ISC BC Region Updates – September 2023

iscseptember

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 page.

During yet another unprecedented wildfire and drought season, our thoughts are with the First Nations communities in BC which continue to be impacted. Thank you to First Nations leadership, the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society, the First Nations Health Authority, and our partners with the Province of BC, in particular Emergency Management and Climate Readiness (EMCR), for your hard work, guidance and resilience in the face of ongoing climate emergencies. We also wish to express our gratitude to the firefighters, first responders and support crews for their tireless efforts to keep everyone safe. During these crises, ISC has been reaching out to the leadership of each of the First Nations communities affected by the wildfires and drought to identify their needs and how ISC can best support them.

If your community needs help with emergency response during the wildfires, please contact EMCR at 1-800-663-3456. You can also contact your regional EMCR office for info on evacuation alerts and orders. During evacuations, community members are also supported by the provincial Emergency Support Services (ESS) program. Additionally, for info on ISC’s emergency management programs and funding supports (including drought), please email bcaandc.do@sac-isc.gc.ca or call 1-604-209-9709.

We appreciate the current wildfire situation continues to have a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of First Nations and people across BC. For assistance, First Nations community members can contact the First Nations Health Authority’s 24/7 culturally safe KUU-US Crisis Response Services line at 1-800-588-8717 (or 250-723-2040 for child and youth / 250-723-4050 for adult and Elder). Additionally, resources like Wellness Together Canada (WTC), an online portal offers free and confidential virtual mental health and substance use supports, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Hope for Wellness Help Line also offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to offer immediate support and crisis intervention. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.

New Funding Opportunities from ISC & the Government of Canada

Family Violence Prevention Program – 2023-24 Call for Proposals is Open

The Family Violence Prevention Program (FVPP) provides vital services to Indigenous women, children, families and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people facing violent situations and funds activities and key supports to help prevent future violence. The FVPP call for proposals for violence prevention activities is now open and will remain open until funds are no longer available for this fiscal year.

This call for proposals provides funding for two streams:

To apply, please visit the FVPP call for proposals website. If you have questions regarding either stream, email ppvf-fvpp@sac-isc.gc.ca.

Important note: Family violence prevention program proposals that are focused on First Nations activities on reserve in BC Region can also be sent to Mercy Mura, Regional Program Development Advisor at mercy.mura@sac-isc.gc.ca.

Information on the 2023-24 Additional Income Assistance Service Delivery Top-Up

To help address the additional supports needed for the administration of Income Assistance, in July 2023, ISC issued a one-time, income assistance service delivery top-up to eligible funding recipients. Eligible expenditures include: salaries, wages and benefits; travel, transportation and accommodation; office supplies, equipment and computer systems; and other program service delivery costs.

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.

Funding for Urgent, Unmet Indigenous Housing Projects in Urban, Rural and Northern Areas

On June 8, 2023, the National Indigenous Collaborative Housing Incorporated (NICHI) and the Government of Canada jointly announced immediate funding in the amount of $287.1 million to address the critical need for safe and affordable urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing projects.

The funding is meant to support infrastructure projects that address immediate and unmet housing needs of Indigenous Peoples in northern, urban and rural communities. The NICHI will deliver this funding through an expression of need process currently being finalized and expected in early fall of 2023.

For more information, please refer to NICHI’s website at www.NICHI.ca. NICHI will be providing further communications to inform organizations, including providing an overview of important information, the application process and timelines.

2022-23 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. For your convenience, it is housed on the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of BC website:

https://afoabc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/2022-2023-BC-Region-Program-Guide.pdf

Recent Changes to ISC Programs & Services

Changes to ISC’s BC Region Income Assistance Program

On February 28, 2023, the Province of BC announced an increase to the shelter rate for people on Income Assistance and Disability Assistance. The shelter rate, which hasn’t changed since 2007, increased by $125. (This means that a single person maximum shelter allowance increased from $375 to $500 per month).

As of August 1, 2023, ISC’s BC Region Income Assistance program will now mirror the new provincial policy changes. This includes the shelter rate increase noted above and other supplemental increases, as well as expanded eligibility criteria for some supplements (e.g., infant formula, natal supplement).

For more information, 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.

Elementary and Secondary Education Program Funding Adjustments – Adult Students

Permanent Revision to Definition of “School Age Student” (Students Aged 4 to 21)

To align with the BC Tripartite Education Agreement (BCTEA), effective as of the 2023-24 school year, ISC has revised the BC Region Nominal Roll report eligible age range for “school age students” to include ages 4 through 21 (previously, the range was ages 4 through 19) for those students who are ordinarily resident on reserve and enrolled in a First Nations, public or private/independent school. This change is anticipated to result in expanded funding available through the BCTEA funding formula and student accommodation supports eligibility (see below).

