Indigenous Forestry Initiative
Funding opportunity – open call
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is pleased to announce the renewal and expanded mandate of the Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI). Over the next three years (2023 to 2026), Canada will invest $16.6 Million ($13 Million invested in Indigenous communities) to advance reconciliation in the forest sector by supporting Indigenous-identified priorities to accelerate Indigenous awareness, influence, inclusion, and leadership.
As part of this investment, in addition to contributions to support Indigenous-led activities in the forest sector, the IFI now also features GRANTS for up to $50,000 for Indigenous communities and other entities who hold collective Indigenous and Treaty rights. These grants will help the identified groups prepare and participate in industry or government-led sustainable forest management planning, forest policy development, or other instances where free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) is sought in relation to forest sector development.
NRCan invites Expressions of Interest (EOIs) to the Indigenous Forestry Initiative to be submitted by 23:59 Pacific Time, October 30, 2023.
The objective of the Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI) is to advance reconciliation in the forest sector by supporting Indigenous-identified priorities to accelerate Indigenous awareness, influence, inclusion, and leadership.
The IFI provides financial support to inclusive, Indigenous-led activities in the forest sector, such as:
- gathering, developing, using, and protecting Indigenous knowledge and science
- Indigenous leadership and participation in forest stewardship
- the identification, consideration, and pursuit of economic development opportunities
Please see the IFI Applicant Guide for details on eligible applicants and activities supported by IFI grants and contributions.
The program will conduct webinars to provide information on how to submit online applications, including a question and answer period with program officials. The webinar dates for the first solicitation window are included below. Additional dates for upcoming windows will be provided as they become available. To register for a webinar, please email the IFI team with the webinar session you would like to attend:
- Webinar 1 (English Session): Wednesday, October 4th, 2023 from 14:00 to 15:00 pm EST
- Webinar 2 (French session): Thursday, October 5th, 2023 from 11:00am to 12:00pm EST
How to apply for funding
- Step 1: Access NRCan’s on-line application portal and create your profile.
- Step 2: Complete the IFI Expression of Interest form.
Have questions or need assistance?
Download the IFI Applicant Guide, for information on the IFI and applicant and project eligibility.
We encourage applicants to contact NRCan’s Regional Liaison Officers to talk about your project ideas and the IFI application process.
Email the IFI Team with questions, and to register for updates on the Program and upcoming webinars.
- Grants funding decisions are anticipated by mid-December 2023, for projects to start as early as January 2024.
- If necessary to inform NRCan’s funding decisions, applicants whose EOIs are screened-in for further consideration will be invited to submit full project proposals. Additional time will be given to submit the full project proposals.
- Contributions funding decisions are anticipated by March 2024, for projects to start as early as April 2024.
Who is eligible for grants funding?
IFI grants will focus on targeting Indigenous communities and other entities who hold collective Indigenous and Treaty rights under Section 35 of the Constitution of Canada (1982).
Indigenous entities that do not hold collective rights, but propose similar activities to those supported in this targeted call for grants, may apply for a contribution. Such proposals will be competitively assessed against other contributions proposals.
Who is eligible for contributions funding?
Eligible recipients are:
- Indigenous individuals and entities, including:
- Indigenous communities and governments (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)
- national and regional Indigenous organizations, as well as tribal organizations
- Indigenous organizations (with 50% or greater Indigenous ownership) that are legally registered or incorporated for-profit and not-for-profit corporations, businesses, joint ventures, partnerships, associations, co-operatives and institutions
- Non-Indigenous entities, validly incorporated or registered in Canada, who are working with or on behalf of one or more endorsing Indigenous partner organization(s), including:
- not-for-profit organizations
- academia and research associations
- provincial, territorial, municipal and regional governments
Note: the term “Indigenous” is understood to include person(s) of Inuit, Métis, and First Nations identity.
What types of projects are eligible for funding?
Please see the IFI Applicant Guide for details on eligible activities supported by IFI grants and contributions.
In this call, grants of up to $50,000 are targeted to support Indigenous preparation and participation in industry or government-led sustainable forest management (SFM) planning, forest policy development, or other instances where free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) is sought in relation to forest sector development.
The intent for offering these targeted grants is to enhance the influence of Indigenous communities on sustainable forest management practices in Canada.
Projects eligible for contributions include:
- engagement and consultation activities
- knowledge and science activities
- planning and decision-making activities
- forest sector development, conservation, and workforce diversification activities
Examples of IFI-eligible projects include:
- influencing forest management plans by industry and government
- influencing forest policy development by government
- developing forest sector strategies
- pursuing access to forests and forest tenure
- gathering Indigenous knowledge to inform sustainable forest management practices in traditional territories
- leading the development of sustainable forest management plans
- identifying, considering, and pursuing economic development opportunities in forestry and forest products manufacturing
- supporting forest sector diversification and filling labour-force needs through training and skills development
- developing forest-related tools, technologies, products and services
- providing capital and other support for forest sector start-ups, expansions, and joint ventures
View previously-funded IFI projects.
Diversity and inclusion
NRCan 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. Applicants for IFI contributions will be asked to submit or develop Gender and Diversity Plans as part of funded projects, and IFI grant and contributions recipients will be asked to report against diversity-based performance indicators. Note: the development of Gender and Diversity plans are voluntary for sovereign Indigenous governments.
About the IFI
In June 2017, the Government of Canada announced the IFI as a featured component of the Softwood Lumber Action Plan, expanding its $1 million/year on-going budget by an additional $10 million in funding over three years (2017 to 2020).
In Budget 2019, the Government of Canada announced a three-year $15.6 million expansion to the Program. This increase in funding will allow for a greater number of Indigenous projects, as well as larger Indigenous-led economic development projects, starting in 2020.
In September 2023, the Government of Canada announced a three-year $16.6 million renewal of the IFI ($13 million in total investments to communities), in addition to a re-focused mandate to advance reconciliation in the forest sector by supporting Indigenous-identified priorities to accelerate awareness, influence, inclusion, and leadership.
Regional liaison officers
- Atlantic Forestry Centre (NB, NS, PE, NL)
- Laurentian Forestry Centre (QC)
- Great Lakes Forestry Centre (ON)
- Northern Forestry Centre (MB, SK, AB, NT, NU)
- Pacific Forestry Centre (BC, YT)
To request more information or if you have questions about the IFI, contact the IFI team
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