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Group Applications

Learn how to apply as a group or organization, how funding decisions are made, restrictions on funding and other questions.

Q1: How do I access funding through NIB Trust Fund?

1. There is a competitive application process to access funding through NIB Trust Fund.  Funding is available to groups and individuals. There is a separate application process for each.  The Individual application is available online in April of each year, and the Organization application is available online in November of each year.

 “Groups” are any First Nation and/or Métis governments and/or communities listed as a “qualified donee” with Canada Revenue Agency at the time of application; OR First Nation and/or Metis non-profit organizations or societies listed as a “qualified donee” with the Canada Revenue Agency at the time of application. This includes other organizations that provide educational programs to First Nation and/or Métis individuals. 

Groups require specific designations by Canada Revenue Agency:

 In order for an organization (university, college, or other incorporated entities) to be eligible for funding through NIB Trust Fund, it must have charitable status as acknowledged by Canada Revenue Agency at the time of application.  Provincial designations of charitable status are not acceptable – it must be recognized federally.  To see if your organization is a registered charity please visit:  List of charities and certain other qualified donees - basic search (cra-arc.gc.ca)

 In order for a First Nation, Tribal Council, Political Territorial Organizations (PTO) to be eligible for NIB Trust Fund funding, it must have “qualified donee” status as recognized by Canada Revenue Agency at the time of application.  If your group is not on “The List of Municipalities or Public Bodies Performing a Function of Government in Canada” you are not eligible.  You can check to see if you are a “qualified donee” and/or apply for “qualified donee” status here:  Other organizations that can issue donation receipts (qualified donees) - Canada.ca


Q2: Who (or what) is a “qualified donee”?

2. “Qualified donee” status is recognized by Canada Revenue Agency – a process that may take 3 to 8 months to obtain; depending on what status your organization/First Nation is applying for.  By federal law, charitable foundations in Canada are only permitted to make grants to qualified donees.  Historically, there was no need to apply for this special status but the rules have recently changed.  If a First Nation or Aboriginal organization needs qualified donee status, it must make an application to CRA and have its name added to a list.  With qualified donee status, an organization can receive grants from other charities/foundations in Canada to support programming. Qualified donees can also issue official donation receipts for gifts they receive from individuals or corporations. Please refer to Canada Revenue Agency’s web site for specifics on charities and whether or not you are a “qualified donee”: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/menu-eng.html


Q3: What can group applicants use the money for?

3. Eligible expenses for group applicants include:

  • With respect to traditional education programs, Elder fees, guide fees, equipment, supplies, travel, fuel, and other similar incidental costs;
  • Instructional delivery wages and mandatory employment-related costs;
  • Tuition and associated fees;
  • Purchase/development of course materials and supplies;
  • Adaption of current course material to add First Nation/Métis content;
  • Clothing specific to the training requirements (uniforms, steel-toed boots, raingear, etc.);
  • Transportation;
  • Accommodations and Meals;
  • Daycare; and,
  • Other living expenses incidental to the participation in educational programs.


Q4: How will funds be dispersed to successful group applicants?

4. Successful funding for groups will be dispersed through:

  • Grants: a grant is a non-repayable fund to a recipient. Grants are made to fund a specific project or targeted research. Grants may require some level of compliance and reporting.
  • Sponsorship:  The NIB Trust may assist community organizations to provide sponsorship to individuals to attend educational and career programs so young people from their local communities have opportunities to pursue college, university, and career success.


Q5. What is the maximum amount of money a group can apply for through the NIB Trust Fund?

5. Currently provincial, regional and community groups can apply for up to $200,000. National groups can apply for up to $400,000.


Q6: How long does the review process take?

6. NIB Trust Fund receives a large number of applications.  In order to ensure an adequate assessment and review of each, the screening and selection process for applications could take approximately four months. Group funding decisions are usually released end of March.


Q7: If I receive funding as part of a group, can I also apply for individual funding and vice versa?

7. Yes. The group and individual applications are separate processes and will be screened separately through a competitive process.


Q8: Are there any restrictions to how the funds are used?

8. The funds cannot be used to reduce, replace or duplicate existing support available through federal, provincial, territorial or local governments, but may be used to augment and complement this funding. The funds cannot be used to pay debts.


Q9: What won’t or can’t be funded?

9. The NIB Trust Fund cannot disburse or distribute funding for the following:

  • Supplementation or compensation of an individual’s Common Experience Payment or Personal Credits amount;
  • Claims for compensation;
  • Legal action;
  • Entrepreneurial activities;
  • Capital costs;
  • Activities outside the NIB Trust Fund’s objects;
  • Partisan and/or political activities;
  • Payments for past student loans or debts


Q10: What are the criteria for applications and what is the screening process?