  • First Nation School Funding Formula: School age students in this expanded age range (20 to 21) will be included in the following additional BCTEA funding components as reported on the 2023-24 Nominal Roll report: English language learning, Indigenous education, student location factor, language and culture, rural supplement, climate supplement, and small community supplement. Additional funding will be incorporated into the Elementary/Secondary School program funding provided to First Nations when the budget adjustments for the 2023-24 school year are finalized in June 2024.
  • Student Accommodation Supports: As a result of this change to the school age student range, students up to age 21 who must leave their home community due to availability of programs/grades, medical reasons or other circumstances may now be eligible for accommodation supports beginning in the 2023-24 school year. If you have questions regarding the eligibility of current and/or new students for accommodation, please reach out to the ISC BC Education Programs team at bceducation@sac-isc.gc.ca.

First Nations Adult Education Investment Funding – Enhancement of the BCTEA Formula from 2023-24 through 2026-27 (Students Aged 22 and Older)

Budget 2021 announced $350 million over 5 years, beginning in 2022-23, intended to expand access for adult learners ordinarily resident on-reserve to receive ISC support to help them complete and upgrade secondary education. In consultation with the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), BC Region’s total funding allocation of $24.1 million (approximately $6 million annually), is available to BC First Nations starting in 2023 until the end of March 2027. A portion of this annual funding will be distributed by ISC to First Nations as adaptations to the BCTEA funding formula for ISC-approved First Nation Schools and Adult Education Centres. Specifically, students age 22 and older will generate funding at the same level as students who are under the age of 22.

This additional funding will start as of the 2023-24 school year, and will be calculated based on the prior year’s Nominal Roll (2022-23). The funding adaptations include the following factors from the BCTEA funding formula: English language learning, Indigenous education, student location factor, language and culture, rural supplement, climate supplement, small community supplement (Secondary), small community supplement (Grade 11 & 12), and enrolment decline. This funding will have different budget coding than the Elementary/Secondary Education Program. For questions regarding these additional investments, please reach out to the ISC BC Education Programs team at bceducation@sac-isc.gc.ca.

Upcoming Important Dates

September 2023

Elementary and Secondary School Program – Nominal Roll Report Policy and Joint Verification Process Virtual Training Webinars

In September 2023, ISC, the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), and the BC Ministry of Education and Child Care will host virtual training webinars for First Nations Education Coordinators, Education Directors, and Education Managers who support the Elementary and Secondary School Program on reserve. These sessions will offer an opportunity for First Nations to address common questions, increase program understanding, and build capacity for completing the Nominal Roll report and the Joint Verification Process in partnership with local School Districts. Invitations for the webinars were sent at the end of July 2023. If you did not receive an invitation and wish to participate, please contact the Education Programs team at bceducation@sac-isc.gc.ca.

First Nations Education Coordinators are also invited to attend the full day Nominal Roll and Joint Verification Process In-Person Workshop, to be held in Vancouver on September 15, 2023, hosted by ISC and the FNESC.

August 31 and October 15

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

The due date for submission of the Annual Register of Post-Secondary Education Students (for the 2022-23 fiscal year) was on August 31, 2023. For First Nations with elementary/secondary students in their communities, the due date to submit the Nominal Roll Student Census Report (for 2023-24 school year) to ISC is October 15, 2023, for which the enrollment count date for students is September 29, 2023. The process of completing the Nominal Roll report also includes providing to ISC the following: confirmation of completing the Joint Verification Process, a copy of new Local Education Agreement(s), if applicable, as well as applications for any new student accommodations requests. For questions regarding ISC’s education programs, reports, or for access to the Education Information System (EIS), please email the ISC BC Education Programs team at bceducation@sac-isc.gc.ca.

September 2023

First Nations Infrastructure Program Modernization

ISC is engaging with First Nations communities and partner organizations to seek feedback on the development and delivery of a more holistic approach to infrastructure services in order to close the on-reserve infrastructure gap by 2030.

