Indian Government Support Programs

First Nations have assumed primary responsibility for delivering programs and services to their members. The Indian Government Support programs contribute to the ongoing costs of First Nation governments and institutions while also providing tools and support to help First Nation governments and institutions build on their capacity to govern.

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About the programs

The Indian Government Support programs were created in the early 1980s to provide core funding to First Nation governments and tribal councils. The goal was to help these organizations assume administrative control over major programs such as education, housing and social assistance. These programs were formerly delivered by departments such as Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) or Health Canada.

Today, First Nations have assumed administrative responsibility for not only the vast majority of INAC programs but also a wide range of other federal and provincial programs in addition to many municipal-type services.

INAC provides governance and administration support to First Nation governments and Aboriginal organizations and institutions through four distinct but related grants and contributions programs, collectively known as the Indian Government Support programs:

Tools for governance

Practical tools are available to organizations seeking to improve their internal governance processes.

The Governance Capacity Planning Tool can help a community design a plan based on its priorities, specifically in the area of governance. The tool helps a community recognize its strengths in governance, identify areas for further improvement, and design projects that support its long-term goals.

Governance tools for communities include self-assessment tools which can be used to set priorities for organizational capacity development, guidebooks, and examples of policies used in First Nations communities.

Governance tools for institutions are useful for larger organizations, such as First Nations institutions and crown corporations. Many of these resources are based on models of governance used in the Canadian federal government.

Governance reference documents are created by many organizations, such as AFOA Canada, and are made available through their websites.These documents are useful for strengthening core governance.

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