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Indigenous Forestry Initiative

Funding opportunity – update

Applications to the Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI) are accepted throughout the year, with submissions reviewed periodically, subject to the availability of funds.

Find out who can apply and how to submit an application through our new online system.

Notification of funding decisions are expected by the end of October 2020, for project applications submitted before August 20, 2020.

Contact the IFI team with your questions or if you are interested in taking part in a webinar on how to apply.

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

The program has $13 million of funding over 3 years to support projects across Canada.


Diversity and Inclusion

In Budget 2019, the Government of Canada called on its suite of forest sector competiveness programs to include measures to address gender and other representation gaps within the forest sector.

The IFI remains committed to supporting projects that help create a diverse and inclusive forest sector by increasing Indigenous participation in forestry-related opportunities, businesses, careers and governance.


What types of projects are eligible for funding?

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

  • Environmental stewardship
  • Forest resource use and management
  • Forest bioeconomy participation (e.g. biomass for heat/energy; pellet manufacturing, etc.)

Examples of IFI funded activities include:

  • Preparing plans/assessments that cultivate economic opportunities in forestry
  • Training and skills development to support forestry projects
  • Planning for businesses, including startup or expansion
  • Developing 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.


Who is eligible for funding?

  • 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
  • Indigenous (50% or greater ownership by Indigenous peoples) for-profit and not-for-profit corporations, businesses, joint ventures
  • Non-Indigenous not-for-profit entities working with an Indigenous partner
  • Provincial, territorial, municipal, and regional governments working with an Indigenous partner organization
  • Academic institutions and research associations working with an Indigenous partner organization

How to apply for funding

Step 1: Email us for the Applicant Guide

  • To get step–by-step instructions on how to apply online, send an email to the IFI team with the words “Applicant Guide” in the subject line. In the body of the email include:
    • Contact first and last name
    • Contact telephone number
    • Contact email address
  • Review the guide to understand IFI’s purpose and eligibility conditions

Step 2: Contact a regional liaison officer

Step 3: Create your online profile and complete your application

  • Register for GCKey and create a client profile (this is a one-time step)
  • Complete the online application form
  • The IFI will contact applicants after your submission is received

Next steps

  • The IFI Secretariat will review applications for eligibility and completeness
  • Eligible applications will be evaluated by an Expert Review Panel made up of subject-matter experts in the fields of Indigenous economic development, forestry and finance
  • Evaluation will be based on the information provided in your application and the assessment criteria outlined in the applicant guide
  • If your application is unsuccessful, you will be notified and you can ask to discuss the evaluation results

History of the program

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.

In Budget 2019, the Government of Canada announced a three-year $12.6 million expansion to the program for more and larger Indigenous-led economic development projects starting in 2020.


List of regional liaison officers

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

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