Tribal Council Funding Program Manual

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Table of contents

1. Purpose of the Tribal Council Funding Program Manual

The Tribal Council Funding (TCF) Program Manual serves as a tool for tribal councils and for Indian Government Support (IGS) program officers responsible for implementing the TCF Program Policy.

The Manual ensures the efficient implementation of the program by describing the TCF Program Policy and its processes. It contains References to websites (Annex A), Case Studies (Annex B), and Checklists (Annex C).

The Manual has the following objectives:

1.1 How to Use This Manual

This document contains relevant portions of the program authority (Contributions to supply public services in Indian Government Support and to build strong governance, administrative and accountability systems – Authority 307 – henceforth referred to as the Program Terms and Conditions), program policy as well as program guidelines and appendices. When a document is cited, it should be viewed by following the link, in case changes have been made that are not reflected in this manual.

This manual is most effective when used in electronic format, as it contains hyperlinks to websites and to sections within this document. After viewing hyperlinked material, a quick combined keystroke of ALT and (left arrow) will return you to your previous location in the document.

2. Tribal Council Funding Program at a Glance

The Tribal Council Funding Program provides core funding to eligible tribal councils for core operations and for the delivery of aggregated programs, to develop the capacity of their member First Nations.

What the Program Terms and Conditions say:

1.0 Introduction

Context

The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development's (DIAND) involvement in governance programming is a matter of social policy that included the devolution of programs and services to First Nation and Inuit governments on a gradual basis. Strong governance and accountability of First Nations and Inuit governments and related institutions are fundamental to the prudent use of funds transferred from the federal government. These objectives are advanced by a series of measures: Employee pension and benefits plans to incent recruitment and retention of professional staff; the First Nations Fiscal Management Act institutions that provide fiscal services and products to First Nation communities; Tribal Councils that provide service and program delivery at an aggregated level to communities; and governance capacity development programs that provide training in sound governance.

(…)

Scope

The provision of core support to governance institutions and organizations is essential for sustaining this governance infrastructure now that it has been established. This includes three categories of contribution funding that were designed to complement the grant for Band Support Funding: (i) Employee Benefits which provides pension and benefit funding to Aboriginal employers delivering departmental programming, (ii) Tribal Council Funding which supports aggregate delivery of departmental programming, and (iii) ongoing support to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act Institutions.

(…)

2.0 Legal and Policy Authority

Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. I-6, s. 4
The Financial Administration Act, subsections 122 (1), 123 (1) and 124 (1).
First Nation Fiscal Management Act, S.C., 2005, c. 9

3.0 Purpose, Program Objectives, Expected Results

The targeted contribution described within these terms and conditions, and detailed in the table below, facilitate effective governance through the provision of support for recruitment and retention of employees (Employee Benefits), skills development (Governance Capacity Development), and governance infrastructure (Tribal Council Funding and First Nations Fiscal Management Act Institutions).

The purpose of these terms and conditions is to provide an integrated suite of contributions that support First Nations and Inuit communities' development and excising of effective governance practices.

Key performance indicators focus on the increase to the percentage of First Nations operating with a plan to develop governance capacity and First Nations free of financial intervention as defined by DIAND's Default Prevention Management Policy.

  Objective Expected Results
(…) (…) (…)
Tribal Council Funding** To enable Tribal Councils to develop the capacity of their member First Nations, as well as, provide aggregated program and service delivery as agreed to by their member First Nations. Expected results are stable, transparent and accountable aggregate service delivery organizations.
(…)

**For the purposes of the Tribal Council Funding program, a tribal council is defined as a grouping of First Nations with common interests who voluntarily join together to provide services to affiliated First Nations.
General

In the Program Alignment Architecture, this authority is listed under The Government / Governance and Institutions of Government and/or The Government / Co-operative Relationships.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

1. Effective Date

This version of the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy applies to all Tribal Council Funding agreements that take effect on or after April 1, 2017. Previous policies, directives and procedures related to the Tribal Council Funding Program continue to apply to Tribal Council Funding Agreements in effect up to March 31, 2017.

2. Legal and Policy Authority

Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. I-6, s. 4
The Financial Administration Act, subsections 122 (1), 123 (1) and 124 (1).
Contributions to supply public services in Indian Government Support and to build strong governance, administrative and accountability systems

3. Program Context

Tribal Council Funding provides core operational support to tribal councils to cover the administration and management costs associated with operating a regional service delivery organization.

This policy sets out clear roles and responsibilities for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Headquarters (HQ), regional offices, tribal councils and First Nations regarding the purpose, execution, and management of the Tribal Council Funding Program.

The Tribal Council Funding Program Policy strengthens transparency and accountability and ensures that resources are directed toward the more efficient and effective delivery of programs/services and capacity development of a tribal council's member First Nations by using a consistent national approach to funding tribal councils.

4. Program Objectives and Expected Results

Objective

The Tribal Council Funding Program supports the core operations of tribal councils to enable them to develop the capacity of their member First Nations, as well as provide aggregated program/service delivery as agreed to by their member First Nations.

