ISC BC Region Updates – January 2024

iscjan24

The ISC BC Region Update is published by Indigenous Services Canada bi-monthly. It is intended to provide First Nations leadership and administrations with timely information that focuses on funding announcements, program and service changes, as well as relevant initiatives from other federal departments, the provincial government and community partners. We welcome your feedback through the link at the bottom of this email.

New Funding Opportunities from ISC & the Government of Canada

Economic Development Funding

ISC BC Region is accepting applications for economic development funding for fiscal year 2024-25. Applications for the first intake are due on March 1, 2024. To meet with an ISC economic development officer to discuss your project’s funding needs, please email bcecdev@sac-isc.gc.ca. For more information about program guidelines, visit the Lands and Economic Development Services Program and Community Opportunity Readiness Program websites.

Reserve Land and Environment Management Program Accepting New Entrants

In partnership with the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association (NALMA), ISC is now seeking First Nations interested in participating in the Reserve Land and Environment Management Program (RLEMP). RLEMP provides funding to First Nations to develop the capacity to exercise increased responsibility over their reserve lands, resources, and environment under the Indian Act. Interested First Nations are asked to complete an Expression of Interest form (PAW# 6978371), which is available on ISC’s website. Once completed, please submit the form via email to rlemp@sac-isc.gc.ca. There is no deadline to apply, and forms may be submitted at any time. If you have questions about RLEMP or the application process, you are welcome to contact ISC’s Lands Modernization team at modernisationdesterres-landsmodernization@sac-isc.gc.ca.

Additional Inflation Relief Funding 2023-24

In light of the high inflation in Canada, as well as hardships that Income Assistance clients continue to face, Indigenous Services Canada provided 8 months of funding in fiscal year 2023-2024 to alleviate the rising costs of living under the Income Assistance Program. In January 2023, ISC will provide two additional months of funding for Income Assistance clients on reserve with the rising cost of living. This will help First Nations individuals and families who rely on income assistance to cover their essential living expenses.

Options for eligible expenses include direct client support, bulk food purchases, wage subsidies, and the purchase of appliances for income assistance clients. Please note that the terms and conditions for the Income Assistance Program will continue to apply for this funding along with existing reporting requirements. Budget adjustments will be processed in January 2023 for payment in February 2023.

For more information on this funding, including a detailed list of eligible expenditures, please contact the Band Social Development Worker (BSDW) Policy Support Line by toll-free phone at 1-888-440-4080 or by email at tsdbsoutien-bsdwsupport-bc@sac-isc.gc.ca.

BC Region Program Guide

The BC Region Program Guide contains important program and budget information intended for the administrators and program managers of First Nations, Indigenous organizations, and ISC staff. The information contained in the 2022-23 Program Guide remains valid for fiscal year 2023-24, and will be updated for 2024-25. For your convenience, it can be found on the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of BC website: https://afoabc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/2022-2023-BC-Region-Program-Guide.pdf. For questions on the guide, please contact your Funding Services Officer or reach out through one of our regional mailboxes:

fso-northeast@sac-isc.gc.ca

fso-northwest@sac-isc.gc.ca

fso-vancouverisland@sac-isc.gc.ca

fso-southeast@sac-isc.gc.ca

fso-southwest@sac-isc.gc.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada Launches the Indigenous Leadership Fund to Support First Nations, Inuit and Métis Climate Action

On November 14, 2023, the Government of Canada announced the launch of the Indigenous Leadership Fund, a new program developed in collaboration with First Nations representatives, Inuit organizations and Métis governments. The Indigenous Leadership Fund provides up to $180 million to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis-owned and led renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon heating projects. As of October 30, 2023, up to $73.9 million will be available for First Nations-led projects through a continuous intake process that will be open until March 31, 2027.

Proposals for the First Nations funding stream will be accepted until March 31, 2027, and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until available funding is allocated. More information on the program is available on the Indigenous Leadership Fund webpage.

