Learn about the 10-year grant.
Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is now accepting expressions of interest for the 10-year grant for the 2021 to 2022 fiscal year. If your First Nations government is interested in entering into a grant, please contact your regional ISC funding agreement contact.
- About the 10-year grant
- Eligibility requirements
- 10-year grant escalator
- If a First Nation government has a certification from the First Nations Financial Management Board, will they automatically be eligible for a 10-year grant?
- How is it different from the current block funding approach?
- What are the next steps for First Nations interested in the 10-year grant that do not currently meet the eligibility requirements?
- Will the 10-year grant cover both core and proposal-based funding?
- What service delivery areas are included in the 10-year grant?
- Will funding from other government departments also be incorporated into the 10-year grant?
- Where can I get more information?
About the 10-year grant
The 10-year grant is a funding mechanism that is available to First Nations that provide a written request and that meet the eligibility requirements. These requirements, co-developed with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Financial Management Board (FMB), assess the financial performance and governance of recipients. To continue to receive grant funding, recipients will have to demonstrate that they continue to meet these eligibility requirements during the entire term of the grant.
10-year grants provide a number of significant benefits, including:
- a 10-year term (most contribution agreements have shorter terms)
- flexibility to design and deliver services
- flexibility to allocate, manage and use funding to better accommodate local needs and changing circumstances and priorities
- ability to retain unspent funds
- annual escalation based on inflation and population growth starting in 2020
- reduced administrative and reporting burden
Administrative and reporting benefits of the 10-year grant include:
- reduced administration (no "permissions" needed) as a result of greater flexibility to reallocate funding to fit local needs and priorities
- reduced reporting frequency to ISC and scope (focusing on outcomes and results)
- elimination of compliance-based reporting for programs included in the 10-year grant
- no recipient audits or compliance reviews initiated by ISC for programs funded through a 10-year grant
Read what other communities have said about the 10-year grant.
To initiate a 10-year grant, a First Nation government must provide a written request to the department expressing its interest. Once an expression of interest has been received, officials from ISC and the FMB will contact you to provide guidance on meeting eligibility criteria. ISC will make the final decision on eligibility, based on the following co-developed approach with the AFN and FMB:
1. Financial administration law
A First Nation government wishing to be eligible for the 10-year grant must have in place a financial administration law. A financial administration law is a set of financial and governance practices that assist a First Nation government in making informed financial decisions, and can be passed either under the Indian Act or the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. If the First Nation government chooses to pass a financial administration law under the Indian Act rather than under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, the law must obtain Ministerial approval. Regardless of whether a First Nation chooses to pass the law under the Indian Act or the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, the same standards for the financial administration law will apply. The FMB will provide reports to ISC on whether First Nations have met the eligibility criteria related to the financial administration law. For more information and to see a sample financial administration law, consult the FMB's 10-year grant eligibility page.
Minimum financial administration law implementation provisions
First Nations applying for the grant would be asked to ensure that certain provisions of their financial administration law are supported by policies and procedures, where required, and have been legally brought into force. More information on the minimal provisions related to the financial administration law can be found on the FMB's 10-year grant eligibility page and is also set out in the sample Comprehensive Funding Agreement model.
2. Financial performance
A First Nation government's financial statements for the preceding 5-year period must be in substantial compliance with certain financial performance standards as of March 31 the previous fiscal year. To assist ISC in reaching its determination, the FMB will be asked to provide opinions to ISC on whether First Nation governments meet these standards.
Specifically they must demonstrate:
- an average "fiscal growth ratio" of no lower than minus 5%
- an average "operating margin ratio" of no lower than minus 5%
- an average "asset maintenance ratio" of no lower than 100%
- a weighted average "net debt ratio" of no more than 60%; or a current year "net debt ratio" for the most recent year of no more than 60% and
- an average "interest expense ratio" of no more than 5%
First Nations governments that express interest in the 10-year grant will be provided with more detailed information on meeting the eligibility requirements based on their unique circumstances. For a First Nation to be eligible for a 10-year grant, it must:
- provide a written request to be considered for a 10-year grant
- if not already done, create a financial administration law or bylaw under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act or Indian Act
- If your draft or previously existing financial administration law or by-law requires amendments in order to meet eligibility criteria, the FMB can give you advice, though it is recommended that your First Nation obtain its own independent legal advice when preparing or amending laws or bylaws
- provide audited financial statements for the past five years to demonstrate that the financial performance provisions listed above are met
FMB will provide reports to ISC confirming that First Nations have met eligibility criteria for the 10-year grant. To support development of funding agreements in time for the next funding agreement cycle, our objective is that First Nations will have completed all steps necessary to meet eligibility criteria and obtained the necessary assessments from the FMB by the end of November each year.
