Residential Schools Missing Children Community Support Fund: Program Guidelines

Learn about the program guidelines for the Residential Schools Missing Children Community Support Fund.

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Objectives and expected results

The objective of the Residential Schools Missing Children Community Support Fund is to support Indigenous partners and communities in designing and implementing community-led and Survivor-centric initiatives seeking to locate, document, and memorialize burial sites associated with former residential schools. As well as honour families' wishes to bring children's remains home.

Application deadline

Proposals, including a completed application, workplan, detailed budget, and cashflow forecast can be submitted to the department throughout the fiscal year for current and future year funding. The department will publish an annual deadline for applications for current fiscal year requests, including expenses incurred back to April 1 of the current fiscal year. Annual deadlines for current year funding applications will be based on departmental fiscal deadlines and posted on the Residential Schools Missing Children Community Support Fund webpage.

If your community or organization wishes to submit a funding request, please complete the application and provide as much detail as possible for your proposed activities and budgets. We encourage communities and organizations to engage with a program representative prior to the completion of an application. Should you wish to be contacted by a program representative, please submit an email request to:

Who can apply

Communities, groups and organizations that are eligible for funding include:


In order to be eligible for this program, initiatives must demonstrate a connection to a former residential school included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement or the Newfoundland and Labrador Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (Anderson).

Eligible initiatives include efforts to:

In-depth examples of eligible initiatives:

For information on the eligibility of activities supporting the physical identification and repatriation of human remains, please contact:

Eligible expenses

In order to be considered for funding under this program, all costs must be directly linked to the delivery of the approved activities. The maximum amount payable per year is $3 million. Eligible expenses must be flexible and responsive to the broad range of community needs, realities, and priorities. They include:

Further eligible expenses details can be found in Annex A: Expense categories and items.

Ineligible expenses

Ineligible expenses under this program are any costs not directly related to the approved activities and include:

How to download the application, open and fill out the PDF application form

Instructions for PC Users

  1. Find the link to the PDF form you wish to download.
  2. Right-click the link and select Save as link or Save target as.
  3. Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the PDF form.
  4. Go to the file location where you saved the PDF form.
  5. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader® 10 (or a more recent version).
  6. Fill out and save your PDF form.

Instructions for Mac Users

  1. Find the link to the form you wish to download.
  2. Press the Control key (Ctrl) and click on the link.
  3. Choose Save link as or Download linked file as.
  4. Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the PDF form.
  5. Go to the file location where you saved the PDF form.
  6. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader® 10 (or a more recent version).
  7. Fill out and save your PDF form.

Application process

To complete the application process, please ensure you follow the below steps:

  1. Complete, sign and date an application package. This includes the application form, a workplan, detailed budget, and cashflow forecast. If you wish to obtain an application form and/or templates from the program, please submit an email request to:
  2. Attach all the required supporting documents (for example letter of support from Chief and Council, Tribal Council/Organization).
  3. Submit your application to the following email address:

What to expect after you submit your funding request

The program team will confirm receipt of your application via email within 2 business days. Once the program has received your application, a Program Officer will be assigned to review your initiative and will contact you to set up an introductory meeting to discuss the goals and objectives of your initiative. Following the meeting, the Program Officer will review the budget to ensure it aligns with the program terms and conditions. In some instances, the Program Officer may be required to reach out for additional information and clarification of your initiative.

For application processing time, please contact the Program at the following email address:

Funding decisions

Decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are flexible.

A phased funding approach for your initiative may be suggested to guide subsequent phases such as fieldwork. The Program Officer will work closely with you to ensure you have adequate funding for engagement, research, and knowledge gathering to establish a path forward on your initiative. For this approach, the Program Officer can amend existing agreements to add additional funding for subsequent phases.

How funding is provided

The Program provides funding in the form of a contribution.

A contribution is a conditional payment issued to your organization or group for a specific purpose, as outlined in the funding agreement. The funding agreement is signed by your community or organization, and by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At a minimum, the Program will require activity and financial reports from the recipient. CIRNAC understands that these projects are priorities for communities and can be time-sensitive. As such, the department will try to expedite the creation of a new funding agreement, or amend an existing funding agreement to include this new funding, whenever possible. There are various options to receive the funding depending on the existing agreements in place with CIRNAC or Indigenous Services Canada (ISC):

1. If you have an existing agreement with CIRNAC or ISC, the program will initiate an amendment to your existing agreement.

2. If you do not have a current agreement with CIRNAC or ISC, the program can:

  1. Create a new funding agreement with CIRNAC. To create a new agreement with CIRNAC, the department will require the following documents:
    • incorporation documents and bylaws
    • indigenous organization's financial signing authority (Chief and Council for Bands; Chief Executive Officer, Chair, or Board of Directors for non-governmental organizations)
    • a void cheque
    • the most recent audited financial statements or annual financial reports performed by a certified accountant
    The approximate time for adding a new recipient is at least 4 to 6 weeks.
  2. Amend an agreement of an existing Indigenous recipient receiving CIRNAC or ISC funding. In this option, an applicant can partner with an Indigenous community or organization to flow program funding through an existing agreement with CIRNAC or ISC. For more information on this option, please reach out to your Program Officer.

