Indigenous Capacity Support Program

National Programs Guidelines

(Updated June 2019)


These Guidelines are intended for information purposes only. They are not a substitute for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) or any of its regulations. In the event of any inconsistency between these Guidelines and CEAA 2012 or its regulations, the CEAA 2012 or regulations would prevail.

To ensure that you have the most up-to-date versions of CEAA 2012 and its regulations, please consult the Department of Justice website.


© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, (2016).

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 the prior written permission by contacting the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency or

Catalogue No.: En106-60/2013E-PDF

ISBN: 978-1-100-21675-1 -tbc

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 where 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 reasons of sound policy development and decision-making. The Agency is well-positioned to foster linkages between the environmental assessment and impact assessment process and the Indigenous consultation processes to enhance overall process efficiencies and contribute to informed federal decision making.

The Government is committed to a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples that is based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. Therefore, the Government wants to ensure that Indigenous peoples have the opportunity and the capacity to meaningfully participate in environmental assessment and impact assessment-related activities, that the activities address the issues that they consider most important and that these issues are appropriately integrated into Government decision-making. Engagement of Indigenous Peoples will be increased prior to consultations on individual projects and on-going relationships will be developed and maintained to support that goal.

To better support engagement in the development of policy, the Agency’s environmental assessment Funding Framework is intended to help build constructive dialogue with Canadians, civil society, and stakeholders, and to help provide greater opportunities for Canadians to express their views and for experts to provide evidence and advice.

The Indigenous Capacity Support Program (ICSP) is one of four components of the Agency Funding Framework. Under this Program, funding is available to assist in supporting community understanding of environmental assessment and impact assessment (EA/IA) processes and related issues in order to meaningfully participate in EA/IAs and in EA/IA related engagement. This work would be aligned with the work of other federal departments with similar capacity building programs . In those cases, consultations with CIRNAC 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 Agency receives a fixed annual budget for the Funding Programs (FP) and administers it to provide limited financial assistance to eligible applicants in a fair and transparent manner. The Agency is not able to cover all expenses incurred and participants are encouraged to investigate other sources of funding or in-kind support.


This component supports the building and enhancing of the preparedness, knowledge and understanding of EA/IA and EA/IA-related matters by Indigenous peoples in order to better support their participation in project EAs, regional studies and strategic assessments, and monitoring and follow-up programs.

The objective of the Indigenous Capacity Support Program is to provide financial support outside of project-specific funding to support the development of internal capacity in Indigenous communities and Indigenous umbrella organizations (such as tribal councils or treaty organizations) related to participation in environmental assessments and impact assessment, regional/strategic assessments and environmental assessment or impact assessment monitoring and follow-up programs. This can be achieved, for example, through relationship building, networking, customized training in community engagement and land use documentation and planning, partnering, regional support to local groups as required, train-the-trainer type programs, and work exchanges. Over time, improved internal Indigenous capacity can play an important role in delivering high-quality environmental assessments and impact assessments by the Agency. This Program is complementary to the other Programs of the Funding Framework.

The planned results are an increased awareness and understanding of federal EA/IA processes and the federal legislative framework in Indigenous communities, and increased community capacity to meaningfully participate in assessments.

Program Process

Typical Timelines

Process Phases

Typical length(business days)


Standard application period



Agency reviews submitted application



Prepare and conduct Funding Review Committee and obtain client’s revisions/additional documents, if required


May vary depending on client’s response time

Allocation Decision process



Master Contribution Agreement and/or Schedule signed by the Agency after received from client



FP processes complete payment request from client (once complete expense claim is received)



Funding Availability

The Agency will announce when funding is available by posting a Notice on the Agency website.

The Agency may pre-establish maximum funding levels and criteria for annual funding.

Eligible activities that the Agency might fund:

Notification of Availability of Funding

To notify that funding is available, the Agency places a public notices on the Agency’s Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry, or on the Agency website.


Eligible Recipients

Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous aggregates, and Indigenous organizations may apply for funding.

Ineligible Recipients

Individuals, municipal, provincial and federal governments (except Indigenous) and government entities created by statute (except Indigenous).


Eligible Costs

The following expenses are eligible for funding under the ICSP:

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 FP 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 taking 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 FP 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 staking limit is not exceeded. A paragraph regarding the stacking limit forms part of the FP’s Master Contribution Agreement with a recipient.

Proposal Submission

Applicants must submit a funding proposal to the Agency by the applicable deadline to be considered for funding.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is generally 45 calendar days from the notification of funding availability, and is clearly identified in the Public Notices and News Releases.

Only completed proposals received by the deadline will be considered.

Applicants must submit funding proposals to the Agency by one of the following ways:

Proposal Assessment

Applicants will be required to submit sufficient information to determine that they are eligible recipients, as well as any information required to assess the proposal, and/or the initiative against the program objectives. This includes:

  1. establish that the applicant is an eligible recipient;
  2. a detailed description of the proposed initiative and description of activities to be undertaken;
  3. relevant documentation related to any partnership arrangements and commitments;
  4. timelines for completion of the initiative;
  5. a cost forecast of the initiative as well as details of financing, including all sources of funding for the initiative;
  6. anticipated benefits of the initiative, including expected outcomes and proposed performance measures (such as purpose of the activity, number of participants, impact to greater group); and
  7. in some cases, additional information may be required, such as a strategic or business plan.

A Funding Review Committee reviews all applications received to determine whether the proposed activities align with the Program objectives and determines if the associated expenses reflect the effort and resources required to support those activities. Based on that analysis, the Funding Review Committee recommends whether funding should be approved, and if so, recommends an appropriate amount for each applicant to the President of the Agency or his delegate, who makes the final decision on each funding request.

Assessment criteria may include:


The President of the Agency, or his delegate, makes the final decision on the funding allocations based on the Funding Review Committee’s report and recommendations, and any additional considerations identified by the Agency.

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

The Agency notifies applicants of the President’s 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 internet site as part of its efforts of transparency.

Master Contribution Agreement and Schedules

When the Agency approved 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 ten (10) year period.

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:

Due to the estimated nature of funding requests, an adjustment of up to 20 percent within expense categories may be allowed. The recipient must submit a written request (email is sufficient) with justification to modify the original eligible expenditures 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, at the Government of Canada internet site.

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 by one of the following ways:


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 the achievement of pre-determined performance expectations or milestones and/or documented claims for reasonable eligible costs incurred, that the recipient needs to submit not more frequently than quarterly.

Notwithstanding that payments will be made on the basis of performance, in exceptional circumstances, advance payments may be provided to recipients where they can demonstrate a cash flow requirement for funding to be provided 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 and shall be substantiated by such documents as are satisfactory to the responsible Manager.

The responsible Funding Manager may hold back a portion of any payment under a contribution funding arrangement when deemed appropriate 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 an acceptance of a final report(s) and financial statement(s).

Contact Information

Visit the Agency’s website for further information on the FP.

You can also write to:

Funding Programs
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3

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