Grants to Land Claim Organizations, Self-Government Agreement Holders and First Nations Organizations to Support Harvesting of Country Foods
On this page
- Legal and policy authority
- Harvesters Support Grant funding streams
- Expected results
- Type of activities and nature of eligible expenditures within the communities stream
- Program administration
- Assessment and approval process
- Performance reporting
- Total Canadian government funding and stacking limits
- Method for determining the amount of funding
- Maximum amount payable
- Basis on which payments will be made
- Due diligence and reporting
- Official languages
- Intellectual property
- Other terms and conditions
- Effective date of terms and conditions
In recognition of the importance of country foods traditionally harvested by Indigenous peoples, including through hunting, fishing, and gathering to the nutrition, food security, culture and traditions of Indigenous communities serviced by the Nutrition North Canada Program, the Government of Canada has created a Harvester's Support Grant (HSG) to subsidize the collection and production of these foods. The purpose of this grant is to support food sharing within the immediate community by increasing the number of community harvesting and food sharing initiatives as well as the number of harvesters of engaging in these activities.
The Government of Canada has a long history of supporting isolated Northern communities by subsidizing the cost of providing healthy food beginning in the late 1960s through Canada Post's Northern Air Stage Program, later re-cast as the Food Mail Program in 1991 when it became the responsibility of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) now Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC). It was replaced by the Nutrition North Canada (NNC) program on April 1, 2011. NNC also introduced, for the first time, a nutrition education component delivered by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) given that there are a number of factors that influence healthy eating beyond food cost.
The vast majority of the people in these isolated communities are Indigenous people, in the south, most are First Nations reserve communities and in the north, there are historic Inuit, Metis and First Nation communities. Within communities of mixed Indigenous/non-Indigenous populations, Indigenous peoples have significantly lower incomes and higher unemployment, positioning them as a vulnerable population within an isolated community. Harvesting rights are protected Indigenous rights with provisions made in every jurisdiction to accommodate that right. Indigenous people have never stopped exercising these rights, although these traditions have been increasingly impacted by development.
The Indigenous transition from living on the land to living in permanently settled communities coincided with transitions in local economies and the onset of social and economic inequities, making access to country foods more challenging. This along with the growing impact of climate change has led to a shift in diets with increased reliance on market foods, with negative consequences for many Indigenous families and communities. The issue of food security in Indigenous communities is situated within the larger context of Canada's responsibilities regarding the well-being of all Canadian citizens.
As a result of engagements with Northerners held during 2016-17, Indigenous harvesting of country foods was identified as an important component of healthy living, nutrition and food security in communities served by the Nutrition North Program. Rising costs of equipment and fuel in these locations was identified as a primary barrier to accessing this food supply and the financial support of these activities was identified as 1 of a series of recommended improvements to the NNC Program.
The Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and is committed advancing a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government‑to‑government relationship with Modern Treaty and self‑governing First Nations and Inuit. As such the Harvester's Support Grant has been designed to balance NNC accountabilities to the public with the accountabilities of Indigenous Governments and organizations to their citizens and the capacities of the individual communities. As such, the Harvesters Support Grant will be delivered in the 2 streams, a land claim organization and self-government stream, and a communities stream.
2. Legal and policy authority
The Harvesters Support Grant is established by the Minister of Northern Affairs (''the Minister'') pursuant to the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Act, S.C. 2019, c. 29, s. 337. Section 11 states that ''A Minister of Northern Affairs may be appointed by commission under the Great Seal to hold office during pleasure'' which is currently the case. Section 13 states that, ''The powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Northern Affairs extend to and include all matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction — and that are not by law assigned to any other department, board or agency of the Government of Canada — relating
- to Yukon, to the Northwest Territories or to Nunavut and its resources and affairs, and
- to policies, directives and programs with respect to the Canadian North''.