The purpose of these September engagement sessions is to hear directly from First Nations communities what changes are needed to the delivery of infrastructure programming in BC Region to ensure the program better aligns with the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The session will focus on:

  1. Modernizing & amalgamating the current suite of infrastructure programs;
  2. Providing flexibility through potential alternative investment approaches along with new financial tools; and,
  3. Improving a number of the department’s existing guidelines and policies, including the procurement policy.
Dates Location
September 18 & 19 Nanaimo (Vancouver Island)
September 20 & 21 Chilliwack (Fraser Valley)
September 25 & 26 Prince George
September 27 & 28 Virtual Session

 

We welcome the participation of Chief and Council as well as First Nations Band Managers, Health Directors, Finance Managers and Technical Staff or anyone with an interest in providing feedback on ways to improve service delivery of ISC infrastructure programs. For more information, please contact Naut’sa mawt Event Management at events@nautsamawt.com.

October 24-26, 2023

Comprehensive Community Planning (CCP) workshop

This October, First Nations from across BC (and beyond) will come together to share lessons learned and best practices around Comprehensive Community Planning (CCP) in their communities. This 2.5-day workshop provides information on how to make CCP work with your community. CCP Coordinators, Planners, Administrators, Leadership, and Youth from First Nations in BC involved or interested in CCP are invited to come together to:

  • Learn how to lead a successful CCP process
  • Share planning stories and lessons learned
  • Ask questions and find support
  • Get inspired!

For more information about this workshop and to register, please visit the Comprehensive Community Planning website.

Information from our Partners

More Project Opportunities will Support Resilient Communities

Rural and remote communities, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations can submit applications to fund projects that strengthen and diversify their economies. The second intake of the Province’s Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP) opened July 4, 2023 and closes October 30, 2023. The REDIP is a new grant launched by the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation (JEDI). The Government of BC is investing up to $33 million this year to support projects that promote the following: economic diversification, resilience, clean growth opportunities, and infrastructure development.

New Funding Expands Support for Indigenous Food Sovereignty

More Indigenous communities will benefit from the Province’s announcement on increased funding for food sovereignty, food security and Indigenous-led agriculture. The Indigenous Food Sovereignty Program will support more sustainable food production, community food security, and enhance participation in the agriculture and food sectors for Indigenous communities and businesses. The new $30-million program will also support infrastructure such as greenhouses, irrigation systems, community gardens and food storage.

The program call out is now open. For more information, please visit: Food Security & Sovereignty - New Relationship Trust. Further information can also be obtained by contacting the New Relationship Trust at 1-877-922-3338, or by email at admin@nrtf.ca.

Province Launches New Initiative to Protect People during Extreme Heat Emergencies

People in BC, especially those most at risk of health impacts from extreme heat emergencies, will be better protected as the Province expands access to air conditioners for people who are medically vulnerable and have low incomes. The Province is providing $10 million for BC Hydro to expand its Energy Conservation Assistance Program to include free, publicly funded portable air conditioners (AC), meaning people who are the most vulnerable during extreme heat emergencies will have access to more cooling options to stay safe. For information about BC Hydro’s portable air conditioner program, visit: https://www.bchydro.com/powersmart/residential/rebates-programs/savings-based-on-income/free-product-install-and-advice.html.

Note: On-reserve residents can apply for this program. For further clarification of program requirements, please contact BC Hydro.

BC 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

Updating the Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water in First Nations Communities

ISC, in consultation with First Nations partners, is updating the Protocol for Centralised Drinking Water Systems in First Nations Communities. The Protocol outlines standards for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, management and monitoring of centralised drinking water systems. A copy of the Draft Updates to the Protocol was mailed in late July 2023. The document is also available online.

Up until December 2023, the BC Region welcomes your feedback as well as that of the technical staff responsible for the operation of your water system(s). This input will be used to further update and improve the Protocol. For additional information, to share your comments, or to set up a session to discuss the draft updates to the Protocol, please contact Ted Molyneux, Senior Water Engineer, at 604-817-1253 or email protocolsh2o-protocolsh2o@sac-isc.gc.ca. Feedback is due by December 15, 2023. Thank you for helping to build a guiding document that responds to First Nations needs and priorities, and better supports the provision of safe, clean and reliable drinking water.

Evaluation of ISC’s Economic Development Program

ISC is seeking community feedback and input on an evaluation process for the Department’s Economic Development programs. A survey was emailed out during the week of August 21 by the ISC Economic Development team asking for interest to participate in a community-based evaluation oversight group as well as to provide general data collection. This survey will close on September 15, 2023, and if you have not received an email, and are interested in participating, please email the economic development inbox at bcecdev@sac-isc.gc.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 anytime before November 2023.

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.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act 2023-28 Action Plan

The UN Declaration Act Action Plan, developed in consultation and cooperation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis from across Canada, was released on June 21, 2023. The Action Plan includes 181 actions Canada will take in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to achieve the objectives of the UN Declaration. While the development of the Action Plan was led by Justice Canada, it represents a whole-of-government effort, as illustrated by the 28 federal departments and agencies identified as leads for different measures in the Action Plan. Its release marks an important milestone in our collective journey of reconciliation and is a foundational step toward achieving lasting, transformative change for Indigenous Peoples in Canada. To read and learn more about the Action Plan, visit www.canada.ca/Declaration.

