Federal Interlocutor's Contribution Program

Terms and Conditions

1.0 Introduction

The role of the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians was created in 1985 during the Aboriginal Constitutional Conferences of 1983 to 1987 in response to negotiations with Métis and non-status Indian political leaders seeking constitutional protection for their peoples and rights, with the purpose of providing a direct liaison between the Government of Canada and their national Aboriginal organizations to discuss their priority issues. The role was limited by federal legal and policy position that provinces are primarily responsible for Métis and off-reserve Aboriginal people.

The role has evolved from being the point of first contact between Métis and non-status Indians (MNSI) and the federal government (the bilateral political relationship with the Métis National Council and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples) and the advocate in Cabinet for consideration of MNSI issues and concerns (1985) for the purposes of working towards achieving practical ways of improving MNSI socio-economic conditions to also be the Minister responsible for self-government negotiations with Métis and off-reserve Aboriginal organizations under the policy Federal Approach to the Implementation of the Inherent Right and Negotiation of Aboriginal Self-government; the Minister responsible for federal co-ordination of the UAS; and the lead for the Government of Canada's response to the Supreme Court's R. v. Powley (2003) decision (2004).

Many Aboriginal Canadians continue to live in poverty, without the tools required to build a better future for themselves or to participate in the Canadian economy. Aboriginal people as a whole rate well below national averages on key socio-economic indicators of well being and success. Aboriginal people also are more likely than average to experience conditions associated with social disadvantage and marginalization. Their chances of dropping out of school, being unemployed, living in poverty, being supported by social assistance, being homeless or living in substandard housing, contracting or dying from AIDS and other infectious diseases, being incarcerated or in conflict with the law, and being the victims of serious accidents and violent crimes, are much higher than Canadian norms. Current statistics indicate that approximately 70% of Canada's Aboriginal population lives off-reserve, with almost 50% living in urban centres.

The importance of federal-provincial-Aboriginal relations in helping to meet federal objectives for Aboriginal people who do not reside on-reserve, was confirmed by the present government during the campaign for the 2006 election, and at the 2007 annual general assembly of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. In addition, a recent evaluation of the Federal Interlocutor's Contribution Program approved at the Audit and Evaluation Committee meeting of February 28, 2008 found that the program remains relevant as a result of the growing size and importance of the off-reserve population, the persistent gap in socio-economic well-being among Métis and non-status Indians compared to the non-Aboriginal population, and the fast evolving legal situation regarding Métis rights with its potentially significant policy and jurisdiction implications. The post-Powley Initiative's strategy of accommodation and engagement with other federal departments, provinces and Métis organizations was deemed the appropriate one in a legal climate that is still highly uncertain. In addition, evaluation findings indicate that the tripartite tables, involving the federal government, the respective provincial governments and the Métis organizations in the respective jurisdictions were successful in their ability to develop lasting, positive relationships among the stakeholders, especially with respect to the federal-provincial relationships, which allowed these two stakeholders to sidestep the jurisdictional debate which has traditionally prevented federal and provincial governments from cooperating on off-reserve issues.

2.0 Legal and Policy Authority

Order dated July 2004 authorizing the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to Act as Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians.

3.0 Purpose, Program Objectives and Expected Results

The strategic outcome of the Office of the Federal Interlocutor is the socio-economic well-being of Métis, non-status Indians and urban Aboriginal people.

The objective of the Federal Interlocutor's Contribution Program is to help to build capacity, and to maintain a relationship based on trust and respect between Métis and non-status Indian people and the Government of Canada. This is achieved by: maintaining political relations with their representative organizations; acting as the point of contact within the federal government; acting as an advocate of their issues within Cabinet; entering into contribution agreements to help to build organizational and institutional capacity; and, building stronger linkages with provincial governments.

In order to achieve these objectives, the Program supports work with Métis, non-status Indian and off-reserve Aboriginal organizations towards:

  • achieving practical ways of improving Métis and non-status Indians socio-economic conditions,
  • increasing self-reliance, and
  • reducing dependency.

In particular, contributions will assist national, provincial and regional organizations in furthering their self-governance aspirations by enabling them to:

  • participate in bilateral discussion processes with the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians (Federal Interlocutor) on their priority issues;
  • participate in tripartite self-government negotiations with federal and provincial governments (including implementing governance initiatives and enumeration of individuals that may be covered by self-government agreements off a land base);
  • capacity building (to enhance the professional development of personnel enabling more effective representation of their interests negotiation processes, meetings with the Federal Interlocutor and other federal Ministers);
  • electoral reform and financial accountability projects (to enhance accountability to membership and to federal government); and
  • specific projects to recognize Métis contributions to Canada.

