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Applicant Guide Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships (INRP)

Status : Due to high demand, the Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships (INRP) Program will no longer be accepting applications starting May 22, 2023. Applications will re-open at a future date.

If you have applied to the INRP prior to May 22, 2023, a member of the INRP team will contact you to discuss your application and timelines for assessment.

Please continue to visit the INRP webpage for further updates.

1. Overview

The Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships (INRP) Program is a renewed and expanded 5-year initiative, starting in 2022-2023, to increase the participation of Indigenous communities and organizations in natural resource economies across Canada. Priority will be given to projects that support community capacity to transition to and participate in projects that contribute to Canada’s net-zero objectives and shift to clean energy (including critical minerals development).

INRP has $80 million in Contributions funding for projects that:

  • increase the capacity of Indigenous communities to engage in, benefit from, actively participate in and/or capitalize on economic development opportunities in the natural resource sectors; and/or
  • increase the investment and/or collaboration between Indigenous peoples and other natural resource development stakeholders, including governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations.

All projects must be completed by March 31, 2027.

2. Eligibility

Please review this section of the program guide to ensure that you are an eligible recipient, proposing an eligible project consisting of eligible costs.

Eligible Recipients

Recipients that are eligible for INRP funding include:

  • Indigenous communities or governments (including Indian Act bands, self-governing First Nations, Métis Community Organizations, modern treaty implementation organizations including economic development corporations constituted under a modern treaty, etc.);
  • Tribal Councils or entities that fulfill a similar function (e.g., general council);
  • Regional and national Indigenous organizations;
  • Indigenous not-for-profit (50% or greater control by Indigenous peoples) and for-profit (50% or greater control by an Indigenous community / communities) corporations, businesses, joint ventures, partnerships, associations, co-operatives and institutions; and
  • Academic institutions and research associations working with an Indigenous partner organization.

NOTE: INRP is not funding businesses controlled by individual entrepreneurs.

Eligible Activities

Examples of activities that INRP could fund include:

  • Studies, plans, evaluations, assessments or related activities to identify or develop economic or business opportunities;
  • Strategic, business, human resources, marketing and financial planning or community economic development planning;
  • Identification of opportunities, application and development of agreements or licenses ;
  • Development or expansion of Indigenous joint ventures, partnerships or businesses;
  • Capacity development and training;
  • Development of tools, technology, products, services and systems;
  • Engineering design, environmental planning and permitting or other project design activities; and
  • Site development, facility construction and commissioning, and business start-up and expansion operations.

Projects that are subject to a federal, provincial or other environmental assessment will not be funded due to the limited timeframe of the program.

Eligible Costs

Eligible project costs may include:

  • Professional, technical, and legal services;
  • Salaries, wages and benefits, excluding post-employment benefits such as severance;
  • Training and skills development;
  • Facility/transportation/ equipment rentals;
  • Communication materials;
  • Planning and design costs;
  • Capital costs, including equipment and machinery;
  • Travel, including accommodation, meals, and allowances (based on approved rates such as the National Joint Council rates or similar);
  • Honoraria, ceremonial costs, and hospitality costs for community engagement events and project meetings;
  • GST/PST/HST net of any tax rebate to which a Recipient is entitled; and
  • Overhead costs directly related to the project, not to exceed 15% of total contribution.

Ineligible Costs

Costs that are not eligible include (but are not limited to):

  • Costs and expenses incurred prior to the date of application; and
  • Costs related to lobbying.

3. Assessment Criteria

Proposals are not ranked and scored against each other, but rather are assessed individually based on the program criteria and objectives. NRCan will assess the merits and risks of proposed projects and make funding decisions. Projects will be evaluated based on the information that you provide in your application, and the criteria outlined below. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to email prior to drafting and submitting a proposal to discuss alignment with the program objectives and criteria and confirm funding availability.

Eligible project proposals will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Alignment with program objectives to increase Indigenous participation in economic opportunities related to natural resources;
  • Outcomes and benefits;
  • Feasibility (organizational capacity, relevant experience, timelines);
  • Financial viability (financial capacity, value for contribution, reasonable costs);
  • Risk (complexity, timelines, risk management strategies);
  • Demonstration of need for proposed activities and deliverables;
  • Level of participation and support from Indigenous communities and/or organizations; and
  • Availability of funding.