The Harvesters Support Grant relates to the objective of the Nutrition North Canada Program to help make perishable, nutritious food more accessible and more affordable than it otherwise would be to residents of eligible isolated Northern communities without year-round surface (road, rail or marine) access.
In its 2018 Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada announced, "To ensure that Northern families have access to affordable, healthy food, including local food, the Government proposes to invest $62.6 million over 5 years starting in 2019–20, with $10.4 million ongoing, in the Nutrition North Canada Program. This investment would help to support several program changes, informed by consultations with Northerners, and to introduce a Harvesters Support Grant to support Indigenous harvesters to engage in traditional hunting and harvesting activities and to support communities in distributing the harvest through food sharing mechanisms."
3. Harvesters Support Grant funding streams
The purpose of this grant is to support Indigenous harvesters to engage in traditional hunting, fishing and the harvesting activities that are a part of Indigenous food sharing traditions in isolated communities eligible for food subsidies under the Nutrition North Canada Program. By supporting harvesters to begin to engage, further engage and re-engage in these activities and by also supporting food sharing mechanisms within communities, it is expected that traditional activities that supply traditional country foods will increase over time.
3.1 Land claim organizations and self-government stream
Funding is provided in the form of a 5-year grant to regional Indigenous governments, self-government agreement holders and land claim organizations with a finalized agreement, in keeping with Government of Canada Commitments to government to government relationships and the honouring of modern treaties.
In keeping with the federal government's reconciliation objectives of supporting Indigenous self-determination, the objective is to allow these governments to determine the best use of Harvesters Support Grant to meet the needs of their citizens, whether it be through supporting their existing programs, developing new programs, seeking to partner with another organization, or through direct delivery.
Grant Agreements will be negotiated with each entity within this stream to establish payment frequency and expected results over the 5-year period of the agreement.
Consistent with the objectives of the Harvesters Support Grant, minimum reporting requirements will include number of harvesters, number of community harvests and numbers of existing country food sharing activities mechanisms or initiatives to be supported at the outset of the grant period as well as a demonstration that funding support results in increases in numbers of harvesters, community harvests and country food sharing activities over the agreement period.
3.2 Communities stream
Funding is also provided to eligible First Nations organizations in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland who represent isolated NNC communities in these provinces in the form of a grant.
4. Expected results
The desired result of this proposal is to increase the harvesting of country foods in eligible Indigenous communities where these activities result in a portion of the harvest being made available to community food sharing traditions and initiatives and mechanisms, for the use of the immediate community.
It is not within the objectives of the program to support broader commercialization of harvesting activities beyond the local community, or to support recreational hunting and fishing conducted by individuals who are not resident members of the community.
5.1 Eligibility criteria for the land claim organizations and self-government stream
Funding is provided in the form of a grant, with yearly installments for each of 5 years set out in advance, to regional governments, self-government agreement holders and land claim organizations where:
Based on recommendations from the Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board, NNC will invite land claim and self-government entities to and enter into grant agreements where the following requirements are met:
- Be party to a finalized agreement or agreements detailing an interest in or control over harvesting rights
- Land Claims Organizations with harvesting rights that are recognized within the province or territory and who have signed an agreement in principle supporting the negotiation of a land claim agreement
- Contain, within their harvesting jurisdiction, 1 or more communities eligible for NNC subsidy
- Have established and documented mechanisms for supporting accountability to their citizens
- Have published financial statements for the preceding 5-year period meet financial performance standards as established through agreement with Canada
5.2 Eligibility criteria for the communities stream
On the recommendation of the Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board, NNC shall issue an invitation to First Nations organizations to submit regional proposals to the Harvesters Support Grant where the organization can demonstrate:
- A proven history of proficiently delivering federal government programming to 1 or more communities which are:
- Communities which are eligible for subsidies under the Nutrition North Canada Program
- Communities which are isolated and reliant on air transportation for food and supplies for a minimum of 8 months per year
- Effective community representation as demonstrated by membership of represented communities on management boards or other decision making body that is integral to the operation or financial governance of the organization
NNC will consult with First Nations and/or tribal councils to ensure these organizations can effectively represent the interests of the communities in the delivery of the HSG. Upon agreement, NNC will confirm financial eligibility in consultation with other federal department(s) for whom the recommended organization delivers programming. This financial eligibility will be based on:
- At minimum, a 5-year history of the sound management of 1 or more federal programs as supported through a contribution agreement or grant agreement, without default, as confirmed by the federal department with accountability for that program;
- Audited financial statements for the preceding 5-year period that meet financial performance standards as established through agreement with Canada;
If approved, the organization becomes eligible to receive funding through this stream on April 1 of the subsequent fiscal year. Ongoing assessment will take place to ensure that recipients continue to meet the eligibility criteria on an annual basis.
