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Indigenous Forestry Initiative

Funding opportunity – closed

The Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI) is not accepting applications for funding at this time.

The Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI) provides financial support to Indigenous-led economic development projects in Canada’s forest sector. Benefits of the program include:

  • increased Indigenous participation in forestry-related opportunities, businesses, careers and governance
  • increased engagement and economic development for Indigenous communities and peoples involved in the forest sector
  • increased investment and collaboration between Indigenous peoples and other natural resource development stakeholders, including governments, industry and non-governmental organizations

How to apply for funding

Step 1: Read our applicant guide to understand the IFI's purpose and eligibility conditions

  • email us to receive an applicant guide with step–by-step instructions about how to apply online
    • in the subject line include:
      • “Applicant Guide”
    • in the body of the email include:
      • your first and last name
      • your telephone number
      • your email address

Step 2: Contact a regional liaison officer

  • talk with us about your ideas and to determine if your project matches our eligibility criteria, funding limitations and/or get tips for writing your application

Step 3: Create your online profile and complete your application

  • register for GCKey and create a client profile (this is a one-time step)
  • complete the online application form


  • The IFI Secretariat will:
    • contact you after receiving your submission
    • review your application for eligibility and completeness
  • an Expert Review Panel, which is made up of subject-matter experts in the fields of Indigenous economic development, forestry and finance will:
    • evaluate eligible applications based on the criteria in the applicant guide
    • provide recommendations based on the strengths and risks of each project
  • The IFI Secretariat will then:
    • further assess the applications
    • create a short-list based on the recommendations of the Expert Review Panel
    • notify all applicants of funding decisions
    • provide an opportunity to discuss evaluation results for projects not selected

Who is eligible for funding?

  • Indigenous communities and governments such as:
    • band and tribal councils
    • governments of self-governing First Nations
    • local governments of Inuit communities
    • Métis organizations
    • economic development corporations
    • national and regional Indigenous organizations
  • Indigenous (50% or greater ownership by Indigenous people) for-profit and not-for-profit corporations, businesses, joint ventures, partnerships, associations, co-operatives and institutions
  • non-Indigenous not-for-profit entities who are working with one or more endorsing Indigenous partner organization(s) to facilitate Indigenous economic development
  • provincial, territorial, municipal and regional governments working with an Indigenous partner organization
  • academic institutions and research associations working with an Indigenous partner organization

What types of projects are eligible for funding?

The scope of activities funded by the IFI is broad, with three general categories:

  • use and management of forest resources
  • clean technology and participation in the forest bioeconomy (e.g. biomass for heat/energy, pellet manufacturing, etc.)
  • environmental stewardship

Examples of IFI funded projects include:

  • preparing plans/assessments that cultivate economic opportunities in forestry
  • training and skills development to support forestry projects
  • planning for forest sector businesses, including startup or expansion
  • developing forestry related tools, technology, products, and services

Diversity and Inclusion

In Budget 2019, the Government of Canada called on its suite of forest sector competitiveness programs to include measures to address gender and other representation gaps within the forest sector.

The IFI remains committed to supporting projects that help create a diverse and inclusive forest sector by increasing Indigenous participation in forestry-related opportunities, businesses, careers and governance.

About this program

In June 2017, the Government of Canada expanded the IFI with an additional $10 million in funding over three years (2017 – 2020) from the Softwood Lumber Action Plan.

In Budget 2019, the Government of Canada announced a three-year $15.6 million expansion to the program for more and larger Indigenous-led economic development projects starting in 2020.

From the funding expansion in Budget 2019, the IFI has allocated approximately $6.8 million to projects, with approximately $6.2 million available for 2021-2023.  The Program has $1 million per year available beyond 2023.

Natural Resources Canada has other funding programs to promote participation in the forest economy in addition to the Government of Canada’s 2 Billion Trees Commitment and Science and Technology Internship Program (STIP) – Green Jobs.

Regional liaison officers

Have questions?

To request more information or if you have questions about the IFI, contact the IFI team

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