Priority will be given to projects that:

  • Result in benefits to multiple Indigenous communities; and/or
  • Support community capacity to transition to and participate in projects that contribute to Canada’s net-zero objectives and shift to clean energy (including critical minerals development).

Priority may be given to projects that:

  • Support diversity of INRP projects across provinces and territories;
  • Support diversity of INRP projects across Metis, Inuit, and First Nations communities and organisations;
  • Support increased participation of underrepresented groups, including Indigenous women;
  • Demonstrate the ability to proceed on a timely basis;
  • Include at least one private, government or non-governmental partner organization (providing cash funding or in-kind support);
  • Include additional partner organizations (more than one partner);
  • Include a greater proportion of funding (financial or in-kind contributions) derived from non-federal partners; and/or
  • Evidence how the project stimulates economic development and benefits Indigenous communities or peoples in both the short term, and in the long term.

Specific to proposals that relate to critical minerals, priority may be given to projects that:

  • align with at least one of the pillars and key outcomes of the Critical Minerals Strategy; and
  • allows for a diversification of employment and economic opportunities for indigenous communities in the critical minerals value chain.

Please see Annex A for additional information related to Critical Minerals proposals.

NOTE: External assessors (federal, provincial and municipal government departments/agencies, non-profit, economic development or other organizations) may review the project proposal and/or supporting documentation.

4. Instructions

To apply to the INRP: Please submit your application form via email to If you need to submit in a different format, please contact us. If you have any questions about the program or application form, please contact the email address above. NRCan strongly recommends that prospective applicants reach out to the above email address prior to completing and submitting a proposal to discuss alignment with program objectives and criteria and funding availability.  

5. Payment & Reporting Information

Basis & Timing of Payment

Payments will be made based on pre-determined performance expectations or milestones and/or documented claims for reasonable eligible costs incurred, to be submitted by the Recipient.

Where it is deemed by Canada to be advantageous to the success of the project, payments may be made as advance payments, or as a combination of advance payments and progress payments. Advance payments are made when a Recipient requires the funding upfront to implement the project. The Recipient must submit claims of actual expenditures at an agreed upon frequency to account for the advance of funds. Progress payments are made when a Recipient has access to the funds necessary to implement the project and will claim reimbursement from Canada after the expenditures have been made.

A holdback of a portion of any advance or progress payment and/or of the final payment under a contribution agreement will be retained when deemed appropriate.

The final payment, including the release of a holdback, will be made only once the Recipient has met all the requirements of the funding arrangement to the satisfaction of the Department, and on receipt and acceptance of all required reports as outlined in the Contribution Agreement.

Retroactive Payments

Recipients will have the opportunity to request to incur a percentage of eligible expenditures from the date the project proposal was approved, at their own risk, based on a needs assessment completed by program staff. Retroactive, eligible expenditures will only be reimbursed upon the formal signing of a contribution agreement, and will require supporting documents.

Monitoring & Reporting Mechanisms

The Recipient may be requested to submit data, schedules, quotes, invoices, plans and reports in sufficient detail to enable the Department to:

  • assess the progress of the project;
  • carry out the post-completion monitoring called for in the funding arrangement; and
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the contributions.

Regular communication between the Department and the Recipient will continue throughout the duration of the project to monitor progress. The Recipient is required to maintain information related to the project for three years after the expiration of a contribution agreement.

6. Definitions

“Indigenous” is understood to include Inuit, Métis, First Nation, Status Indian and non-Status Indian individuals or any combination thereof.

“Partner" is someone, other than the applicant, who has agreed to contribute financially or in-kind to the project.

"Project" refers to the applicant’s Application, as submitted to NRCan.

“Recipient” refers to a successful applicant that has entered into a contribution agreement with NRCan.

“Total Project Costs” means the Contribution and other verifiable contributions either received or contributed by the Recipient from the start date to the completion date and directly attributable to the Project.

Annex A: Considerations for Critical Minerals focused Projects

The following section includes additional information relevant for project applications that pertain to critical minerals. Please take this into consideration as you draft your proposal and clearly identify which pillar(s) your project seeks to address as well as the associated outcome(s) specific to the Critical Minerals Strategy.

What constitutes a critical minerals project?

To be deemed a “critical mineral” in Canada, it must be:

  • Essential to Canada’s economic security and its supply is threatened; or,
  • Required for Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy; or
  • A sustainable source for our partners and allies.

See Annex B for a list of critical minerals.