Expected Results

The Tribal Council Funding Program is expected to support stable, transparent and accountable aggregate service delivery by tribal councils.

(…)

3. Roles and Responsibilities

The following table identifies the roles and responsibilities of headquarters and regional offices, as well as those of tribal councils and their member First Nations.

What Appendix A – Roles and Responsibilities of the TCF Program Policy says:

Governing Body Roles and Responsibilities
HQ
  • The Director General, Sector Operations Branch, is responsible for the overall administration of the Tribal Council Funding Program.
  • The Director General, Sector Operations Branch, or his/her delegate, develops and circulates all policy and procedures related to the program.
  • The Director General, Sector Operations Branch, or his/her delegate provides clarification and oversees the management of the program in accordance with the authority, by ensuring that reporting and accountability requirements are met.
  • The Director General, Sector Operations Branch, or his/her delegate, is responsible for the overall administration of the Indian Government Support System (IGSS), including providing regional support and training.
  • The Chief Financial Officer Sector is responsible for managing the allocation process for the Tribal Council Funding Program.
Regional Offices
  • The Regional Director General is responsible for the delivery, maintenance, monitoring and support functions associated with the implementation of this program.
  • The Regional Director General, in consultation with the Program at HQ, is responsible for recommending the approval of a new recipient to the Deputy Minister. The Regional Director General can recommend a new recipient earlier than 12 months under exceptional circumstances.
  • The Regional Director General or his/her delegate is responsible for meeting with the tribal council to discuss the impacts of changes in tribal council membership, as described in the tribal council Funding Agreement.
  • The Regional Director General or his/her delegate is responsible for meeting with the tribal council to discuss the impacts to changes in programs/services once the tribal council has provided a 12 month notice to the Department and to member First Nations of its intent to provide additional programs/services or to drop others. The Regional Director General can authorize implementation of program/service changes earlier than 12 months under exceptional circumstances.
  • The Regional Offices provide advice and guidance to tribal councils in interpreting this policy and the program guidelines.
  • The Regional Offices develop funding arrangements with tribal councils in accordance with the work plan requirements and funding formula.
  • The Regional Offices ensure that the terms and conditions of the policy and program guidelines are met by tribal councils.
  • The Regional Offices provide timely feedback to recipients regarding monitoring, review and actions required to address issues/concerns.
  • The Regional Offices are responsible for implementing program compliance when a tribal council does not meet minimum reporting standards.
  • The Regional Offices will gather, verify and update data in IGSS and report to Headquarters in accordance with the instructions provided by Sector Operations Branch.
Tribal Councils
  • Tribal councils are responsible for providing a 12 month notice to the Department of their intent to become new recipients of Tribal Council Funding.
  • Tribal councils must be incorporated under provincial or federal legislation and must maintain that status to be eligible for Tribal Council Funding.
  • Tribal councils are responsible for the delivery of programs/services and/or capacity development of their member First Nations, as designated by their member First Nations, for which they receive departmental funding.
  • Tribal councils ensure that all member First Nations are represented on the Board of Directors and take part in the decision making and ongoing review of program/service delivery.
  • Tribal councils provide information to member First Nations and the Department in a timely manner set out in:
    • an application (for tribal councils in a Block Contribution Agreement, this will be submitted for the first year of the Block Contribution)
    • a work plan (for tribal councils in a Block Contribution Agreement, this will be submitted for the first year of the Block Contribution)
    • a report
  • Tribal councils are responsible for providing a 12 month notice to the Department and to member First Nations of their intent to provide additional programs/services or to drop others, including changes in member First Nation affiliations, so they can plan accordingly.
Member First Nations
  • Member First Nations are to actively engage in determining the role(s), level of responsibilities, and level of service standards for the tribal council.
  • Member First Nations are responsible for providing a 12 month notice of their intention to withdraw from their affiliated tribal council, become affiliated with another tribal council or form a new tribal council, by means of a Band Council Resolution to both their tribal council and to the Department.
  • Member First Nations must have a representative on the Board of Directors of the tribal council.
  • Member First Nations are responsible for participating in the development, review and endorsement of their tribal council's work plan and report in a timely and efficient manner.
  • The Band Council or equivalent executive body of a First Nation party to a comprehensive self-government agreement given effect by an Act of Parliament is considered to be the authoritative voice that speaks for a member First Nation in the case of a dispute with its tribal council, which cannot be resolved within the tribal council's governance process, regarding matters related to the Tribal Council Funding Program.

4. Tribal Council Funding Program Processes

This section contains the processes that program officers follow for the TCF Program to function properly. It should be noted that some of the processes can be worked on simultaneously and can also overlap (e.g., the Application and Work Plan).

The Department's process for tribal councils to access, plan and report on all transfer payment programs is done with a single Application to obtain funding for various programs, a Work Plan, and a single Report to report on expenditures for said programs.