In the Program Activity Architecture, this authority is listed under Office of the Federal Interlocutor/Métis and Non-Status Indian Organizational Capacity Development and Métis Rights Management.

4.0 Eligibility

Contributions may be made to any non-profit:Footnote 1 Métis, non-status Indian, or other off-reserve Aboriginal organization or institution; or other non-aboriginal organizations or institutions, including professional research organizations,Footnote 2 which is:

  • participating in bilateral or tripartite processes with the Office of the Federal Interlocutor; or
  • completing projects for, or delivering initiatives consistent with the objectives pursued by the Office of the Federal Interlocutor at the national, provincial, regional or urban level for the benefit of Métis, non-status Indian people or off-reserve Aboriginal people;
  • and which meets further criteria established by the Office of the Federal Interlocutor for the various categories of funding related to the Federal Interlocutor's objectives.

Eligible Initiatives and Projects

Bilateral Processes

The government created the role of the Federal Interlocutor in 1985, in the context of the Aboriginal Constitutional Conferences of 1983 to 1987 as a means of ensuring a direct liaison with the two national Aboriginal organizations representing Métis, non-status Indians and off-reserve status Indians. The Métis National Council was derived from the former Native Council of Canada. Upon the creation of the Métis National Council, the remaining membership of the former Native Council of Canada formed a parallel organization — the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

Recipients:
  • The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP)
  • The Métis National Council (MNC)
General Objective:
  • To provide a forum where these two national Aboriginal organizations can meet with the Federal Interlocutor and other federal representatives to discuss their priority issues with respect to the people they represent.
Typical Activities:
  • Staffing activities, — provision of reasonable amount of salary dollars to provide; capacity to maintain an effective bilateral relationship;
  • conducting research;
  • developing positions, policy papers, and other matters internal to the organization;
  • conducting other preparatory work for meetings;
  • preparing for, and participating in, meetings with federal ministers and other federal representatives;
  • participation in federal — provincial processes, such as the FPTA;
  • support for litigation and interventions, such as legal research and legal fees; and
  • consulting membership and affiliated organizations.
Tripartite self-government processes
Recipient:
  • Recognized representative and accountable provincial and regional Métis and off-reserve Aboriginal organizationsFootnote 3 affiliated with either the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples or the Métis National Council; or
  • Other recognized representative and accountable provincial and regional Métis and off-reserve Aboriginal organizationsFootnote 3 which demonstrate a capacity to meaningfully participate in tripartite discussions.
General Objective:
  • To enable provincial and regional Métis and off-reserve Aboriginal organizations, residing south of the 60th parallel, to participate in tripartite negotiations with the federal and provincial governments in the pursuit of practical arrangements which would enable these organizations to achieve greater input into, and control over, programs and services that are of importance to the people they represent.
  • Negotiations may contemplate a variety of approaches to self-government off a land base. A variety of approaches may be considered, including:
    • forms of public government;
    • devolution of programs and services;
    • the development of institutions providing services; and,
    • arrangements in those subject matters where it is feasible to exercise authority in the absence of a land base.
Conditions:
  • Participation of the respective provincial government.
  • Provincial financial cost-sharing (not less than 50%) for institutional development, and on an equal basis for enumeration and tripartite processes. A cost-sharing letter is required for tripartite processes.
Typical Activities:
  • conducting research and developing positions on program alternatives;
  • preparing for, and participating in, meetings or negotiations with federal and provincial governments;
  • developing communication strategies and products and carrying out communications activities including consultations with appropriate stakeholders, governments, and communities;
  • developing tripartite agreements;
  • enumeration of those individuals who may be covered by self-government agreements;
  • supporting cultural and social institution, such as conducting preparatory work and providing for transitional cost incurred just before or after a governance initiatives is to be implemented; and,
  • establishing evaluation and reporting processes.
Building Capacity, and Electoral and Financial Accountability
Recipients:
  • Any non-profit:
    • Métis or non-status Indian institution or organization
    • off-reserve Aboriginal institution or organization or,
    • other appropriate Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal institution delivering an initiative or project, in accordance with the general purpose of this fund.
General Purpose:
  • To develop and strengthen skills and build capacity of Métis and off-reserve Aboriginal organization and institutions, so that they may: better represent and be more accountable to their members; or, be more effective in providing programs and services to Métis and non-status Indian people.
Typical Activities:
  • training and professional development ventures;
  • preparing for, and participating in, federal and provincial initiatives;
  • preparing for, and participating in, partnering initiatives with provinces, municipalities, non-government organizations and the private sector, such as apprenticeship arrangements, internships and interchange opportunities with the private and pubic sector;
  • preparing for, and participating in, Aboriginal workshops, conferences, information-sharing, and community consultations;
  • developing communication activities and projects;
  • conducting research and developing policies;
  • developing financial accountability; and
  • electoral reform, such as development of processes and voters lists.
Recognizing Métis Contributions to Canada
Recipient:
  • Any non-profit Métis or non-status Indian institution or organization or other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal institution delivering an initiative or project in accordance with the general purpose of this fund.
General Purpose:
  • To recognize Métis contributions to Canada, past and present.
Typical Activities:
  • special events to recognize the contributions of Métis and non-status Indian veterans
  • construction of monuments, special display in museum, etc. that recognize Métis historical events
  • national and regional award ceremonies
  • films, videos or television shows on Métis culture, role models and history.
Identification of Métis and Métis Harvesters

