Strategic Partnerships Initiative: Overview

In June of 2009, the Government of Canada released the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development (the Framework). The Framework provides for a focused, government-wide (whole-of-government) approach to better align federal investments, respond to new and changing economic conditions and lever partnerships in order to address persistent barriers that impede the full participation of Aboriginal people in the Canadian economy.

To advance the strategic priorities of the Framework, the government launched the Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI) in June 2010. The SPI is an innovative program designed to increase Aboriginal participation in complex economic development opportunities, particularly in the natural resource sectors where projects are emerging at an unprecedented rate across the country.

The SPI provides a mechanism for federal partners to collectively prioritize and sequence investments, assess and make project approvals, leverage non-federal sources of funding, monitor progress and report on outcomes. With significant investments in major projects anticipated in the next 10 years, SPI will focus increasingly on supporting community economic readiness activities so that communities are better prepared to engage with partners and participate fully in these developments.

Before the SPI, funding decisions were typically made individually by federal departments and agencies and in isolation of a broader strategy. Now, federal partners can make collective investment decisions and address any gaps in existing programs that would otherwise limit or exclude Aboriginal participation in complex economic development opportunities. This approach also stimulates partnerships with other levels of government, industry and Aboriginal communities.

How does the program work?

Federal partners to the program identify emerging economic opportunities across the country which are complex and require the involvement of multiple federal departments. A lead department, in collaboration with other key federal partners, then develops a proposal which identifies key deliverables and outcomes to be achieved with SPI funding, taking into consideration federal programming that may already exist to support Aboriginal participation in the identified opportunity.

The proposals, including funding allocations, are approved by a senior-level inter-departmental investment committee. Work plans are then developed, in collaboration with Aboriginal communities and other partners, to identify the specific activities to be undertaken with the SPI investment that will advance the deliverables and outcomes set out in the proposal.

This innovative approach eliminates the need for clients to navigate multiple application processes across federal departments in order to obtain funding to participate in a particular economic opportunity. This approach is particularly beneficial in providing a single-window for supporting Aboriginal participation in major resource development projects, due to the number of federal departments and agencies that play a role.

Investments are prioritized based on the extent to which they meet a number of criteria and objectives, including:

Who delivers the program?

The SPI is administered by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, however 14 other federal departments and agencies play a lead role in investment decision-making and implementation of initiatives under the program, including:

What information is available?

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