Regions are required to work with tribal councils to ensure they are informed of the policy requirements and be available to support tribal councils throughout the process.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

9. Monitoring and Reporting

(…)

Tribal councils are encouraged to work with their regional office to ensure that accurate data is available to fill out the application, work plan, and report.

Refer to Block Funding Agreements for information pertaining specifically to block funding.

4.1 Monitoring Changes (Year-Round)

Regions should be collaborating with tribal councils year-round to ensure that fluctuations between funding tiers are anticipated and captured, and communicated with headquarters.

As TCF is administered through the regions, budgets must be properly set up so that sufficient funding is made available. Regions must therefore take into account all changes in funding, including potential New Tribal Councils.

The way TCF is set up allows for tribal councils to move between tiers. These movements can occur when major changes are made within a tribal council (i.e., dropping or adding a program or member First Nation), but a minor change can also affect a tribal council's tier (i.e., an increase or decrease in population). Regions can project if tribal councils will move up or down, or remain in their current funding tier by confirming and monitoring the following three main factors:

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

6. Funding Process
Method for Determining the Amount of Funding

Funding levels will be determined by the value of eligible expenditures described in the tribal council work plan, and by the funding formula, which is calculated according to the following three factors:

  • the number of member First Nations;
  • the total on-reserve population of the member First Nations; and
  • the number of ongoing major programs delivered by each tribal council.

Please refer to Appendix B – Guidelines on Ongoing Major Programs for information on ongoing major programs.

Population information is based on the Indian Registry System as of December 31 of the previous fiscal year and encompasses the following five categories:

  1. On-Reserve – Own Band
  2. On-Reserve – Other Band
  3. On Crown Land – Own Band
  4. On Crown Land – Other Band
  5. On Crown Land – No Band
Funding Formula

Based on the tribal council's work plan, a tribal council will be eligible for Tribal Council Funding up to the amounts specified in each of the following three funding tiers:

Tier 1 – $200,000

Tier 1 tribal councils are eligible for $200,000 per year. Each has the following characteristics:

  • Serves 2 to 5 member First Nations; and
  • Serves an on-reserve population less than 2,000; and
  • Delivers fewer than 3 ongoing major programs.

Tier 2 – $350,000

Tier 2 tribal councils are eligible for $350,000 per year. Each has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Serves 6 to 8 member First Nations; or
  • Serves an on-reserve population of between 2,000 and 5,500; or
  • Delivers 3 to 5 ongoing major programs.

Tier 3 – $500,000

Tier 3 tribal councils are eligible for $500,000 per year. Each has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Serves 9 or more member First Nations; or
  • Serves an on-reserve population over 5,500; or
  • Delivers 6 or more ongoing major programs.

(…)

For Block Funding Agreements, the funding level can only be reassessed and adjusted when there is a new funding agreement.

4.1.1. New Tribal Councils

This section provides a history of the Moratorium on Tribal Councils (which has been lifted), describes the Minimum Standard for New Tribal Councils, describes the process for the Approval of Funding for New Tribal Councils to allow the Department to maintain a proper record of approval (or disapproval) of new tribal councils, and explains the difference between Unrecognized Tribal Councils and those currently recognized by the TCF Program.

Refer to the Tribal Council Funding Table for a list of all tribal councils receiving Tribal Council Funding.

4.1.1.a. Moratorium on Tribal Councils

As part of the Deficit Reduction Action Plan (2012), a moratorium was placed on the formation of new tribal councils. The moratorium was intended to control future funding pressures.

In 2016, the Department came to the conclusion that the moratorium restricted communities from moving forward and conflicted with the Department's priority to support stronger indigenous communities. To support and help strengthen indigenous communities, the Department is allowing First Nations to decide how they wish to aggregate, in ways that they choose, in accordance with historical, social, cultural, geographic or economic commonalities with other communities.

The moratorium on tribal councils was lifted, effective April 1, 2017.

4.1.1.b. Minimum Standard for New Tribal Councils

When First Nations deem it necessary for aggregate program/service delivery, they have the option of forming a tribal council and request TCF. The tribal council's Board of Directors will have to represent each of the member First Nations.

To be eligible for TCF, new tribal councils must satisfy the Department that there exists a valid historical, social, cultural, geographic and/or economic reason to justify the new tribal council.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

5. Eligibility for the Tribal Council Funding Program

(…)

New Recipients

To be eligible as a new recipient of Tribal Council Funding, the tribal council must satisfy the Department that there exists a valid historical, social, cultural, geographic and/or economic reason to justify the funding.

(…)

New tribal councils will need to meet the Objective of the TCF Program. This means each new tribal council will have to demonstrate how it plans to provide capacity development to its member First Nations and/or aggregate program/service delivery, as endorsed by its member First Nations. Refer to Planned Funded Services for additional information.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

4. Program Objectives and Expected Results

Objective

The Tribal Council Funding Program supports the core operations of tribal councils to enable them to develop the capacity of their member First Nations, as well as provide aggregated program/service delivery as agreed to by their member First Nations.