Pillars of the Critical Minerals Strategy:

For proposals related to critical minerals, preference may be given to proposals that address at least one of the following pillars of the Critical Minerals Strategy:

  1. Driving research, innovation and exploration
    Advance geoscience capabilities, including geological mapping, geophysical surveying, and scientific assessments and data.
  2. Accelerating project development
    Accelerate the development of strategic projects in critical mineral mining, processing, manufacturing, and recycling.
  3. Building sustainable infrastructure
    Help address gaps in enabling infrastructure to unlock priority mineral deposits, while considering potential multi-user benefits and Canada’s goals related to environmental protection, climate adaptation, and Indigenous reconciliation.
  4. Advancing Indigenous reconciliation
    Advance economic reconciliation by advocating for and supporting the meaningful participation of Indigenous peoples and businesses in critical mineral projects, including regulatory processes and value chains.
  5. Growing a diverse workforce and prosperous communities
    Promote diversity and inclusion as a driving force in the recruitment and retention of a talented workforce, capable of providing the technical and leadership skills necessary to support critical mineral development in Canada.
  6. Strengthening global leadership and security
    Support strategic consideration of broader geopolitical and industrial priorities for Canada’s international engagements to advance secure critical minerals supply chains, including the consideration of any potential gaps and regional priorities.

Key outcomes of the Critical Minerals Discussion Paper?

For proposals related to critical minerals, preference may be given to proposals that address at least one of the following key outcomes of the Critical Minerals Strategy:

  1. 1. Support economic growth and competitiveness, measured by:
    • Jobs: Sustained and increased jobs in the critical minerals exploration, mining, processing, manufacturing, and recycling sectors
    • Trade: Increased exports of processed materials and value-added goods
    • Value: Developing, expanding, and consolidating Canadian value chains for critical minerals
    • Growth: Anticipated increase in value-added and GDP growth (e.g., global market share), as well as regional economic development, including in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities
  2. 2. Promote climate action and environmental protection, measured by:
    • Footprints: nature and biodiversity, such as through limiting the environmental footprint of mines and supporting environmental stewardship
    • GHGs: Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the deployment of clean technologies and low-emission sources of energy and fuel in the mining process, in line with Canada’s Emissions Reduction Plan
    • Diverted Waste: Reduction of waste from critical minerals production (e.g., reducing mine tailings, recycling wastewater) and associated products (e.g., through enhanced recycling capabilities)
  3. 3. Enhance global security and partnerships with allies, measured by:
    • Cooperation agreements: Protecting critical supply chains among trading partners and like-minded nations, using bilateral agreements and multilateral forums
    • Investment: Protecting Canadian assets while encouraging foreign direct investment
    • Best practices: Working with international partners to strengthen best practices in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), protection of human rights, and Indigenous rights
  4. 4. Advance Indigenous reconciliation, demonstrated by:
    • Economic reconciliation: Economic participation in jobs, businesses, and equity, such as advancing priorities related to the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework and the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action
    • Rights: Protecting Indigenous rights and implementing UNDRIP
    • Engagement: Meaningful and early engagement of Indigenous governments and organizations from project conception to development and oversight
  5. 5. Foster diverse and inclusive workforces and communities, measured by:
    • Diversity and inclusion in the workforce: particularly women, youth, LGBTQ+, Indigenous peoples, recent immigrants, Black and racialized communities, and persons with disabilities
    • Advancement of human rights abroad through Responsible Business Conduct Abroad: Canada’s Strategy for the Future
    • Leveraging existing government initiatives, such as the Youth Employment Strategy, the Centre on Diversity and Inclusion, and the Rural Economic Development Strategy

Annex B: Canada’s List of Critical Minerals

 The Government of Canada has developed the following list of 31 minerals considered critical for the sustainable economic success of Canada and our allies and to position Canada as the leading mining nation:

  • Aluminum
  • Antimony
  • Bismuth
  • Cesium
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Fluorspar
  • Gallium
  • Germanium
  • Graphite
  • Helium
  • Indium
  • Lithium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Nickel
  • Niobium
  • Platinum group metals
  • Potash
  • Rare earth elements
  • Scandium
  • Tantalum
  • Tellurium
  • Tin
  • Titanium
  • Tungsten
  • Uranium
  • Vanadium
  • Zinc

For further information, please visit: Canada’s hub for critical minerals

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