Infrastructure Canada Invests in Innovative Research to Respond to Housing and Infrastructure Challenges

The Research and Knowledge Initiative call for proposals has launched and will be accepting applications until February 9, 2024. Through the initiative, the federal government is providing funding to eligible applicants for research projects that tackle housing and infrastructure challenges in our communities. This call for proposals will support a variety of projects that will generate critical knowledge for addressing housing and infrastructure needs in meaningful ways. For example, projects may include: piloting innovative ways to increase new housing starts; assessing how changing environmental conditions affect region-specific infrastructure needs; understanding successful strategies that have generated positive infrastructure and housing outcomes in at-risk communities; or evaluating how international best practices could support community resiliency and improved quality of life in Canadian communities. More information about the initiative, details on eligibility, and how to apply can be found on Infrastructure Canada’s website. Please contact RKI-IRC@infc.gc.ca should you have any questions.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Launched New Initiative to Support Indigenous Tourism

On November 17, 2023, the Government of Canada announced the launch of the Indigenous Tourism Fund’s (ITF) Micro and Small Business Stream (MSBS). The $10 million MSBS will be rolled out in partnership with Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and provincial and territorial Indigenous tourism organizations, except in Ontario, where details regarding the administration of the program will be announced shortly. Through this Indigenous-led approach, qualifying micro and small Indigenous tourism businesses and organizations will have access to non-repayable contributions of up to $25,000.

The ITF’s MSBS will support Indigenous tourism in several key areas, it will provide financial assistance to Indigenous tourism operators, and will leverage the expertise of provincial and territorial Indigenous tourism organizations to maximize its positive impact on Indigenous communities and the tourism industry. For more information, please visit the full news release.

Natural Resources Canada Launches $1.5 Billion Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund

On November 20, 2023, the Government of Canada announced the Call for Proposals (CFP) of the Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund (CMIF). The CMIF will address key infrastructure gaps to enable sustainable critical minerals production and connect resources to markets. With up to $1.5 billion available over 7 years, the fund will support clean energy and electrification initiatives, as well as transportation and infrastructure projects that will enable the sustainable development of Canada’s critical minerals.

This CFP will be the first of several under CMIF, with up to $300 million in contribution funding available under 2 streams: the Pre-construction and Project Development Stream and the Infrastructure Deployment Stream. Through these streams, applicants – including Indigenous groups and governments – can seek access to up to $50 million per project. Information on funding opportunities and the applicant guide are now available online. Applications for the first CFP must be submitted online by February 29, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

Funding Available from Library and Archives Canada to Support First Nations, Inuit and Métis Documentary Heritage Projects

Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) new funding cycle of its Listen, Hear Our Voices initiative is now open. First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations striving to digitize and preserve language and culture materials and build digitization and preservation capacity for their communities are welcome to apply. Up to $100,000 per project is available for eligible organizations. First Nations, Inuit and Métis governing entities and non-profit organizations are invited to submit applications until January 30, 2024, 11:59 p.m. local time.

Interested organizations can consult the Listen, Hear Our Voices web page for information on eligibility and how to apply. Webinars are available to support prospective applicants, where LAC officials will provide information about the Listen, Hear Our Voices initiative and application process. For more information, please visit the full news release.

Upcoming Important Dates

August 31 and October 15, 2023

Annual Register of Post-Secondary Education Students and Nominal Roll Student Census Report

While the due dates for these 2 reports has passed, submitting them remains very important! Your First Nations’ Nominal Roll, which was due October 15, 2023, is used to determine Education funding not only from ISC, but also from FNESC. Those who haven’t submitted their Nominal Roll by January 26, 2024, risk not having their September 2023 data included in funding calculations for 2024. Nationally, there are many First Nations who have years’ worth of the Annual Register of Post-Secondary Education Students report (due August 31 each year) outstanding. Without a certain threshold of submitted reports in to the department, data cannot be used to support the need for ongoing or increased post-secondary education funding. For questions regarding ISC’s education reports, or for access to the Education Information System (EIS), please email the ISC BC Education Programs team at bceducation@sac-isc.gc.ca.

April 22 to 24, 2024

Our Gathering, kexwkexwntsút chet, tə sq̓əq̓ip ct

The BC Region offices of ISC, Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and the First Nations Leadership Council are excited to announce that Our Gathering, kexwkexwntsút chet, tə sq̓əq̓ip ct, will be held on April 22-24, 2024, on the unceded, traditional, ancestral territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations at the J.W Marriott Parq Hotel in Vancouver. This annual event, available to attend both in-person and virtually, is designed to facilitate collaboration and learning between First Nation communities, Indigenous organizations and government officials. More details about the agenda and registration will be released soon. In the meantime, we hope you will help develop an agenda that meets your community’s needs by indicating desired topics for daily plenary and interactive breakout sessions. Please let us know what you want to see by completing this questionnaire: Our Gathering 2024 - Pre-Gathering Questionnaire. If you have any questions or ideas you would like to discuss, please direct them to ISC’s Our Gathering team at ourgathering@sac-isc.gc.ca.

February 12 to 15, 2024

Mobile Status Card Services in Prince Rupert

ISC will be organizing a status card issuance outreach event in Prince Rupert during the All-Native Basketball Tournament. A mobile status card team will issue paper-laminated Certificate of Indian Status (CIS) and intake applications for the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) and birth registration.

