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Indigenous Forestry Initiative

Applications to the Indigenous Forestry Initiative can be submitted year-round.

Table of contents

What is the Indigenous Forestry Initiative?

The Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI) provides funding to support Indigenous-led economic development in Canada’s forest sector. The funding aims to increase Indigenous participation in forestry-related opportunities, businesses, careers and governance.

In June 2017, the Government of Canada expanded the IFI with an additional $10 million in funding over three years (2017 – 2020) from the Softwood Lumber Action Plan.

Types of eligible projects

The scope of projects funded by IFI is broad, with three general categories:

  • Environmental stewardship
  • Use and Management of forest resources
  • Participation in the forest bioeconomy (e.g. biomass for heat/energy; pellet manufacturing, etc.).

Examples of types of activities that IFI funds include:

  • Preparing plans/assessments that cultivate economic opportunities in forestry;
  • Training and skills development to support forestry projects;
  • Business planning, including startup or expansion;
  • Development of forestry related tools, technology, products, and services.

Note: Natural Resources Canada has other funding programs to promote participation in the forest bioeconomy to reduce reliance on diesel fuels.  See the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities (CERRC) program for more information.

Tips for developing a project

When preparing your application, consider the following questions and tips to help you develop your project scope:

  • Can you work with more than one partner on your project? Will your project benefit your community or partner as well as other Indigenous communities? Although you only need one partner to be eligible, having more than one can help promote your project’s success and provide opportunities for your community or organization that extend beyond the scope of your project.
  • Can the project be completed in one year, or is it better to carry it out over multiple years? Are you missing any elements for successfully implementing the project? Carefully consider your timelines and path from project development to completion.
  • How does your project fit with other planned activities in the region? Is your project part of a broader plan for natural resource development? Consider where you can connect with other projects or initiatives that might be happening around you.
  • Does your project have the foundation work required to be successful? The program can fund foundation elements such as business plans and feasibility studies.

Who can apply for funding?

Applicants must meet certain criteria and projects must have at least one partner.

Eligible applicants:

  • Indigenous communities and governments such as:
    • Band and tribal councils
    • Governments of self-governing First Nations
    • Local governments of Inuit communities
    • Métis organizations
    • Economic development corporations
    • National and regional Indigenous organizations.
  • For-profit and not-for-profit corporations, partnerships, joint ventures, associations, co-operatives and institutions that are Indigenous or majority-owned and controlled by Indigenous people or endorsed by an Indigenous partner organization or community.
  • Provincial, territorial, municipal, and regional governments working with an Indigenous partner organization.
  • Academic institutions and research associations working with an Indigenous partner organization.

Partnership Requirement

To be eligible for IFI funding, you must have at least one partner who has agreed to contribute financially or in-kind to the project. Examples of possible partners include federal or provincial and territorial government, industry, or research organization.

If you have questions about eligibility or partnership, please contact a regional liaison officer.

How to apply

step 1

Step 1: Email us for the application package

The application package includes the applicant guide and the application. To get a copy, send an email to the IFI email with the words “Applicants’ Package” in the subject line. In the body of the email include:

  • Contact first and last name
  • Contact telephone number
  • Contact email address
step 2

Step 2: Fill out your application and email it to us

  • Review the application and applicant’s guide to understand IFI’s purpose and eligibility criteria.
  • Call a regional liaison officer. They can give you more information about the IFI program, talk about your project ideas, and help determine if your project fits the IFI eligibility criteria.
  • Complete the application form and email it to the IFI email.
step 3

Step 3: Applications will be evaluated and applicants notified

  • Only applications that meet the Program’s two eligibility criteria will be evaluated (eligible applicant and at least one partner).
  • Eligible applications will be evaluated based on the information provided in the application, and the evaluation criteria outlined in the applicant’s guide.
  • We will notify you if your project is successful to move to the next phase. A Regional Liaison Officer will contact you to discuss the next steps.
  • If your application is not approved you will be notified. You can request to have a regional liaison officer contact you to discuss your application.

Contact us: List of regional liaison officers

If you have questions about the IFI, you can contact a regional liaison officer.

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