10. Assessment of all applications comply with specific principles and guidelines set out by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and the NIB Trust Fund’s Terms and Conditions and Administration Plan.

Applications are screened to ensure they’ve been received by deadline and contain all necessary documentation, including eligibility. Only complete applications will be evaluated and forwarded to the Trustees for consideration.

Once an application is deemed to be complete it is forwarded to the Selection Committee for assessment and scoring. The Selection Committee makes recommendations to the Trustees on whether applications should be accepted or declined. The applicant will be informed by email or mail of the Board of Trustee’s decision.


Q11: What are the application deadlines?

11. Application deadlines are at 5:00 pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) on the date stated on the application form.


Q12: What constitutes an education program for the purposes of the NIB Trust application process?

12. Education programs refer to the advancement of an individual’s education and personal development which relate to literacy or trades, as well as programs that relate to the preservation, reclamation, development or understanding of First Nations or Métis history, cultures or languages.

 For the purposes of the NIB Trust Fund, educational programs are those provided by education institutions, cultural centers, organizations, communities and individuals/groups, whether short or long-term, informal or formal, or certified or non-certified.

 Educational Programs include, but are not limited to, those that:

1. Strengthen education and employment training;

2. Promote First Nations and the Métis languages and cultures; or,

3. Foster community and personal development, including access to counseling and other programs to heal communities from harms caused by the Indian Residential Schools.


Q13: My group project or proposal was denied funding by NIB Trust. Is there an appeal process?

13. Yes. The appeal process document can be found here. The appeal process does not guarantee funds.  Groups and individuals that/who have not received funding are encouraged to apply again in the next round.


Q14: Is multi-year funding available for groups?

14. Yes. Applications are fixed for one-year terms or multi-year to a maximum of five years. Each successful organization is limited to two agreements within a ten-year period.


Q15: What is the difference between National/ Regional/ Local-Community Projects?

National Programs

National Education Programs are programs that have across Canada scope.  All programs must promote an education program for First Nations and Metis Citizens on a national level.

A national program may be funded for a combined maximum period of up to 5 yrs. The maximum amount payable for National Programs is $400 000 annually. The program activities will require annual proposals, budgets, and reports.

Regional Programs

Regional Education Programs are programs that have a Provincial scope. All organizations must promote an education program for First Nations and Metis Citizens on a provincial level.

A regional program may be funded for a combined maximum period of up to 5 yrs. The maximum amount payable for regional programs is $200,000 annually. The program activities will require annual proposals, budgets, and reports.

Local/ Community Programs

 Local/Community Education Programs are programs that have a local community scope. All organizations must promote a local education program for First Nations and Metis Citizens.

 A local/community program may be funded for a single year or a combined maximum for up to 5 yrs. The maximum amount for local/community programs is $200 000 annually.


Q16: If I receive funding as part of a group, can I also apply for individual funding and vice versa?

16. Yes. The group and individual applications are separate processes and will be screened separately through a competitive process.


Q17: Can Non-Indigenous Organizations apply for funding from the NIB Trust Fund if the programming is intended for First Nations and/or Métis citizens?

17. Yes, the NIB Trust Fund Call for Applications from Groups/Organizations is accessible to non-Indigenous groups/organization if the programming is intended for First Nations and Métis individuals.


Q18: What if an organization does not have "qualified donee" status at the time of applying, but plans to have it within the near future?

18. No, the applicant must have confirmed qualified donee status at time of application.


Q19: If an organization does not have qualified donee status, can they partner with an organization that does?

19. Yes, the partner organization must have charitable status or qualified donee status at the time of application and will become the grantee.


­­­­­Q20: If the applicant organizations do not have audited financial statements, are there other documents that are acceptable to submit for the application?

20. Acceptable documents can include a statement of income or statement of cash flows, anything that showcases the financial capacity of the organization that is either the registered charity or qualified donee.


Q21: Will you accept multiple applications for different programming from one organization?

21. Yes. However, it is not encouraged. Organizations who are submitting for different programs are in competition with each other.


Q22: Is it possible to see a copy of the application before applying?

22. No. The NIB Trust Fund application is only available to view once the application opens. The application opens every year in November and closes in January.


Q23: How can I apply?

23. Only online at https://nibtrust-apply.smapply.io

Faxed, email, posted applications will not be accepted. The application must be completed online.

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