Community Opportunity Readiness

To take advantage of economic opportunities, an Aboriginal community must be ready in a number of ways. They may need start-up funds to undertake pre-development activities. They may need a partner or business leader who understands the involved industry. Or, they may need in-house expertise and management skills.

The Community Opportunity Readiness Program addresses the financial needs of Aboriginal communities when they are in pursuit of, and wish to participate in, an economic opportunity. The program is a consolidation of the former community economic opportunities program, the major projects investment fund, and the community-based components of the Aboriginal business development program.

By helping communities become equipped to participate in an economic opportunity, AANDC can increase the participation of Aboriginal people in Canada's economy overall and improve the prosperity of Aboriginal communities and individuals.

Who is eligible?

  • First Nation and Inuit communities and their governments, including Tribal Councils
  • Organizations and associations controlled by First Nation and Inuit communities, except those with charitable or religious purposes
  • Non-Aboriginal organizations and associations (except those with charitable or religious purposes) that plan to provide economic development services for the benefit of First Nation and Inuit communities
  • The Province of Ontario, as per the Canada-Ontario Resource Development Agreement

In exceptional circumstances, the Minister may also allow Community Opportunity Readiness Program contributions to other recipients for projects which have a significant impact on First Nations or Inuit communities.

What activities are eligible?

  • support to pursue economic opportunities and attract private sector funding, such as feasibility studies, marketing, advertising and promotion, planning, negotiations, legal, land surveys, and appraisals
  • support for community-owned businesses where there is an equity gap, such as for business advisory services and training, commercial development, and market development
  • community economic infrastructure development related to business development (but not related to a specific eligible business)

What expenditures are eligible?

  • salaries, wages, and benefits
  • travel
  • overhead, including (but not limited to) rent, utilities, supplies, accounting and audit services, and insurance
  • minor machinery and equipment
  • communications, including (but not limited to) content development, translation, dissemination, advertising, and signage
  • costs related to economic infrastructure such as, planning, design, identification, capitalization, and acquisition of rights and rights-of-way
  • capital costs relating to the establishment, acquisition, expansion or modernization of an Aboriginal business
  • land surveys and appraisals
  • professional, consulting, advisory, and other services (including fees, travel, and report production)
  • feasibility studies, marketing, advertising, and promotion
  • costs related to economic infrastructure such as (but limited to) planning, design, identification, capitalization, and acquisition of rights and rights-of-way
  • capital costs relating to the establishment, acquisition, expansion or modernization of an Aboriginal business

What expenditures are ineligible?

  • payments for services normally provided without charge (e.g., honoraria)
  • operation, repair and maintenance of economic or municipal infrastructure
  • economic infrastructure which has a reasonable expectation of capturing capital and operating costs through user fees and other means, and can function as a commercial enterprise
  • costs for services provided by a federal or provincial government
  • community infrastructure development unrelated to the development or expansion of commercial enterprise, such as public office buildings, recreation and friendship centers, gaming houses, and public halls
  • replacement of assets
  • creating or improving telecommunications infrastructure
  • costs related to alcohol, tobacco, gaming, and sexually exploitative activities

Funding Levels

The Department's funding levels for approved eligible projects will be based on the following criteria:

  • It will not exceed $3,000,000 for community economic infrastructure proposals.
  • It will not exceed $1,000,000 for business innovation/growth proposals.
  • It will be directly related to the community economic benefits for First Nation and Inuit communities.
  • It not exceed 66.67 per cent of the total eligible project cost for implementing community economic infrastructure projects and up to 60 per cent of eligible costs for a business opportunity.
  • It will not exceed 80 per cent of the total eligible project cost for all other projects.
  • It will be limited to the need for funding that has been demonstrated by the eligible recipient.

Potential funding recipients should also note that financial assistance will be commensurate with an assessment of the risk involved, the resources of the recipient, and the benefit to the First Nation and Inuit community. The Department will also generally determine funding on the basis that the amount and level are the minimum required to ensure that the project can proceed. In addition, assistance will only be provided toward initiatives that, in the opinion of the Minister, would not otherwise proceed in the proposed location, proposed scope, or proposed time without such assistance.

The stacking limit maximum level of funding to a recipient from all sources (including federal, provincial/territorial, and/or municipal) for any one activity, initiative, or project is 100 per cent of eligible costs.

How will my proposal be assessed?

Project assessments will be based on the following criteria:

  1. the project or activity's potential for generating net economic benefit to First Nation and Inuit communities in Canada;
  2. demonstrated management capacity and business expertise of the eligible recipient in relation to the project;
  3. ability of the eligible recipient to obtain commercial financing for the project;
  4. amount of any federal, provincial or municipal assistance or tax credit that is likely to be relevant to the project;
  5. resources of the eligible recipient that could reasonably be expected to be contributed to the project;
  6. probable cost of each job likely to be created or maintained for a First Nation and Inuit community person as a result of the proposed project;
  7. demonstration that the assistance is necessary to ensure that the project or activity proceeds with the desired scope and timing in the desired location;
  8. probable impact of the proposed project on other commercial operations;
  9. long-term viability of the proposed business opportunity;
  10. impact of the proposed project on the environment;
  11. relationship of the project to federal government national and regional economic strategies and priorities; and
  12. any other criteria that the Minister may deem appropriate.

Project approvals will be also based on the following criteria:

  1. The applicant must meet all requirements of an "eligible recipient".
  2. The project must meet all requirements of an "eligible project".
  3. Project expenditures to be funded by AANDC must be "eligible expenditures".
  4. The application must be complete and in sufficient detail commensurate with the level of funding being sought.
  5. The applicant must contribute 10 per cent of infrastructure development related to business development and business innovation/growth.
  6. The proposed project must generate community economic benefits, and these benefits should exceed AANDC contributions by a minimum ratio of 5:1.
  7. Community economic benefits normally include one or more of the following:
    • Community employment (full-time, part-time and seasonal);
    • Training of community members;
    • Contracts and purchases from community and member businesses;
    • Community business start-ups and expansions;
    • Community government revenues; and
    • Community infrastructure.
  8. Any conflicts between the proposed project and a specific or comprehensive claim have been adequately addressed.
  9. Projects which would bring the Program into disrepute should not be approved.
  10. "Eligible recipients" are in compliance with AANDC's Management Control Framework regarding audits, reporting, and other matters.

How can I apply?

Reporting Requirements

Recipients are required to submit data, schedules, plans, and reports in sufficient detail to enable AANDC to:

  1. assess the project's progress;
  2. carry out post-completion monitoring as outlined in the funding arrangement;
  3. evaluate the contribution's effectiveness; and
  4. assess the long-term viability of a business opportunity.

A monitoring plan must also be developed for each project to provide periodic information on the initiative's progress against the milestones proposed in the application. This plan will also be used to identify unanticipated risks or impediments to achieving intended results. The level of monitoring will correspond to the level of risk associated with the project. Progress and financial reports will also be required at a minimum on an annual basis. Lastly, recipients must submit a final report at the conclusion of a project, in keeping with the terms of the funding arrangements.

Forms and Other Helpful Information