(…)

New recipients are responsible for explaining to the Department how they meet (or plan to meet) the Roles and Responsibilities of tribal councils and of member First Nations (refer to Roles and Responsibilities). These include providing the Department with a 12 month notice (refer to Notice for Major Changes), providing the Department with their incorporation documents (refer to Incorporation and in "Good Standing"), and the requirement for a Band Council Resolution from each member First Nation showing its intent to affiliate (refer to Monitoring Member First Nations).

The minimum number of member First Nations required for a new tribal council is two (2), which is the minimum requirement for all tribal councils (refer to Member First Nations).

4.1.1.c. Approval of Funding for New Tribal Councils

Before approving a new tribal council, discussions with the Department will have to take place to ensure that expectations are clear about the tribal council's requirement to meet the criteria.

Regions will need to determine the potential cost of funding the new tribal council. The number of eligible programs/services to be provided by the new tribal council will need to be established in order to determine the correct funding tier. This can be calculated by the Region, taking into account the other drivers of the funding formula, and can be verified by the Program at headquarters.

It is important to keep in mind that the stacking limits cannot be exceeded (refer to First Nations Moving between Tribal Councils for details).

If the Department chooses to fund a new tribal council, a source of funds will have to be secured. Current recipients of TCF will not be affected by the Department's decision to fund a new tribal council.

The Region will draft the Decision Note recommending the funding of the new tribal council and the approval will be made at the Deputy Minister (DM) level, in consultation with the Governance Capacity Directorate. The Decision Note will brief the DM on how the Minimum Standard for New Tribal Councils has been met and will provide a recommendation to either approve or disapprove TCF for the new tribal council (refer to Roles and Responsibilities).

Approval to fund a new tribal council can be made at the Regional Director General (RDG) level, but the RDG is taking on the responsibility to fund within its own allocations unless the funds are secured at the DM level. To avoid this, the Region should have new tribal councils approved at the DM level, which would guarantee funds for the following fiscal year, along with the approval of the new tribal council for TCF.

The region is responsible for communicating approval/disapproval of the new tribal council to the applicant.

Once a new tribal council has been approved for TCF, the TCF Program Policy will apply, including the Application, Work Plan and Report processes.

4.1.1.d. Unrecognized Tribal Councils

Certain organizations are known as tribal councils yet are not (or no longer) receiving TCF or recognized by the TCF Program. If such an organization wishes to be re-admitted under the TCF Program, it will be required to go through the same process as New Tribal Councils.

If a tribal council was cut off from the TCF Program in the past and has an outstanding balance owing to the Department, a repayment plan may be required prior to the tribal council being re-admitted under the Program.

4.1.2. Confirming Registered On-Reserve/On Crown Land Population

The term "on-reserve" population, as used in the TCF Program Policy, refers to both registered Indians living on-reserve, as well as registered Indians living on crown land.

The registered on-reserve/on crown land population is a factor used to determine a tribal council's funding tier.

Every year, on December 31, population data is pulled from the Indian Registration System (IRS) and provides the Indian Government Support System (IGSS) with the total registered Indian population, by First Nation. The on-reserve/on crown land population of all member First Nations associated with the tribal council is totaled (excluding those categorized as living "off-reserve").

It should be noted that some First Nation populations that derive from the IRS come from overrides that were done for the Band Support Funding (BSF) Program. Such overrides also apply to the TCF Program.

When a tribal council is at the cusp of change in tier, such as when its total registered on-reserve/on crown land population is around 2000 or 5500, it should be closely monitored to anticipate changes to the level of funding for the next agreement.

4.1.3. Monitoring Member First Nations

First Nations may choose to become affiliated with a tribal council, to change their affiliation to another tribal council, or to no longer be affiliated. First Nations may also choose to form New Tribal Councils.

Tribal councils need a minimum of two (2) member First Nations to be eligible for TCF. Any change to the composition of the member First Nations can affect the tribal council's funding tier.

When a tribal council is at the cusp of change in tier, such as when it has 2, 5-6, or 8-9 member First Nations, it should be closely monitored to anticipate changes to the level of funding for the next agreement.

4.1.3.a. New Bands/Band Amalgamations

First Nations have the possibility of either splitting to form new bands or amalgamating with another First Nation to become one. Refer to the New Band/Band Amalgamation Policy and New Bands in section 17(1) of the Indian Act.

In cases where a new First Nation is created from a formerly unrecognized group of individuals or if a First Nation is splitting into two separate First Nations, eligibility as member First Nations for TCF purposes will be based on the terms and conditions of the creation or the split.

4.1.3.b. Inactive Member First Nations

When a member First Nation becomes inactive, it still counts towards its affiliated tribal council's tier and will still be considered a member First Nation. The change in affiliation will only become effective following the appropriate Notice for Major Changes.