10-year grant escalator
To ensure 10-year grants grow with the needs of First Nations, Budget 2019 proposed that starting April 1, 2020, "funding for core programs and services provided through the 10-Year Grants" should be escalated annually to "address key cost drivers including inflation and population growth."
Work is on-going to finalize the approach for implementation of the escalator. ISC will keep First Nations updated on details on the grant escalator as they become available.
If a First Nation government has a certification from the FMB, are they automatically eligible for a 10-year grant?
While the final decision on the eligibility requirements rests with ISC, the FMB will provide reports on the assessment of the First Nation's financial performance and financial administration law against the co-developed eligibility requirements. The requirements for a 10-year grant are aligned with FMB certification standards:
- If a First Nation government has previously obtained a financial performance certificate from the FMB, they must demonstrate that their financial statements for the past five years meet financial performance eligibility requirements as of March 31, of the previous fiscal year
- If a First Nation government previously developed and enacted a financial administration law approved by the FMB and has brought into force the minimum provisions required by FMB standards, the 10-year grant eligibility requirement for enacting a financial administration law will be found to have been met. However, the First Nation will still have to demonstrate that minimum financial administration law provisions have been implemented as outlined in the funding agreement
How is it different from the current block funding approach?
There are some significant differences:
- block funding generally has a 5-year term
- block funding is a contribution, not a grant, and as such, it comes with more administrative and reporting requirements, and limitations on eligible expenditures
- block funding recipients have to complete unexpended funding plans at the end of the agreement
- block funding generally does not permit program redesign or provide the flexibility to set the standards and levels of service associated with these programs
- block funding recipients are subject to department-initiated recipient audits and compliance reviews
What are the next steps for First Nations interested in the 10-year grant that do not currently meet the eligibility requirements?
First Nations interested in meeting the eligibility requirements for the 10-year grant can continue to work with FMB. All First Nations applying for the 10-year grant have access to FMB-developed tools, as well as advice and support from the FMB in working towards meeting eligibility criteria. First Nations working with the FMB to meet the eligibility requirements for the 10-year grant can also access other FMB services.
All First Nations interested in developing their governance capacity can submit a project proposal through the Professional and Institutional Development Program. This program is administered by ISC at the regional level and funds projects that will help to increase the governance capacity of communities in core functions of governance such as leadership, law-making and financial management. All First Nations are eligible for project-based funding under this Program, regardless of their interest in the 10-year grant.
Will the 10-year grant cover both core and proposal-based funding?
Core funding is program funding that is:
- provided on an on-going basis
- normally formula-based
- not constrained by a special purpose allotment (for example, funding under Jordan's Principle)
Most programs which provide core funding are covered under the grant. Proposal-based funding is funding that may be provided from time-to-time and requires a successful proposal submission.
First Nations operating under the 10-year grant are able to apply for proposal-based funding outside of the 10-year grant. First Nations receiving the 10-year grant can still receive other contribution funding through set, fixed or flexible funding approaches.
What service delivery areas are included in the 10-year grant?
The 10-year grant funding for each recipient is provided through a single Comprehensive Funding Agreement. The 11 service delivery areas included in the 10-year grant are:
- band support funding
- employee benefits
- capital facilities and maintenance
- operations and maintenance
- minor capital
- income assistance
- assisted living
- elementary and secondary education
- core elementary and secondary education
- post-secondary education
- primary health care, except in British Columbia
- health promotion and disease prevention
- public health protection
- primary care
- health infrastructure support
- health system capacity
- lands and economic development services
- community economic development
- lands and environment
- registration administration
Service delivery areas which are not included in the grant:
- supplementary health benefits
- first nations land management
- Jordan's Principle
- Indian Residential Schools
- time-limited proposal-based funding under income assistance
- targeted funding for infrastructure
- child and family services
- primary health care and health infrastructure support delivered by the First Nations health Authority in British Columbia
Will funding from other government departments also be incorporated into the 10-year grant?
This is an objective that will take some time and effort to achieve given the differences in program mandates, objectives and authorities between departments. ISC is working with other departments to identify barriers and to develop approaches to overcome them so that this funding might also be available through the 10-year grant in the future.
Where can I get more information?
Reach out to your regional ISC funding agreement contact to learn more.