  • Location: Nisga’a Hall, 860 3 Ave W, Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1M6
  • Date: February 12 to 15, 2024
  • Time: February 12: 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Open to Elders only); February 13 to 15: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Open to everyone)

For more information, please contact 236-330-3006 or bcirbl@sac-isc.gc.ca.

March 4 to 8, 2024

Mobile Status Card Services in Campbell River

ISC will be organizing a status card issuance outreach event in Campbell River. A mobile status card team will issue paper-laminated Certificate of Indian Status (CIS) and intake applications for the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) and birth registration.

  • Location: Coast Hotel, 975 Shoppers Row, Campbell River, BC V9W 2C4
  • Date: March 4 to 8, 2024
  • Time: March 4: 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Open to Elders only); March 5 to 8: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Open to everyone)

For more information, please contact 236-330-3006 or bcirbl@sac-isc.gc.ca.

Information from our Partners

The BC Ministry of Citizens’ Services Provides Connectivity Funding

The third intake of the Connecting Communities BC (CCBC) funding program opened for applications on January 8, 2024. Through the CCBC program, the Province aims to provide all remaining underserved households and First Nations communities with access to high-speed internet by 2027. Eligible applicants can apply for funding to support the expansion of high-speed internet to households in specific areas of interest in the province that do not have access to internet speeds of at least 50 Megabits per second (Mbps) download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed. Intake 3 will be open until March 14, 2024.

BC Government Community Climate Funding Guide

The BC Community Climate Funding Guide is a comprehensive list of funding opportunities from the provincial government for Indigenous communities and local governments to reach their climate action goals.

Of Interest

Supporting Safe Drinking Water and Wastewater in First Nations

On December 11, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, introduced new proposed legislation in Parliament: Bill C-61 An Act respecting water, source water, drinking water, wastewater and related infrastructure on First Nation lands as part of the Government’s commitment to establish new proposed safe drinking water and wastewater legislation in consultation with First Nations. Aligned with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the proposed legislation was developed through extensive engagement that put First Nations voices at the forefront. Canada worked directly with First Nation rights-holders, including Modern Treaty and Self-Governing First Nations, through their own representative institutions, and First Nation organizations including the Assembly of First Nations, to help ensure the Bill is responsive to First Nations’ needs and priorities.

Bill C-61 would affirm the inherent right of First Nations to self-government. It would ensure that First Nations have more tools necessary to protect source water and maintain drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in a self-determined way. It would hold the federal government accountable to continued funding investments in water infrastructure. It would also lead to the application of minimum standards for clean drinking water in every First Nation and lay the groundwork for the creation of a First Nation-led water institution to support communities. For more information, please visit the drinking water and wastewater legislation website.

Infrastructure Modernization Update

BC Region’s Community Infrastructure Directorate, in partnership with First Nations and ISC national colleagues, held four Infrastructure Modernization Sessions across the province in September 2023. The purpose of these engagement sessions was to hear directly from First Nation communities what changes need to be made to the delivery of ISC’s national infrastructure program, including its delivery in BC Region. The focus of these sessions was to explore opportunities to better align this national program with the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A draft report, summarizing what was heard in these BC sessions, was sent to participants on December 7, 2023, for their review to ensure their feedback was captured accurately. Once we hear back from participants, the report will be finalized and included in a national report for central agency consideration. Be on the lookout for the draft report and stay tuned for next steps! If you have yet to receive the draft report, please contact Naut'sa mawt Facilitation and Reporting’s Samuel Dzierzawa at samueld@nautsamawt.com.

Jordan’s Principle Approved Request Contingency (ARC) Fund Update

In April 2023, ISC BC Region launched the Approved Request Contingency (ARC) fund pilot with 10 partner organizations. The fund is a third-party payments initiative that streamlines Jordan’s Principle payments to ensure timely access to approved products, services, and supports for families for requests submitted through a Jordan’s Principle Service Coordinator. In September 2023, ISC entered phase two of the pilot with a total of 24 partner organizations. To date, $8 million has flowed to families through the ARC fund.

ISC has received positive feedback from service coordinator organizations who are able to provide support where and when it is needed the most in their communities. To connect with a Service Coordinator, please visit the Jordan’s Principle Service Coordination Directory. You can also contact the BC Client Support Line at 778-951-0716 (Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm) or ISC’s national Jordan’s Principle Call Centre (available 24 hours, 7 days a week) at 1-855-JP-CHILD (1-855-572-4453).