Contact information

We would also 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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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

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO FEB 12!

FNPSS is hiring one full-time Communications Officer to support the First Nations Public Service Secretariat initiative within the First Nations Summit Society.

As a member of the FNPSS team, the FNPSS Communications Officer will be responsible for developing, writing, overseeing implementation of, and evaluation of the FNPSS Communications Strategy, and other project-specific communications strategies on behalf of FNPSS.

Join a small team with big ideas! Gain valuable experience working with leaders across British Columbia. The Communications Officer can expect to be a liaison with BC First Nations, other levels of government and partner organizations. FNPSS supports BC First Nations in their pursuit of excellence in public service by delivering capacity building programs and training.

Apply now: ow.ly/perq50QtLyu
... See MoreSee Less

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO FEB 12!

FNPSS is hiring one full-time Communications Officer to support the First Nations Public Service Secretariat initiative within the First Nations Summit Society.

As a member of the FNPSS team, the FNPSS Communications Officer will be responsible for developing, writing, overseeing implementation of, and evaluation of the FNPSS Communications Strategy, and other project-specific communications strategies on behalf of FNPSS.

Join a small team with big ideas! Gain valuable experience working with leaders across British Columbia. The Communications Officer can expect to be a liaison with BC First Nations, other levels of government and partner organizations. FNPSS supports BC First Nations in their pursuit of excellence in public service by delivering capacity building programs and training. 

Apply now: https://ow.ly/perq50QtLyu

LAST WEEK TO APPLY!

FNPSS is hiring one full-time Communications Officer to support the First Nations Public Service Secretariat initiative within the First Nations Summit Society.

As a member of the FNPSS team, the FNPSS Communications Officer will be responsible for developing, writing, overseeing implementation of, and evaluation of the FNPSS Communications Strategy, and other project-specific communications strategies on behalf of FNPSS.

Join a small team with big ideas! Gain valuable experience working with leaders across British Columbia. The Communications Officer can expect to be a liaison with BC First Nations, other levels of government and partner organizations. FNPSS supports BC First Nations in their pursuit of excellence in public service by delivering capacity building programs and training.

Apply now: ow.ly/perq50QtLyu
... See MoreSee Less

LAST WEEK TO APPLY!

FNPSS is hiring one full-time Communications Officer to support the First Nations Public Service Secretariat initiative within the First Nations Summit Society.

As a member of the FNPSS team, the FNPSS Communications Officer will be responsible for developing, writing, overseeing implementation of, and evaluation of the FNPSS Communications Strategy, and other project-specific communications strategies on behalf of FNPSS.

Join a small team with big ideas! Gain valuable experience working with leaders across British Columbia. The Communications Officer can expect to be a liaison with BC First Nations, other levels of government and partner organizations. FNPSS supports BC First Nations in their pursuit of excellence in public service by delivering capacity building programs and training. 

Apply now: https://ow.ly/perq50QtLyu

FNPSS is hiring one full-time Communications Officer to support the First Nations Public Service Secretariat initiative within the First Nations Summit Society.

As a member of the FNPSS team, the FNPSS Communications Officer will be responsible for developing, writing, overseeing implementation of, and evaluation of the FNPSS Communications Strategy, and other project-specific communications strategies on behalf of FNPSS.

Join a small team with big ideas! Gain valuable experience working with leaders across British Columbia. The Communications Officer can expect to be a liaison with BC First Nations, other levels of government and partner organizations. FNPSS supports BC First Nations in their pursuit of excellence in public service by delivering capacity building programs and training.

Apply now: ow.ly/perq50QtLyu
... See MoreSee Less

FNPSS is hiring one full-time Communications Officer to support the First Nations Public Service Secretariat initiative within the First Nations Summit Society.

As a member of the FNPSS team, the FNPSS Communications Officer will be responsible for developing, writing, overseeing implementation of, and evaluation of the FNPSS Communications Strategy, and other project-specific communications strategies on behalf of FNPSS.

Join a small team with big ideas! Gain valuable experience working with leaders across British Columbia. The Communications Officer can expect to be a liaison with BC First Nations, other levels of government and partner organizations. FNPSS supports BC First Nations in their pursuit of excellence in public service by delivering capacity building programs and training. 

Apply now: https://ow.ly/perq50QtLyu
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