Organizations mandated for the purpose of supporting the commercial fur trade, sport hunting, individual recreational hunting, or other purpose inconsistent with the goals of the Harvesters Support Grant will be ineligible to receive funding under the communities stream.
5.4 Application requirements and application process for the communities stream
First Nations Organizations shall submit a letter of application on invitation from Nutrition North Canada, providing contact information of a federal official who is able to provide information concerning the performance of the organization in delivering federal programming and authorizing NNC to access the financial performance organization over the previous 5 years.
NNC will request information on the organization's financial performance and performance of the organization in delivering the objectives of federal programs as well as their compliance with program terms and conditions.
NNC shall issue a letter of acceptance to each applicant organization, outlining the total number of years of grant eligibility and total maximum grant amount for which the organization is eligible.
Eligible organizations will work with the member communities to gather the requirements, including proposed expenditures, food sharing requirements and results expected. Requests from individuals are not to be accepted unless accompanied by written approval of band council or other traditional body created to govern communal harvesting rights.
Eligible organizations will consolidate these requirements into a single proposal which complies with the eligible categories of expense listed in Section 6. Expected results shall be described for the region along with a listing for food sharing requirements for harvesters within the region.
6. Type of activities and nature of eligible expenditures within the communities stream
Recipients shall undertake to coordinate funding that supports hunting, fishing, trapping and harvesting of county foods for consumption of individuals within the community and in support of community-based food sharing initiatives and shall be accountable to these communities for the design and delivery of mechanisms to support those outcomes. Communities forming part of the proposal shall ensure that community requests reflect the needs of harvesters designated by the community and who will make a portion of the harvest available to community food sharing initiatives to a minimum level established by that community.
Conditions, targets and outcomes will be articulated in regional harvesting proposals developed in partnership with communities within the recipient catchment area.
The following are considered the type and nature of the eligible activities and expenditures in determining the amount of the grant:
6.1 Transportation and related capital investments
Capital investments up to $25,000 per community per grant proposal, in off-road transportation, such as utility boats, outboard motors, all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles required to reach harvesting locations within traditional areas are eligible. Costs of travel to remote hunting grounds are eligible to a maximum of 50% of total cost. Fuel for off-road vehicles and outboard motors is an eligible expense.
6.2 Maintenance of equipment
Investment directed to the maintenance, repair and rehabilitation of off-road vehicles and boats used for harvesting activities as well as the repair, maintenance and rehabilitation of equipment used for harvesting activities or equipment used for the purposes of processing, and storage of harvested foods are eligible. Additional eligible expenditures in this category include tools, parts, and labor costs of certified repair persons.
6.3 Harvesting equipment
Equipment required for a range of harvesting activities is eligible, including fishing equipment, picking and plant and berry harvesting items and supplies are eligible.
6.4 Temporary shelter and outdoor clothing
Funding for the purchase, repair and maintenance of tents, cold temperature bedding, portable cooking equipment, outdoor clothing and footwear, and other equipment supporting lengthy harvesting excursions is eligible.