What Appendix D – Definitions of the TCF Program Policy says:

Inactive Member First Nation

Refers to a member First Nation that is inactive in terms of its affiliation with its tribal council when it is not meeting one or more of its Roles and Responsibilities, and/or has expressed the intention to no longer be affiliated with its tribal council but has not provided an official notification by means of a Band Council Resolution to both its tribal council and to the Department.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

8. Work Plan

(…)

In the case of an inactive member First Nation, the affected tribal council may:

  1. Have the ability to submit a tribal council resolution in the place of the inactive member First Nation to the Department, effectively giving notice that the member will be leaving the tribal council.
  2. In the work plan, indicate its transition plan for ceasing programs/services to the inactive member First Nation. If no programs/services are being provided, then this may also be stated.
  3. Have the work plan endorsed by each remaining active member First Nation.
  4. Upon approval of the work plan, continue to receive its current level of funding for the affected year (including the exiting member First Nation in its funding formula calculation) with the understanding that its funding level will be adjusted if required, with the following funding agreement.

(…)

4.1.3.c. First Nations Moving between Tribal Councils

First Nations have the option of leaving a tribal council and becoming affiliated with another; however, the stacking limits cannot be exceeded.

What the Program Terms and Conditions say:

6.0 Total Canadian Government Funding and Stacking Limits

Annual financial reporting shall show all sources of funding received. Total Government of Canada assistance for the same purpose and eligible expenditures shall not exceed 100% of the eligible expenditures.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

8. Work Plan

(…)

Tribal councils must declare any and all prospective sources of funding for eligible activities described on the work plan inclusive of all federal, provincial or other government sources that are expected to be received.

(…)

If a First Nation's original tribal council is locked in a Block Funding Agreement, the Department will have to determine if the First Nation was a main driver for that tribal council's funding tier. This is because the Program Terms and Conditions will not allow a First Nation to drive the formula for two different tribal councils.

In such a case, the newly affiliated tribal council would likely have to face a reduction in TCF until the end of the original tribal council's funding agreement.

If the First Nation's originating tribal council has a set/fixed funding agreement, there is no issue because funding tiers are calculated and re-calculate with each new fiscal year.

4.1.4 Monitoring Ongoing Major Programs

Tribal councils can provide up to a total of seven (7) major programs to member First Nations and the number of programs delivered is a factor in determining the tribal council's funding tier.

Refer to Appendix B – Guidelines on Ongoing Major Programs of the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy for a breakdown of the programs/services that are eligible within each of the seven (7) ongoing major programs.

When a tribal council is at the cusp of change in tier, such as when it delivers 2-3 or 5-6 major programs, it should be closely monitored to anticipate changes to the level of funding for the next agreement.

4.1.5. Notice for Major Changes

Tribal Councils can make major changes like providing or dropping programs/services. They can also make changes to their First Nation membership, which could result in Inactive Member First Nations. New Tribal Councils can also become new recipients of TCF.

It should be noted that any of the above changes can have a significant effect on a tribal council's funding level.

To ensure consistency, tribal councils and their member First Nations are required to provide a 12 month notice before these types of changes can be implemented. Changes affecting the funding level can only come into effect on April 1, following a new funding agreement. This 12 month notice provides recipients with enough time to plan and also provides the Region with enough time to implement changes.

Changes of less than a 12 month notice are possible, but are at the discretion of the Region, providing there is no change in funding to the current fiscal year.

What Appendix A – Roles and Responsibilities of the TCF Program Policy says:
Regional Offices
  • (…)
  • The Regional Director General, in consultation with the Program at HQ, is responsible for recommending the approval of a new recipient to the Deputy Minister. The Regional Director General can recommend a new recipient earlier than 12 months under exceptional circumstances.
  • (…)
  • The Regional Director General or his/her delegate is responsible for meeting with the tribal council to discuss the impacts to changes in programs/services once the tribal council has provided a 12 month notice to the Department and to member First Nations of its intent to provide additional programs/services or to drop others. The Regional Director General can authorize implementation of program/service changes earlier than 12 months under exceptional circumstances.
  • (…)
Tribal Councils
  • Tribal councils are responsible for providing a 12 month notice to the Department of their intent to become new recipients of Tribal Council Funding.
  • (…)
  • Tribal councils are responsible for providing a 12 month notice to the Department and to member First Nations of their intent to provide additional programs/services or to drop others, including changes in member First Nation affiliations, so they can plan accordingly.
Member First Nations
  • (…)
  • Member First Nations are responsible for providing a 12 month notice of their intention to withdraw from their affiliated tribal council, become affiliated with another tribal council or form a new tribal council, by means of a Band Council Resolution to both their tribal council and to the Department.
  • (…)
What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:
6. Funding Process

(…)

Tribal councils will be reassessed using information available to the Department as of December 31. There will be no mid-year tier funding adjustments for tribal councils who add/remove major programs or who experience an increase/decrease in membership. These amendments will only be applied as of April 1 in the fiscal year following the changes.

