Discover how to apply as an individual, what kind of funding is available, what the screening process is like and more.
1. How do I access funding through NIB Trust Fund?
There is a competitive application process to access funding through the 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.
Late applications will not be accepted.
All applications must be submitted online at nibtrust.ca/granting/how-to-apply
2. What can individual applicants use the money for?
Payments from the NIB Trust Fund for education programs for individuals include, but are not limited to:
- Scholarships, bursaries, or financial assistance for costs associated with attending post-secondary institutions;
- Financial assistance to individuals to access opportunities in arts, science, or athletics;
- Funding to applicants that will assist First Nations and Métis with job skills training;
- Support for research of First Nations and Métis culture, history, and language to inform curriculum development and educate the public;
- Support to foster personal development by providing access to programs that address harms resulting from Indian Residential schools, including access to counseling, family development, and health promotion
Eligible activities include but are not limited to:
- Universities, colleges, cegep;
- Trade or training schools;
- Technical training for career advancement;
- Programs which promote the preservation, reclamation, development or understanding of First Nations or Métis history, cultures or languages;
- Cultural education-traditional, ceremony knowledge building;
- Strengthen education and employment training; or
- Foster community and personal development, including access to counseling and other programs to heal communities from harms caused by the Indian Residential Schools.
3. How will funds be dispersed to successful applicants?
Funds will be dispersed to successful individual applicants by way of:
- Scholarship (Post-Secondary) - Scholarships are money awards you receive for post-secondary education studies (i.e. University and College level studies).
- Bursary (Training/Certification) - Bursaries are money awards you receive for certificate programs and training from non-post-secondary institutions (i.e. Nechi Institute, AFOA, or other non-post-secondary institution).
- Award (Healing, Cultural/ Language/ Traditional Knowledge Building) - Awards are set dollar amounts for individuals who wish to pursue healing, cultural, language, or traditional knowledge building. This could include life skills programs, learning a language or skill from an elder or expert, learning traditional ceremonies, or acquiring land-based skills, etc.
The application can be found here.
4. What is the maximum amount of money an applicant can apply for?
Currently, individuals can apply for a maximum of up to $20,000. However, in the 2022-2023 Individual call, the average amount awarded to a successful individual was $3,900.
5. Do I need to be a former residential school student (or family member) to be eligible for funding?
Preference is given to former students of residential schools, but all First Nations and Métis over the age of 18 with a valid social insurance number are eligible for funding through a competitive application process.
6. If I receive funding this year, can I apply next year as well?
Yes. The application will be screened along with other applicants in the competitive process.
7. I have been approved for funding from NIB Trust Fund. Will this affect my Treaty-based funding?
This would have to be answered by existing funders. Funds received by NIB Trust 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.
8. Can I apply for funding for an education program that has finished?
No. Only educational activities taking place between September 1, 2023 and August 31, 2024 will be considered for funding.
9. Can I use this funding to start my own business?
No. NIB Trust Fund does not offer funding for personal businesses because it does not fit with the mandate outlined in the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement specified for these funds.
10. Will I be taxed on this funding?
Pursuant to subsection 200(2) of the Income Tax Regulations, every payer of a research grant, scholarship, fellowship, bursary or prize (other than a prescribed prize) is required to report the amount on a T4A Slip, Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity and Other Income.
For individuals who receive a scholarship, bursary, or tuition for post-secondary education:
All successful applicants who receive a scholarship, bursary, or tuition for education will receive a T4A slip from the NIB Trust.
For all provinces and territories except Quebec, scholarship, bursary and award income is fully exempt from tax when the income is received in connection with a program for which the student will get an education amount tax credit and for which he is enrolled full-time. The income is not reported on the tax return.
For part-time students who can claim the part-time education amount, the amount of the scholarship, bursary, or tuition that will be exempted will be to cover tuition fees and costs of program-related materials. The Canada Revenue Agency provides a calculator to determine what amount is not exempted and that will need to be reported on line 130 of your personal tax return.
If you are not eligible to claim the education amount, then only the first $500 of awards is tax free. Amounts received in excess of $500 are reported on line 130 of your personal tax return.
For Quebec students, the amount received will need to be included in the income, but a deduction for the full amount is allowed. The scholarship, bursary, or other financial assistance amounts from box O of the RL-1 slip will be reported on Line 154 of the Quebec personal income tax return. It will also be reported on line 295, which deducts the amount from the taxable income.
For individuals who receive an award:
All successful applicants who receive an award will receive a T4A slip from the NIB Trust. Since these amounts are not dedicated for formal education, recipients will be required to include this income on line 130 (Other income) on their personal tax return. For Québec recipients the amount will be included on line 154 (Other income) of the Québec personal income tax return.
The amount will be fully taxable, but no tax will be deducted at source when the award is distributed. The recipients will be required to pay tax when filing their personal income tax return.
11. Do you have to be a resident of Canada to access NIB Trust funds?
First Nations or Métis individuals residing outside of Canada are eligible to apply for funding through NIB Trust provided they have a valid Canadian Social Insurance Number.
12. I did not receive my personal education credit. Can I get it now through the NIB Trust Fund?
No. Personal credit payments and all other formal compensation packages (Common Experience Payment and Independent Assessment Payments) are complete. The NIB Trust funds are a separate and new opportunity for former students, First Nations and Metis individuals and organizations to access funding for education programs aimed at healing, reconciliation and knowledge building.
13. How can I apply?
Only online at https://nibtrust-apply.smapply.io
Faxed, email, posted applications will not be accepted. The application must be completed online.
14. Is it possible to see a copy of the application before applying?
No. The NIB Trust Fund application is only available to view once the application opens. The application opens every year in April and closes in June.
15. If I receive funding as part of a group, can I also apply for individual funding and vice versa?
Yes. The group and individual applications are separate processes and will be screened separately through a competitive process.
16. My project or individual proposal was denied funding by NIB Trust. Is there an appeal process?
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.
17. What are the application deadlines?
Application deadlines are at 5:00 pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) on the date stated on the application form.
18. What constitutes an education program for the purposes of the NIB Trust application process?
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.
19. How long does the review process take?
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, individual finding decisions are usually released at the end of September/beginning of October.
20. What are the criteria for applications and what is the screening process?
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.
21. Are there any restrictions to how the funds are used?
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.
22. How are funding decisions made?
Assessments of all applications comply with specific principles, key criteria, priorities, and guidelines set out by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, Administration Plan and the NIB Trust Fund. The Board of Trustees appoints the Selection committee who will review all complete applications and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees for funding.
Applications are screened to ensure they’ve been received by the deadline and contain all requested documentation. Only complete applications will be evaluated and forwarded to the Trustees for consideration.
23. What won’t or can’t be funded?
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
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