as well as any information required to assess the applicant and/or the initiative(s) against the Program assessment criteria. Multi-year initiatives will be considered.

EOI's must contain, at a minimum:

The EOI must also address the criteria listed on the Program webpage.

There is no template for an EOI, however these should be submitted in Word or PDF format.

Applicants can submit their EOI to the Agency in one of the following ways:

Mail to:

Indigenous Policy Division
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact prior to submitting a proposal.

EOIs that clearly meet the criteria and priorities outlined in the announcement will be assessed. Representatives from the Agency will work with the applicant to develop a detailed proposal, which may include:

Stream 2 – Community of Practice Events

The Program may support community of practice conferences at the national or regional level. The conference would be a venue where expertise and best practices can be shared, and can be used to identify capacity priorities going forward.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact prior to submitting a proposal. There is no specific form for applicants to fill out, but any proposal must include:

Stream 3 – Strategic Opportunities

This stream will provide support to strategically respond to Indigenous capacity needs in areas where resource development is anticipated and where program partnerships cannot be established or do not address the unique needs of communities. Funding under this stream may also provide an injection of funds to communities that have been identified as having low capacity and that have special projects brought forward by Program Partners, outside of the expression of interest process.

Stream 3 is a targeted stream; it is not an open application process. The Agency will engage its regional staff and other organizational units as necessary to identify potential candidates for this stream.

Assessment Process

Stream 1 – Program Partners

The following steps are used to assess applicants for Program Partner funding:

Stream 2 – Community of Practice Events

Representatives from the Indigenous Policy Division will ensure the applicant is eligible and the proposed event aligns with the priorities and objectives of the Program. A review committee will then assess eligible applications on a first come, first served basis, subject to the availability of funds. The review committee will then make a recommendation as to whether funding should be allocated to the identified applicant, and if so, the committee will recommend an appropriate amount to the President or a Vice-President of the Agency or delegate, who will make the final determination on funding allocation.

Stream 3 – Strategic Opportunities

As a targeted stream, Agency representatives will seek proposals from Indigenous groups directly, providing guidance to minimize applicants' time burden. Representatives from the Indigenous Policy Division will ensure the applicant is eligible and the proposed activities align with the objectives of the Program. The President or a Vice-President of the Agency will then assess eligible applications on a priority basis, subject to the availability of funds, and will make the final determination on funding allocation.

Assessment Criteria

In determining the amount of funding available for capacity-building activities, the following factors will be considered:

In addition, the Agency will apply any priority criteria that may be included on the Program webpage.


Eligible Costs

The following expenses are eligible for funding under all streams of the Program:

To qualify for reimbursement, all costs must be attributed to these expense categories and must directly contribute to activities described in the approved work plan as outlined in the Schedule to the Master Contribution Agreement.

Ineligible Costs

Ineligible expenses include capital expenditures, costs for construction, lost income and renovation of buildings.

The Funding Programs will not fund activities that duplicate services, studies or written materials that other public or private sources are already funding.

The Agency may approve different funding levels on a case-by-case basis and will take into consideration the budget available, the complexity of the activities proposed, as well as how many Indigenous groups and peoples would benefit from the activities.

The Agency's Funding Programs have a "stacking limit," that is, a maximum permitted amount of combined funding from federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments for participation in any one project, engagement activities or associated Crown consultation activities. Combined funding from governments to a recipient for participation in a project, engagement activities or Crown consultation activities cannot exceed 100% of eligible costs. The Agency uses the information provided by a recipient in the application and in the Detailed Financial Reports to verify that a recipient's funding request and Detailed Financial Report conforms to this stacking limit. If the stacking limit is exceeded, the Agency will adjust its level of contribution, and if necessary, seek reimbursement so that the stacking limit is not exceeded. A paragraph regarding the stacking limit forms part of the Funding Program's Master Contribution Agreement with a recipient.

Funding Decision

The President or a Vice-President of the Agency, or their delegate, makes the final decision on the funding allocations. The decision is based on the review of the committee's report and recommendations, as well as any additional considerations identified by the Agency and outlined in the announcement of funding availability.

Some applicants may not receive funding and others may be approved for less than the amount they requested.

The Agency notifies applicants of the funding decision. The successful applicants' names and approved funding allocation amounts are made public on the Agency's Media Room and on the Government of Canada website as part of its transparency efforts.

Master Contribution Agreement and Schedules

When the Agency approves funding, the Agency will contact the applicant to finalize a Master Contribution Agreement and a Schedule. A Master Contribution Agreement is a detailed contract between the Agency and a recipient and which identifies the conditions and obligations for all signatories for any project or engagement initiative by the Agency. The Master Contribution Agreement is designed to be in effect for a period of ten (10) years.

Schedules to the Master Contribution Agreement reflect the work plan and budget breakdown for the specific project approved for funding.

Expenses incurred can only be reimbursed after both the recipient and the Agency sign a Schedule to a Master Contribution.

The Schedule to the Master Contribution Agreement:

Because funding requests are based on estimations, an adjustment of up to 20 percent of funds (within expense categories) may be allowed. The recipient must submit a written request (email is sufficient) with a justification explaining why the recipient needs to modify the original eligible expenditures that were approved as part of the Schedule to the Master Contribution Agreement. The Agency must approve the request, and the total amount claimed must remain within the level of funding originally approved.

The Agency reserves the right to undertake, or have undertaken, a financial audit of the accounts and resources of the recipient to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Master Contribution Agreement and associated Schedule(s).

Direct Deposit

The Government of Canada has switched from cheques to direct deposit, an electronic transfer of funds deposited directly into the recipient's bank account. For more information on direct deposit, visit your bank or financial institution, or call toll-free at 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232). You can also find more information, including a short informative video,on the Government of Canada website.

If you currently have a bank account or qualify to open a bank account, you are encouraged to enroll by completing the Recipient Registration and Electronic Payment Request Form and returning it to the Agency in one of the following ways:

Mail to:

Indigenous Policy Division
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3


The Schedule to the Contribution Agreement includes conditions of payment. A Detailed Financial Report form can be downloaded from the Agency's website.


The Agency will approve payments based on:

Beyond payments that will be made on the basis of performance, there may be exceptional circumstances when advanced payments may be provided to recipients. For this, recipients must demonstrate a cash-flow requirement for funding, and this needs to be provided to the Funding Programs prior to incurring eligible expenditures. Where a payment is based on a claim for eligible costs incurred, each claim is to be accompanied by a brief report of the work completed and details of all eligible costs being claimed. The claims must also be substantiated by documents that are considered satisfactory by the responsible Manager.

The responsible Funding Manager may hold back a portion of any payment under a contribution funding arrangement when deemed appropriate. This is based on the risk of non-performance or overpayment.


The Agency will process the final payment only after the responsible Funding Manager is satisfied that the recipient has met all the requirements of the contribution agreement, and on receipt of acceptance of a final report(s) and financial statement(s).

Contact Information

Visit the Agency’s website for contact information.

You can also write to:

Indigenous Policy Division
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3

These National Programs Guidelines can be downloaded from the Agency’s website.

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