(…)

4.2. Call Package

The call package is sent out to recipients to inform them of the funding process for the coming fiscal year. It is broader than TCF and therefore can encompass other programs. As it relates to TCF, the call package can provide the links to the Application and Work Plan, a link to the TCF Program Policy, as well as their projected funding tier. It can also advise tribal councils regarding how the process will be carried out, provide deadlines (as recommended by regions), as well as any changes that may be of concern. The call package can also provide tribal councils with a reminder and links to the Report, which will be due at the end of the current fiscal year.

Proposals, Applications and Workplans and The Reporting Guide are posted on the departmental website, which contain the forms for the TCF Program, among others, for the coming fiscal year. For tribal councils nearing a tier change based on Confirming Registered On-Reserve/On Crown Land Population, the call package should be updated once the population statistics are made available on December 31.

For tribal councils in Block Funding Agreements, the call package can serve as a reminder to tribal councils that the policy requires an amended Work Plan showing that all changes in Planned Funded Services, if applicable, have Endorsement of Member First Nations.

Every region has its own way of maintaining communication with its tribal councils. The Call Package is only a suggestion.

4.3. Application

The Application for funding is the first of two steps for tribal councils to obtain TCF.

For tribal councils not currently recognized by the TCF Program, refer to New Tribal Councils.

What the Program Terms and Conditions say:

4.0 Eligibility

(…)

(ii) Tribal Council Funding

Tribal councils are eligible for TCF funding when they have been clearly mandated by councils of member First Nations and agree to take on responsibility for the delivery of services designated by their member First Nations.

(…)

10. Application Requirements and Assessment Criteria

(…)

(…) (ii) Tribal Council Funding (TCF)

Recipients must complete an application form annually in the manner prescribed by DIAND, and must submit the form to the appropriate DIAND regional office. The application form contains the data used in the formula to establish the funding level and therefore must be reviewed for comparison with departmental records and approved by the regional office. The application form must be a document separate from the funding arrangement and must not be incorporated into the text of the arrangement.

(…)

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

7. Application and Assessment Criteria

Tribal councils must complete an application for Tribal Council Funding annually, or for the first year of a Block Contribution, and submit it to the appropriate regional office.

The application form contains data used in the formula to establish the funding level and therefore must be reviewed for comparison with departmental records and approved by the regional office. The application form is a document separate from the funding arrangement and is not incorporated into the text of the arrangement.

To apply, tribal councils must fill out the Application for Tribal Council Funding, which is part of the Tribal Council Consolidated Application for Funding (PAW# 5677664), which can be found in Proposals, Applications and Workplans.

The recommended deadline for the Application is January 15 to avoid funding delays, but the actual deadline is March 31.

If the tribal council submits an incomplete Application, it is the regional program officer's responsibility to work with the tribal council.

If a tribal council does not submit an Application by the March 31 deadline, it is at the Region's discretion to ensure funding for that particular tribal council is still made available in the event that it later submits an Application.

The Application is just one part of the submission. Even with an approved Application, the tribal council will not be eligible for funding until the Work Plan has also been approved.

4.3.1. Eligibility for Tribal Council Funding

The following are criteria that tribal councils must meet in order to be eligible for TCF. They are labeled to coincide with the Checklist for Application, in Annex C of this manual.

It should be noted that the TCF Program does not have the same objective as Basic Organizational Capacity (BOC) funding, which is similar to TCF, but meant for internal core funding of eligible Indigenous Representative Organizations (IROs). To ensure that the stacking limits are not exceeded, IROs are not eligible for TCF, just as tribal councils are not eligible for BOC funding.

4.3.1.a. Submission and Deadline

Tribal councils must submit the Application for Tribal Council Funding to the Region. If the submission is not approved by the recommended date of January 15, there may be funding delays. If the submission is not approved by March 31, funds may not be secured.

4.3.1.b. Incorporation and in "Good Standing"

Tribal councils must be incorporated under provincial or federal legislation and must maintain that status. They must also be in "good standing" under the laws of Canada or of the Province or Territory. These requirements are described in the funding agreement.

What Appendix A – Roles and Responsibilities of the TCF Program Policy says:
Tribal Councils
  • (…)
  • Tribal councils must be incorporated under provincial or federal legislation and must maintain that status to be eligible for Tribal Council Funding.
  • (…)

It is important to ensure that the name of the tribal council on the Application is its official incorporated name because it will be used in the funding agreement.

"Good standing" is a term used in funding agreements. A tribal council that is past due in corporate filing should not be categorized as not being in "good standing", simply on the basis of being past due in corporate filing.

4.3.1.c. Member First Nations

Tribal councils need at least two (2) member First Nations, and all member First Nations must be listed on the Application.

What Appendix D – Definitions of the TCF Program Policy says:

Member First Nation:

Refers to a First Nation that is a member of a tribal council and continues to be an active member of the tribal council.