6.5 Safety and rescue equipment
The purchase of protective equipment required for the operation of and transport by boats and off-road vehicles (such as, certified floatation devices, certified helmets etc.), as well as the purchase of equipment required supporting safety of individuals engaged in harvesting activities in remote locations (in other words GPS locators, satellite phones, and other related items) is eligible.
6.6 Training, certification and education
The costs of providing formal in-community training and certifications required to support harvesting activities are eligible, including Firearm safety training and certification, hunter safety training, operator training and licensing for watercraft and off-road vehicles are eligible. Where these are more effectively and efficiently conducted in a central location, travel costs advance authorization may be granted by NNC.
6.7 Traditional knowledge, practices and techniques
The costs associated with training new harvesters in traditional practices, in traditional ecological knowledge and traditional harvesting and processing or preparation techniques are eligible where they support harvesting, food sharing or processing of harvested goods.
6.8 Processing, food preparation and storage
Items required for the processing of country foods and by-products (such as butchering and dressing equipment, hide preparation and finishing), food preparation (preservation equipment and consumables) and the storage of foods (freezers, smokers, refrigerators) are eligible where they support a community food sharing initiative.
6.9 Maintenance of harvesting sites
Supplies and equipment required for the maintenance of harvesting sites including clearing and trail maintenance equipment (chainsaws, axes, cutters, and other related items) are eligible items.
6.10 Innovation in harvesting
On occasion, recipients may identify activities or equipment needs which have impacts, uses or benefits which accrue to both traditional harvesting and beyond to a broader community benefit. Where such projects or equipment requirements are identified and have an associated cost beyond $5,000, a request for exception, detailing how the proposed expense links to the stated objectives of the Harvesters Support Grant may be submitted in writing to the NNC program for consideration.
6.11 Research and innovation
By written agreement of the NNC organization, eligible recipient organizations may support research projects or innovative approaches related to increasing the knowledge of country foods and harvesting traditions within their catchment area, solely or in partnership with other organizations eligible for Harvester Support Grant funding. These initiatives may include wildlife management and stewardship, food security research and assessment or other topics directly related to traditional harvesting. A maximum of 10% of total regional allocation may be dedicated to these projects to a limit of 1 such project every 5 years.
7. Program administration
Applicant organizations within the communities stream may assign a maximum amount up to the equivalent of 15% of total proposal funding to the administration of the Harvesters Support Grant including costs associated with assembling regional proposals, financial reporting and results reporting across all communities within their region as well as any expenses related to community support in developing food sharing initiatives.
8. Assessment and approval process
In reviewing and recommending the grants payable to First Nations and First Nations organizations within the communities stream for harvesting activities within eligible communities within their respective catchment areas, the department will assess the extent to which the project supports and advances the objectives of the Harvesters Support Grant and Nutrition North Canada priorities with respect to nutrition and health in eligible communities, and the extent to which the proposal can result in increased access to country foods in NNC-eligible communities.
In reviewing and selecting grant recipients and approving proposals, the department will normally consult, when appropriate, with other federal departments, and Indigenous representative organizations. The following factors will be considered:
- Where applicable, the level of support of community and Indigenous governments and other stakeholders relevant to the proposal
- The extent to which the proposal supports the harvesting of country foods within the catchment area of the organization and will result in increased numbers of harvesters and community harvesting events
- The extent to which the proposal supports traditional harvesting activities and the transmission or restoration of traditions and practices, including the restoration of harvesting networks and practices within networks of communities
- The extent to which the proposal supports traditional food sharing activities and mechanisms of food sharing
- The nature of the proposal, its cost-effective aspects, the manner in which the proposed activities will be developed, implemented and monitored
- Where the recipient is an Indigenous organization, the extent to which activities within the proposal are enhanced by the core activities of the organization
- The ability of the applicant to carry out the activities within the specified time frame and budget
- Where applicable, the quality of the performance measurement strategy and the evaluation component
- The innovative nature of the proposal, where applicable
- Department's previous experience in working with the organization or the experiences of other federal departments with which the organization works, the degree of collaboration, and the quality of and success of the project(s)
9. Performance reporting
The department will assess and take into consideration the likelihood that the funded activities will provide concrete results during its assessment process. Where appropriate, the department may require recipients to develop an evaluation framework identifying sub-activity outputs, target group, beneficiaries, methodology, performance indicators, and potential results.