Workplace well-being

The Government of Canada is strongly committed to promoting healthy workplaces where harassment, abuse and discrimination are not tolerated. Organizations that receive funding from CIRNAC must take measures to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse and discrimination.

Official languages requirements

We are committed to taking positive measures to enhance the vitality of official language minority communities and to promote the use of English and French in Canadian society. If you receive funding, you agree to comply with the official languages requirements set out in your application and your funding agreement.

Acknowledgement of financial assistance

If you receive funding, you must publicly acknowledge, in English and in French, the financial support received from us in all communications materials and promotional activities. Additional requirements may be included in Section 27: Communications Related to Funding and Section 29: Public Disclosure of your funding agreement.

Impact Assessment Act

If you receive funding, your project may be subject to the provisions of the Impact Assessment Act.

If your activities are to be carried out on federal lands, we will contact you for additional information prior to the start of your project.

Access to information requests

We are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you submit in your application may be disclosed in accordance with the acts.

Disclosure of information

By submitting your funding application, you authorize CIRNAC to disclose any information submitted with this application within the Government of Canada or to outside entities for the following purposes:

Audits of recipients and evaluation of the program

We reserve the right to audit your accounts and records to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of your funding agreement. We also conduct periodic program evaluations, during which you may be required to present documentation.

You must keep any records, documents, or other information that may be required to perform the audit or the evaluation for 5 years. Demonstrated failure to maintain such records may result in the repayment of amounts previously received.

Contact us

For further information please contact Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada by email:

Annex A: Expense categories and items

Expense category: Ceremonies and gatherings


  • ceremonial gifts
  • ceremony or gathering operating costs (materials and supplies, including COVID related expenses)
  • honoraria
  • insurance / permits / licenses
  • refreshments
  • site clean-up
  • site security
  • site venue expenses
  • technical support (visual, sound and lighting)
  • venue rental
  • other (specify)

Expense category: Community engagement sessions / workshops


  • honoraria and ceremonial gifts
  • materials and supplies
  • outreach expenses
  • refreshments
  • venue rental
  • workshop or seminar costs

Expense category: Cultural and emotional supports


  • cultural material and supplies
  • Elder Services
  • health support worker
  • Traditional Healer Services

Expense category: Environmental and search technology costs


  • environmental assessment costs
  • search technologies (ground penetrating radar, LiDAR)
  • site preparation costs
  • site protection (for example security costs, fencing)
  • site clean-up
  • workshop or seminar costs
  • other (specify)

Expense category: Equipment


  • Custom programming
  • rental or purchase of equipment (for example laptops, computers)
  • repair and maintenance
  • software purchase
  • other (specify)

Expense category: Meetings (project coordination, advisory council/committee, partners)


  • honoraria
  • materials and supplies
  • photocopying
  • printing
  • refreshments
  • translation
  • venue rental

Expense category: Memorial / commemorative spaces and markers


  • design and planning fees
  • excavation and site preparation costs
  • installation costs
  • materials and construction
  • restoration costs
  • other (specify)

Expense category: Professional and consultant fees


  • accounting fees (specifically for the project only, if not, accounting fees go under administration expenses)
  • audit fees (eligible only if an audit is required by the program)
  • communication/consultant firm
  • legal fees (specifically for the project only)
  • archaeologist, anthropologists, genealogists, forensic experts, investigators
  • archivists / researchers
  • forensic experts
  • honoraria
  • information technology
  • investigators
  • monument / plaque designs
  • project management fees
  • speakers
  • other (specify)

Expense category: Promotion and communication


  • advertising
  • information pamphlets
  • marketing design and promotion
  • photographer
  • press conference costs
  • publishing/printing
  • signage
  • translation services
  • website development and maintenance
  • other (specify)

Expense category: Rent and utilities


  • meeting space rental costs
  • office space rental costs
  • storage space rental costs
  • associated utility costs
  • cell phone costs

Expense category: Research: archival, statement gathering and interviews


  • data storage
  • honoraria
  • material and supplies
  • photocopying
  • printing
  • recording equipment
  • refreshments
  • translation

Expense category: Salaries (applicable to individuals working full time, part time, seasonal or contractual and are within the payroll system of the recipient)


  • community Liaisons
  • coordinators
  • project manager

Expense category: Travel (transportation, meals and accommodation)


  • freight costs
  • local transportation (mileage, gas, taxi, bus)
  • travel and accommodation
  • other (specify)

Expense category: Volunteer participation expenses


  • accommodations
  • distinctive clothing
  • parking costs
  • refreshments
  • safety equipment
  • training costs
  • transportation expenses
  • other (specify)

Expense category: Administration (maximum 10 percent of total contribution amount)


  • accounting fees (when not specifically for the project)
  • general administration
  • general operating costs
  • material and supplies (office)
  • rental fees (office equipment)
  • salaries, fees and benefits
  • other (specify)

Limitations on eligible expenses

Ineligible expenses

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