Links to Learning 2023

Since 2013, First Nations economic development officers and lands management officers from First Nations across BC have traveled to Vancouver for the annual Links to Learning technical training forum, where they can participate in workshops and other training sessions to develop skills and build knowledge in support of their communities.

This year marked the tenth anniversary of Links to Learning, a partnership with ISC, the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre, the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association, and the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers, who are also the event planners. From December 11 to 13, 2023, 160 First Nations representatives participated in workshops and networking. ISC BC Region staff from the Lands and Economic Development directorate also attended to deliver workshops, participate in meetings, and volunteer at the venue. ISC and Procurement Assistance Canada were pleased to provide funding support for this event. Event participants can provide feedback and suggestions by filling out the online evaluation form or by sending an email to svitlana.konoval@edo.ca.

Grants and Contribution Information Management Systems

Did you know First Nations can submit proposals and reporting submissions directly to ISC through the Grants and Contribution Information Management Systems (GCIMS), which is the recommended submission method for all non-Education reports? GCIMS provides access to funding agreements for up-to-date financial information and reporting requirements. It can also be used to generate system reports for program and budget analysis. If you would like to receive access and/or training for GCIMS, please contact 1-800-665-9320 to find out who your Funding Services Officer (FSO) is. Your FSO can arrange GCIMS access or training.

In-person Service for Registration and Status Cards

ISC BC Region’s Registration and Status Card Service Counter at 1138 Melville Street in Vancouver welcomes walk-in clients from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Appointments can also be made by calling (236) 330-9961. For more information, please visit the ISC BC Region webpage.

Public Safety Canada’s Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative

The Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative (ACSPI) works to prevent incidents of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, provides a means to enhance accessibility to Restorative Justice programming and responds to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The ACSPI supports Indigenous communities in the development of Community Safety Plans (CSP) which are specific to their unique circumstances. These plans identify community strengths, assets, and safety and wellness goals. Public Safety Canada officials work with communities and continue to support them through the many stages of CSP engagement, development and implementation. For more information, please contact abocor@ps-sp.gc.ca.

Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund

The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (CCSF) supports the improvement of physical conditions for arts, heritage culture and creative innovation. The Fund supports renovation and construction projects, the acquisition of specialized equipment and feasibility studies related to cultural spaces. The CCSF receives applications on an ongoing basis. For more information, please contact the nearest regional office of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Contact information

We are pleased to share that Wendy Rogers, formerly Director of Programs and Partnerships has returned to the department as Director of Community Development. She brings with her over 20 years of experience in public service and is looking forward to reconnecting with First Nations partners in her new role. Carina Chow, who had been Acting Director of Community Development, has kindly stepped into the role of Acting Director of Child and Family Services alongside William (Bill) McArthur as he prepares to retire in the new fiscal year.

We would like to take this opportunity to share the contact information for our Executive Leadership Team should you or your team need to reach out regarding specific programs or services within their respective areas.

For Residential Schools information and inquiries, you can contact the following:

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LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER!

Join us for another Webinar Wednesday!

In this webinar, Scott McCann, Joshua Sutherland, and Abigail Owen will discuss various important employee issues that arise at the end of the fiscal year, including the non-renewal of funding, the expiry of funding agreements, the impact on employment agreements, and related layoffs. Recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code will also be discussed to help you prepare for the new year, including the recent amendments to reasonable notice requirements, employment statements, employment expenses, and more. Finally, health and safety obligations and end of year reporting requirements will be covered to ensure understanding of, and compliance with, various legal obligations.

Register now: ow.ly/teWf50QHKzu
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LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER!

Join us for another Webinar Wednesday!

In this webinar, Scott McCann, Joshua Sutherland, and Abigail Owen will discuss various important employee issues that arise at the end of the fiscal year, including the non-renewal of funding, the expiry of funding agreements, the impact on employment agreements, and related layoffs. Recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code will also be discussed to help you prepare for the new year, including the recent amendments to reasonable notice requirements, employment statements, employment expenses, and more. Finally, health and safety obligations and end of year reporting requirements will be covered to ensure understanding of, and compliance with, various legal obligations.

Register now: https://ow.ly/teWf50QHKzu

Join us for another Webinar Wednesday!

In this webinar, Scott McCann, Joshua Sutherland, and Abigail Owen will discuss various important employee issues that arise at the end of the fiscal year, including the non-renewal of funding, the expiry of funding agreements, the impact on employment agreements, and related layoffs. Recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code will also be discussed to help you prepare for the new year, including the recent amendments to reasonable notice requirements, employment statements, employment expenses, and more. Finally, health and safety obligations and end of year reporting requirements will be covered to ensure understanding of, and compliance with, various legal obligations.