A member First Nation can be an Indian Act Band or a Self-Governing First Nation.

For TCF purposes, on an exceptional basis, the Department can consider an Indian Act First Nation as more than one member First Nation.

Refer to Monitoring Member First Nations for details.

4.4. Work Plan

The Work Plan is the second of two steps for tribal councils to obtain TCF.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

8. Work Plan

Tribal councils will be required to complete a work plan annually, or for the first year of a Block Contribution, endorsed by each member First Nation as per the board of directors. For a work plan to be accepted, the tribal council must plan on delivering programs/services and/or capacity development of its member First Nations. Work plans consisting of only core administration costs will be rejected.

(…)

If a tribal council submits an endorsed work plan that contains activities and/or expenditures not eligible for Tribal Council Funding, the regional office will inform the tribal council. The tribal council may then choose to operate with the existing work plan, with its Tribal Council Funding reduced to the level of eligible expenditures, or to submit a revised work plan. A tribal council may submit an amended, endorsed work plan at any time during the term of the funding agreement.

Work plans received before September 30 in a given year may be used to fund a tribal council for the remainder of its approved full tier amount if it has not yet received it.

Tribal councils must declare any and all prospective sources of funding for eligible activities described on the work plan inclusive of all federal, provincial or other government sources that are expected to be received.

The work plan must be readily accessible to member First Nations and should be posted on the tribal council's website where possible, or alternatively made available at the tribal council office or electronically via e-mail or social media.

Unlike the Application and Report consolidated forms, the Tribal Council Consolidated Work Plan (PAW# 5677670) form does not contain other forms. It can be found in Proposals, Applications and Workplans.

Work Plans should be submitted by March 31, but to avoid funding delays, the recommended deadline for the Work Plan is January 31.

If a tribal council has applied for funding but still does not have an approved Work Plan, the amount of eligible TCF will be pooled, beginning April 1. Once the Work Plan is approved, cash flow is released.

If the tribal council submits an incomplete Work Plan, it is the regional program officer's responsibility to help the tribal council submit a complete Work Plan that can be approved.

If the Work Plan does not provide activities that cover 100% of total eligible funding, or alternatively, if the Work Plan has ineligible expenditures, the regional program officer must inform the tribal council to help it access its full allocation.

Tribal councils should submit amended Work Plans when changes are made to their Planned Funded Services. Every Work Plan, including amended Work Plans, requires Endorsement of Member First Nations.

Tribal councils who submit their original Work Plans later than September 30 may not receive their pooled funds and may only be eligible to receive funding for the remainder of their full tier amount.

4.4.1. Eligibility of the Work Plan

The following are criteria that a Work Plan must meet in order for the tribal council to receive TCF. They are labeled to coincide with the Checklist for Work Plan, in Annex C of this manual.

4.4.1.a. Work Plan Submission and Deadline

To be eligible for TCF, tribal councils must have an approved Application. They must also have submitted the Tribal Council Consolidated Work Plan to the Region. If the Work Plan is not approved by January 31, there may be funding delays. If it is not approved by September 30, funding may be reduced.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

8. Work Plan

(…)

(…) A tribal council may submit an amended, endorsed work plan at any time during the term of the funding agreement.

Work plans received before September 30 in a given year may be used to fund a tribal council for the remainder of its approved full tier amount if it has not yet received it.

(…)

4.4.1.b Planned Funded Services

Tribal councils must identify their planned expenditures in the Work Plan Information section of the Work Plan, and their expenditures in the Report Information section of the Report. They must categorize their expenditures as one of three funded services shown below, as they are on the form.

  1. Core Administrative Costs

    Core administrative costs generally consist of costs related to salaries and wages, and office overhead and rent. The Work Plan and Report do not provide space for descriptions. Therefore, the minimum requirement for this field is the total dollar amount.
  2. Delivery of Funded Services

    This consists of the costs associated with the delivery of departmentally funded programs/services (major programs) that are managed by the tribal council. The dollar amount in this field should be similar to the funded programs/services that the tribal council delivered the previous year, unless a change to the tribal council's funded programs/services was made. The Work Plan and Report do not provide space for descriptions. Therefore, the minimum requirement for this field is the total dollar amount.

    If the tribal council does not provide funded services, this field should have a dollar amount of zero (0).
  3. Capacity Development of Member First Nations

    For Capacity Development, there are many possible activities and it is important that tribal councils be clear about what they intend to do with the funding. As such, tribal councils are required to enter their Capacity Development activities, give descriptions, and provide planned expenditures for each activity individually.

The activities may include one or both of the following activity types:

  1. Capacity development projects, where there is transfer of knowledge and where there is an expectation that First Nation employees will now be able to deliver a specific service or complete a specific task based on their newly acquired skills or knowledge. Projects in this category are not ongoing and therefore do not require ongoing funding.
  2. Advisory services type support, which provides specialized services with an economy of scale that is not available to any individual member First Nation. For this activity type, the service in question may be ongoing and funding may be requested on an ongoing basis.

