Lands and Economic Development Services Program

It is well documented that lands and natural resources are among the most valuable assets held by First Nations and Inuit communities, and that their effective and sustainable use is critical for economic development, building partnerships with industry and maintaining strong relationships with other communities. Guiding federal efforts in advancing Aboriginal participation in the economy is the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development. The Framework has taken the approach that Government can assist in creating the conditions for Aboriginal economic development, but it cannot do it alone.

The Government has taken steps to unlock the economic potential of First Nations and Inuit lands through legislation and program reforms that allow communities to take greater control over land management.

In many cases, the land of a First Nation may be attractive for a major resource development initiative, but the community has yet to define land regulations and land laws to provide developers with the confidence to make investments.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) helps Aboriginal communities address these, and other issues, through the Lands and Economic Development Services Program (LEDSP).

The Lands and Economic Development Services Program helps Aboriginal communities address these and other issues to ensure that the community can effectively build and manage economic development activities. The Program has four components:

  • It provides funding allocations to First Nation and Inuit communities (and the organizations they mandate) to deliver economic development services on their behalf, such as community economic development planning and capacity development initiatives or proposal developments.
  • It provides funding allocations to help First Nations communities assume greater control over reserve land, resources, and the environment on behalf of the Minister and under the Indian Act. This includes control over land use planning, environmental management, and compliance.
  • It provides funding allocations to signatories of the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management, and those who are on the schedule for the First Nations Land Management Act, to help them build capacity to effectively manage their land using modern tools. These include land codes, individual agreements, land management systems, and environmental agreements.
  • It also makes available targeted funding for lands, environmental and economic development support services to help communities achieve the objectives of the Program. This includes services that prevent the contamination of reserve lands and other lands under AANDC's custodial responsibility.

What funds are available?

Two types of funding are available: core allocations; and targeted funding. Eligibility and program requirements differ according to the funding type. Targeted funding is available for initiatives related to: community economic development; and reserve lands and environmental management.

Core Allocations: Who is eligible?

  • First Nation and Inuit communities and their governments, including Tribal Councils (Inuit communities are only eligible for the economic development services component)
  • Other persons performing delegated land management functions under Sections 53 and/or 60 of the Indian Act on behalf of First Nations

Core Allocations: What activities are eligible?

  • economic development activities including (but not limited to) capacity development, community economic development planning, and the development of proposals to lever financial resources
  • support to First Nations who want to take on a broad scope of land and environmental responsibilities on behalf of the Minister, pursuant to sections 53 and 60 of the Indian Act, including land use planning, environmental management, and compliance
  • initiatives that support First Nations who are signatories of the Framework Agreement on First Nations Land Management, and on the schedule for the First Nations Land Management Act

Core Allocations: How can I apply?

Applications by eligible recipients are not required. Allocations will be provided on an annual basis commensurate with the level of responsibility for land management assumed under the Indian Act or the First Nations Land Management Act.

Eligible recipients seeking to increase their level of responsibility for land management must complete a readiness assessment for review by the Department.

Core Allocations: 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
  • professional, consulting, advisory, and other services (including fees, travel, and report production)
  • attendance at, or participation in, training and professional development programs, conferences, workshops, seminars, events and meetings, including (but not limited to) tuition, registration, travel, testing and evaluation
  • work experience, including travel
  • preparing, organizing, and delivering conferences, workshops, seminars, events, meetings and information sessions, including (but not limited to) room and equipment rentals, food and beverage, promotion, travel and the costs of presenters or facilitators
  • land surveys and appraisals
  • awareness and information sessions, training, and communications relating to environmental promotion and compliance
  • feasibility studies, marketing, advertising, and promotion
  • costs related to economic infrastructure such as, planning, design, identification, capitalization, and acquisition of rights and rights-of-way (core allocations only)
  • capital costs relating to the establishment, acquisition, expansion or modernization of an Aboriginal business

Core Allocations: 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

Core Allocations: Reporting Requirements

Recipients are responsible for meeting the reporting requirements set out in their funding agreement, within the established deadline (e.g., annual, semi-annual and/or quarterly) and with financial reports consistent with the Department's Directive 121 – Financial Reporting.

Recipients will be requested to submit data, schedules, plans, and reports in sufficient detail to enable AANDC to evaluate the effectiveness of the contributions. Recipients will report to AANDC using the Lands and Economic Development Community Profile Report (DCI# 471935). The applicable section to be completed is section D. This report serves both as an application requirement as well as a reporting requirement for the previous year.

Recipients receiving funding allocations under the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management will be required to submit a final report using the First Nations Land Management Report (DCI# 41740) at the conclusion of each fiscal year. Developmental First Nations will submit a report every 6 months under the Community Approval Process Plan (CAPP). They will also submit year-end financial statements using Lands and Economic Development Programs Project Status Report (DCI# 472939).