Register now: ow.ly/teWf50QHKzu
... See MoreSee Less

Join us for another Webinar Wednesday!

In this webinar, Scott McCann, Joshua Sutherland, and Abigail Owen will discuss various important employee issues that arise at the end of the fiscal year, including the non-renewal of funding, the expiry of funding agreements, the impact on employment agreements, and related layoffs. Recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code will also be discussed to help you prepare for the new year, including the recent amendments to reasonable notice requirements, employment statements, employment expenses, and more. Finally, health and safety obligations and end of year reporting requirements will be covered to ensure understanding of, and compliance with, various legal obligations.

Register now: https://ow.ly/teWf50QHKzu

Join us for another Webinar Wednesday!

In this webinar, employment lawyers Scott McCann, Partner, Joshua Sutherland, Counsel, and Abigail Owen, Associate, from Zacharias Vickers McCann LLP (zvmllp.com) will discuss various important employee issues that arise at the end of the fiscal year, including the non-renewal of funding, the expiry of funding agreements, the impact on employment agreements, and related layoffs. Recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code will also be discussed to help you prepare for the new year, including the recent amendments to reasonable notice requirements, employment statements, employment expenses, and more. Finally, health and safety obligations and end of year reporting requirements will be covered to ensure understanding of, and compliance with, various legal obligations.

Register now: ow.ly/teWf50QHKzu
... See MoreSee Less

Join us for another Webinar Wednesday!

In this webinar, employment lawyers Scott McCann, Partner, Joshua Sutherland, Counsel, and Abigail Owen, Associate, from Zacharias Vickers McCann LLP (https://zvmllp.com) will discuss various important employee issues that arise at the end of the fiscal year, including the non-renewal of funding, the expiry of funding agreements, the impact on employment agreements, and related layoffs. Recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code will also be discussed to help you prepare for the new year, including the recent amendments to reasonable notice requirements, employment statements, employment expenses, and more. Finally, health and safety obligations and end of year reporting requirements will be covered to ensure understanding of, and compliance with, various legal obligations.

Register now: https://ow.ly/teWf50QHKzu

Foundations for Professional Communications, an offering from the First Nations Public Service Secretariat and the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, got off to a great start with our in-person week of learning in January. Pictured here is the incredible cohort of First Nations communicators, and our amazing instructor, Davis McKenzie of Toxw oxw (Becoming Clear) Communications.

The students were able to hone their skills in key areas of communications, and at the end of the week were joined by Howard Grant, Executive Director of the First Nations Summit, and Jehan Casey, Director of the First Nations Public Service Secretariat, who were in attendance as they presented their very own communications plans. All their hard work, commitment, and enthusiasm made this week a huge success, and we are so excited for them as they complete this course and continue their journeys in communications!

Foundations for Professional Communications is a fully accredited course, free of charge for First Nations communicators. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the next offering, please email: ksposato@fnps.ca.
... See MoreSee Less

Foundations for Professional Communications, an offering from the First Nations Public Service Secretariat and the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, got off to a great start with our in-person week of learning in January. Pictured here is the incredible cohort of First Nations communicators, and our amazing instructor, Davis McKenzie of Toxw oxw (Becoming Clear) Communications.

The students were able to hone their skills in key areas of communications, and at the end of the week were joined by Howard Grant, Executive Director of the First Nations Summit, and Jehan Casey, Director of the First Nations Public Service Secretariat, who were in attendance as they presented their very own communications plans. All their hard work, commitment, and enthusiasm made this week a huge success, and we are so excited for them as they complete this course and continue their journeys in communications!

Foundations for Professional Communications is a fully accredited course, free of charge for First Nations communicators. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the next offering, please email: ksposato@fnps.ca.

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Awesome, mussi

In case you missed it!

We are pleased to share some of the plenary sessions from the First Nations Public Service Secretariat Conference 2023: Taking Root. Recordings are now available online. Check out the opening keynote from First Nations leadership, an inspiring panel from First Nations youth and crucial discussion around data governance and more.

Catch up now: ow.ly/6qU350QABv1
... See MoreSee Less

In case you missed it! 

We are pleased to share some of the plenary sessions from the First Nations Public Service Secretariat Conference 2023: Taking Root. Recordings are now available online. Check out the opening keynote from First Nations leadership, an inspiring panel from First Nations youth and crucial discussion around data governance and more.

Catch up now: https://ow.ly/6qU350QABv1
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