Recipients will be required to report on the activities undertaken as a result of the funding provided, including results and impacts. The information provided will be used for performance measurement purposes. The department will endeavour to keep reporting requirements at a minimum but sufficient to support the departmental performance measurement framework.
Consistent with the objectives of the Harvesters Support Grant, minimum reporting requirements will include number of harvesters, number of community harvests and numbers of existing country food sharing activities mechanisms or initiatives to be supported at the outset of the grant period as well as a demonstration that funding support results in increases in numbers of harvesters, community harvests and country food sharing activities over the proposal period.
10. Total Canadian government funding and stacking limits
Total federal government assistance for the same purpose shall not exceed 100%.
11. Method for determining the amount of funding
The annual amount of funding for each region is established in year 1 of the funding agreement, based on a combination of analysis of NNC community-level data and consultation.
12. Maximum amount payable
The maximum amount payable to any recipient within the land claim organization and self-government stream will be $4,500,000 per year.
The maximum amount payable to any organization within the communities stream will be $1,000,000 per year.
13. Basis on which payments will be made
To meet the objectives of the grant, to maximize flexibility and predictability, within the land claim organization and self-government stream a single installment will be made available at the beginning of each fiscal year provided the eligibility requirements and terms and conditions of the funding agreement are met.
Within the communities stream, installments will be determined for each recipient based on financial eligibility assessments and proposals submitted.
14. Due diligence and reporting
The department has in place systems, procedures and resources for ensuring due diligence in issuing transfer payments and for verifying ongoing eligibility and terms and conditions of the funding agreement including: regular verification of financial performance.
To ensure full transparency within the Harvesters Support Grant, total grants amounts awarded to each recipient will be posted on the Nutrition North Canada website and will be updated on a quarterly basis.
14.1 Land claim organizations and self-government stream
In keeping with the federal government's reconciliation objectives of supporting Indigenous self-determination, the objective is to allow these governments to determine the best use of Harvester Support Grant funds to meet the needs of their citizens, whether it be through supporting their existing programs, developing new programs, seeking to partner with another organization, or through direct delivery. A memorandum of understanding will be negotiated with each organization or, in the case of Inuit communities, with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) to implement a co-developed method of reporting on results.
14.2 Communities stream
In addition to the monitoring of the eligibility criteria, the adherence to terms and conditions of the funding agreement will be verified, including provisions to Canada of the following:
- Regional harvesting proposals – including priorities for each community, desired outcomes and their associated performance measures, set by the communities within their catchment areas; and
- Annual audited financial statements and annual reports
- The above documents will also be made available to member communities
- Grant recipients will also provide data to the department for a minimum set of indicators consistent with the Departmental Results Framework and program reporting structures
15. Official languages
Where activities may be delivered to member of either official language community, access to services from the recipient will be provided in both official languages where there is significant demand and Part IV of the Official Languages Act is applicable. Federal employees in regional offices in designated bilingual regions have the opportunity to work in the official language of their choice as per part V of the Official Languages Act and are encouraged to do so with consideration to the language rights of recipients. Regional offices in designated bilingual regions as well as headquarters provide opportunities for recruitment where appropriate, of both English and French speaking Canadians; taking into account the needs of recipients in these regions as per Part VI of the Official Languages Act.
16. Intellectual property
Where a grant is provided for the development of material in which copyright subsists, conditions for shared rights will be set out in the funding agreement.
17. Other terms and conditions
18. Effective date of terms and conditions
These terms and conditions will come into effect on January 1, 2020.
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