In response to the Powley decision, workFootnote 4 in keeping with the funding objectives, will continue with representative Métis organizations (see eligible recipients below) for the period ending March 31, 2015. Support under this funding stream is only available to organizations (and their national organizations) which have or are undertaking work to build objectively verifiable membership systems for identifying Métis harvesters and members.

Recipient:
  • Métis National Council and its provincial affiliates; Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and its provincial affiliates with substantial Métis membership; or, other provincial representative and accountable Aboriginal organizations with significant Métis membership that meet the eligibility requirements of the Federal Interlocutor's Contribution Program.
General Objective:
  • Project-based funding to assist Aboriginal organizations with substantial Métis memberships to identify Métis harvesters and members, on a priority basis, through the development of objectively verifiable membership systems, based upon the criteria for Métis as set out in the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R. v. Powley. This round of support consists of three components:
    1. The establishment of objective and verifiable Métis member and harvester identification systems;
    2. Development of common standards and practices across organizations; and
    3. The enhancement of governance systems, mechanisms and accountability
Eligible Activities

(Note: Separate proposals are required for each component for which support is sought, and applicants may not necessarily be funded for all components):

  1. The establishment of objective and verifiable Métis member and harvester identification systems.
    • Development of standards and procedures to achieve cost effective, efficient and objectively verifiable membership and harvester systems (e.g., registration, review and appeals, standardized membership or harvester codes, securing information, development of secure identification);
    • Membership and harvester database development (including IT and software system development, maintenance and upgrade)
    • Genealogical research for harvester and member verification
    • Registration of members and harvesters
    • Development of sustainability options so that harvester and membership systems are not solely dependant on federal funding
    • Communications with members and harvesters with respect to the membership system.
  2. Development of common standards and practices across organizations developing objectively verifiable membership systems to ensure overall consistency of approaches to the identification of Métis harvesters, the accommodation of Métis harvesting.
    • Development of genealogical standards between organizations
    • Development of common definitions, documents, standards and procedures between organizations
    • Development of agreements and protocols for the recognition of Métis registered under one membership system by another
    • Development of software systems that interact to aid with the mobility of Métis members or harvesters inter-provincially.
    • Federal-provincial-Métis discussions (where the federal government is a party) with respect to the identification of Métis and harvesting by Métis; the identification of Métis harvesters; ways and means to accommodate Métis harvesting, or other matters flowing from the Powley and related decisions (e.g., potential areas of overlap between Métis and First Nations or Inuit; research findings);
    • Communications and consultations with membership, First Nations, Inuit or other stakeholders on matters pertaining to harvesting or the accommodation of Métis harvesting.
    • Development of common core Métis genealogical database
  3. The enhancement of governance systems, mechanisms and accountability that support the long-term stability and democratic representativeness of eligible recipients and the identification systems being developed
    • Measures to strengthen electoral, financial and management accountability and controls.
    • Policy development and ratification of measures in the organization's constitution to enhance accountability, legitimacy and representatively;
    • Development of provincial Métis appeal (judicial) mechanisms to resolve internal issues, including membership disputes;
    • Policy and procedure development to strengthen democratic electoral processes and mechanisms, including reviewing and refining voters' lists based on new membership or harvester identification system, review and updating of existing bylaws or constitutions, electoral reform, improved accountability of leadership to the electorate
    • Development of cost-efficient and sustainable electoral appeals (judicial) processes and mechanisms;
    • incremental improvements in the electoral process, such as arms-length chief electoral officer, increased number of poll stations, review and refinement of electoral code, codified appeal procedures
    • Communications and consultations with membership with respect to any of the above activities.

5.0 Type and Nature of Eligible Expenditures

All eligible costs must be directly applicable to the purpose of the contribution agreement and must be incurred by the Recipient in the period described in the contribution agreement.

The types of expenditures that are allowable will be specified in the contribution agreements. As these agreements will provide for different initiatives, the types of expenditures must be flexible. Eligible expenses may include, but are not limited to: salaries and benefits; professional and other services; honoraria; travel expenses similar to the current federal Travel Directive; administration; and office equipment rentals.

Administration costs are allowable of up to a maximum of 15% of the direct costs of undertaking the agreed upon activities.

Some ineligible costs include: core funding (i.e., the operations and maintenance of the organization or institution as a whole); profit to the Recipient; and land and building costs. Specifically, any indirect costs or core-like costs that are not directly related to the costs of undertaking the agreed upon activities; honorariums, bonuses or offsets of salaries or wages of full-time paid elected leaders; salaries or fees of full-time paid elected leaders for responsibility of these issues; lobbyist fees or payments; litigation costs, or any legal costs not specified in the work plan; travel costs beyond those provided for per Treasury Board guidelines (includes meal rates, airfare, mileage, train, bus, hotel etc.); employee benefits beyond normal practice (i.e., CPP, UIC, employer's share of health plan); support of AGA costs is limited to official delegates, and no greater than the approximate portion activities supported by this funding form of the overall business of the AGA; consultant professional registration fees or liability insurance; contract fees not calculated and billed on a daily or hourly basis for defined products; or costs incurred by individuals running for elected office.

6.0 Total Canadian Government Funding and Stacking Limits

The maximum level of Total Government Assistance (federal, provincial and municipal assistance for the same eligible expenditures) for this program will not exceed 100% of eligible expenditures.

To ensure the federal policy position contained within The Government of Canada's Approach to Implementation of the Inherent Right and the Negotiation of Self-Government on provincial participation and cost-sharing is respected, federal funding provided under this component of the Program is contingent on provincial funding for a similar purpose being equal to, or greater than that provided by the Federal Interlocutor, with respect to the tripartite self-government negotiation processes and any related activities, such as enumeration of Métis and identification of Indian people off a land base and governance implementation.

This stacking limit(s) must be respected when assistance is provided.

In the event that actual Total Government Assistance to a recipient exceeds the stacking limit, it will be necessary for the department to adjust its level of assistance (and seek reimbursement, if necessary) so that the stacking limit is not exceeded.

The Program will require all potential recipients to disclose all sources of funding for a proposed project before the start and at the end of a project.

7.0. Method for Determining the Amount of Funding

The Program is proposal driven, and proposals are accepted throughout the fiscal year. The amount of funding is determined by completing an assessment of the proposed project objective, activities, and budget against the Program Terms and Conditions, then negotiating with the Recipient the exact required amount of funding in order to achieve the proposed project objective.

All Policy Officers in the Office of the Federal Interlocutor have responsibility for ongoing relationships and negotiations with client groups. These Officers are the point of first contact for organizations. As such, they have responsibility for the assessment and negotiation of work plans as well as participation in the selection process of the projects (peer review) that recommends them for approval.

8.0 Maximum Amount Payable

The maximum amount payable per recipient is $10,000,000 per fiscal year.

9.0 Basis on Which Payments will be Made

Where it is essential to the achievement of Program objectives and specifically provided for in the agreement to be entered into between the Federal Interlocutor and the Recipient, advance payments of the federal government's share of the allowable expenditures may be made in accordance with the cash management provisions of the Policy on Transfer Payments. Holdbacks on advances are set out based on the risk assessment and past history with the organization and will range from 5%, for very low risk groups to 10%. In any other case, progress payments will be issued to reimburse the Recipient for expenditures made.

Recipients of a contribution must meet and continue to meet the specific terms and conditions of the contribution agreement prior to payments being made.

Recipients will be required to submit one or more detailed financial statements of revenues and expenditures. Recipients must account for the use of the funds to meet eligible expenditures and report on the results actually achieved. In addition, Recipients must account for all the funds received from all sources for a given project.

Contributions are paid on the basis of achievement of performance objectives or as reimbursement of expenditures incurred and in accordance with Policy on Transfer Payments, Appendix B, section ii — Advance Payments of Contributions. The first payment will commence upon receipt and acceptance by the Federal Interlocutor of:

  1. the Recipient's work plan;
  2. the Recipient's budget for the activities to be funded, including all sources of revenue and items of expenditure;
  3. where advance payments are necessary, the Recipient's cash flow schedule for all revenues and expenditures related to the budget; and
  4. In the case of the tripartite self-government negotiations financial support, proof of provincial funding that is equal to or greater than that provided by the Federal Interlocutor to support the Recipient's work plan.

The second, third and fourth quarterly payments will require the Recipient to provide a financial statement and progress report summarizing how the funds were spent in a manner consistent with the purpose for which they were provided.

The final payment, will be made only after the Federal Interlocutor is satisfied that the Recipient has met all the requirements of the contribution agreement, and on receipt and acceptance by the department of a final financial report(s) and/or financial statement(s). Payments will be made in accordance with the Policy on Transfer Payments.

10.0 Application Requirements and Assessment Criteria

Applications for funding require the following documents:

  • Most recent version of the Applicant's Constitution, By-Laws and Letters Patent
  • A listing of the Applicant's Current Executive and Board Members
  • A proposal or work plan that includes:
    • a cover page with the name of the organization, the period of the project, the date submitted, and the name, title and address of the individual submitting the proposed project;
    • a brief overview of the overall objectives of the proposed project;
    • a detailed articulation of the objectives of the activities to be conducted under the project, and measurable results to be reached;
    • a budget; and
    • a cash flow statement, in relation with the project.
    • The most recent audited financial statements.

11.0 Due Diligence and Reporting

The Office of the Federal Interlocutor provides assurance that all departmental systems, procedures and resources for ensuring due diligence in approving payments under this Program, and in verifying eligibility and entitlement and for the management and administration of the Program are in place.

Audit Arrangements:

Contributions are subject to audit to ensure that all conditions, both financial and non-financial, have been met.

All Recipients will be required to submit financial statements prepared by independent professional auditors at the end of the fiscal year for review and acceptance by the Federal Interlocutor.

The Manager responsible for this Program will determine whether a Recipient has complied with the requirements of the applicable contribution agreements. All contribution agreements will include an audit clause that will enable the Program Manager to conduct an audit of a Recipient, when deemed necessary, in accordance with the Policy on Transfer Payments and the "Guide on the Audit of Federal Contributions", published in 1982.

Where a Recipient has not complied with the requirements of the applicable contribution agreement, the Federal Interlocutor or a designated representative will, as appropriate, implement the following measures normally in the following order:

  1. request the Recipient to submit an action plan indicating how the Recipient intends to address deficiencies along with periodic status reports to monitor implementation of the action plan;
  2. via written notice to the Recipient, terminate, suspend or reduce the scope of the Federal Interlocutor's obligations under the contribution agreement; and
  3. upon termination, suspension or reduction of the scope of the contribution agreement, demand repayment of all or part of the funds already paid and seek any other appropriate legal or equitable remedy.

Recipients will be informed of the right to audit provisions of the Auditor General Act. The Auditor General has the power to inquire into the use of a transfer payment, and the Auditor General can undertake performance or compliance audits with respect to the use of federal funds, and for the recipient to make records and information available to the Auditor General.

Departmental Review Process:

In the case of the tripartite self-government negotiations where provincial cost-sharing is required, including enumeration of Métis and identification of Indian people living off a land base who may be covered by self-government arrangements and governance implementation, the Federal Interlocutor must be satisfied that the federal government's total contribution is an amount not greater than the contribution provided by the respective provincial government, for a similar purpose.

Performance Measurement Strategies are being developed for all programs, consistent with the requirements in the Policy on Transfer Payments, as part of the phased-in approach to implement the renewed Policy on Transfer Payments.

12.0 Official Languages

Where a program supports activities that may be delivered to members of either official language community, access to services from the recipient will be provided in both official languages where there is significant demand and Part IV of the Official Languages Act is applicable. In addition, the department will ensure that the design and the delivery of programs respect the obligations of the Government of Canada as set out in Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

13.0 Intellectual Property

Where a contribution is provided for the development of material in which copyright subsists, conditions for shared rights will be set out in the funding agreement.

14.0 Repayable Contributions

Given that all recipients of the Federal Interlocutor's Contribution Program are non-profit organisations, contributions are not intended to generate profits and are not repayable. Any money remaining from an advance payment at the end of a contribution agreement, and the amount of any disallowed disbursements are debts due to the Crown, and must be repaid by the recipient. Interest will be charged on overdue repayments.

15.0 Redistribution of Contributions

Where a recipient delegates authority or further distributes contribution funding to an agency or a third party (such as an authority, board, committee, or other entity authorized to act on behalf of the recipient), the recipient shall remain liable to the Department for the performance of its obligations under the funding agreement. Neither the objectives of the programs and services nor the expectations of transparent, fair and equitable services shall be compromised by any delegation or redistribution of contribution funding.

Recipients have full independence in the selection of such third parties and will not be acting as an agent of the government in making distributions.

16.0 Other Terms and Conditions

None

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