Refer to Appendix C – Guidelines on Eligible Activities and Expenditures of the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy for list of activities that can or cannot be included.

Tribal councils must at a minimum deliver funded services (B) and/or provide capacity development (C) to be eligible for TCF. Core administrative costs (A) alone are not enough.

Regardless of the amount of information provided, the Work Plan and Report are acceptable as long as the regional program officer is confident that the Planned Expenditures in the Work Plan and Expenditures in the Report are clear and eligible.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

8. Work Plan

(…) For a work plan to be accepted, the tribal council must plan on delivering programs/services and/or capacity development of its member First Nations. Work plans consisting of only core administration costs will be rejected.

(…)

4.4.1.c. Eligibility of Planned Expenditures

Refer to Eligibility of Expenditures.

4.4.1.d. Amount of Expenditures

Tribal councils will often submit Work Plans with expenditures that go above their eligible funding amount. In such cases, the regional program officer should keep in mind that the Work Plan will be used to assess the tribal council's reporting and audited financial statements.

In rare situations, a tribal council may submit a Work Plan covering less than its eligible funding amount. In such cases, the Region would need to inform the tribal council that it is eligible for the full tier amount. If the tribal council chooses not to provide an amended Work Plan, it may only be funded at the amount requested.

Tribal councils may also have an approved Work Plan, but for some reason, realize that they will not be able to provide a specific activity. Ideally, the tribal council would submit an amended Work Plan to replace that expenditure with another.

What Appendix C – Guidelines on Eligible Activities and Expenditures of the TCF Program Policy says:

(…)

(…) Ultimately, a tribal council only needs to provide the Department with a $ value in its work plan, but can be made aware that this document will be used to assess its reporting and audited financial statements.

(…)

4.4.1.e. Endorsement of Member First Nations

Refer to Endorsement of Member First Nations in the Report section.

4.4.1.f. Supporting Documents

Refer to Supporting Documents in the Report section.

4.5. Funding Process

Once the tribal council's Work Plan has been approved for TCF, the Region can already have begun working on the funding agreement. In order to avoid funding delays, the recommended deadline for a funding agreement to be ready for signature is March 1 and for it to be approved is March 15.

What the Program Terms and Conditions say:

7.0 Method for Determining the Amount of Funding
Component CuMethod for Determining the Amount of Funding*
(…)
(ii) Tribal Council Funding
(…)
Funding is determined on the basis of core funding requirements, project applications, or according to prescribed formulas.
(…) (…)
*All funding that is distributed must respect existing program and funding guidelines.
8.0 Maximum Amount Payable
(…) Tribal Council Funding (…) (…)
  The amount payable to each tribal council is determined by the funding formula and will not exceed $500,000.

For recipients funded through the block funding approach, the maximum amount payable may increase by no more than two percent per year or the increase in DIAND's reference level as appropriated by Parliament.
   
9.0 Basis on Which Payments will be Made

Contributions are normally paid on the basis of achievement or performance objectives or as reimbursement of expenditures incurred or based on a funding formula.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

6. Funding Process
Method for Determining the Amount of Funding

Funding levels will be determined by the value of eligible expenditures described in the tribal council work plan, and by the funding formula, which is calculated according to the following three factors:

  • the number of member First Nations;
  • the total on-reserve population of the member First Nations; and
  • the number of ongoing major programs delivered by each tribal council.

Please refer to Appendix B – Guidelines on Ongoing Major Programs for information on ongoing major programs.

Population information is based on the Indian Registry System as of December 31 of the previous fiscal year and encompasses the following five categories:

  1. On-Reserve – Own Band
  2. On-Reserve – Other Band
  3. On Crown Land – Own Band
  4. On Crown Land – Other Band
  5. On Crown Land – No Band
Funding Formula

Based on the tribal council's work plan, a tribal council will be eligible for Tribal Council Funding up to the amounts specified in each of the following three funding tiers:

Tier 1 – $200,000

Tier 1 tribal councils are eligible for $200,000 per year. Each has the following characteristics:

  • Serves 2 to 5 member First Nations; and
  • Serves an on-reserve population less than 2,000; and
  • Delivers fewer than 3 ongoing major programs.

Tier 2 – $350,000

Tier 2 tribal councils are eligible for $350,000 per year. Each has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Serves 6 to 8 member First Nations; or
  • Serves an on-reserve population of between 2,000 and 5,500; or
  • Delivers 3 to 5 ongoing major programs.

Tier 3 – $500,000

Tier 3 tribal councils are eligible for $500,000 per year. Each has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Serves 9 or more member First Nations; or
  • Serves an on-reserve population over 5,500; or
  • Delivers 6 or more ongoing major programs.

To be eligible for Tier 1, all three funding eligibility criteria must be met. To be eligible for Tier 2 or Tier 3, the tribal council must meet one or more of the funding eligibility criteria. For example, an on-reserve population over 5500 is enough to qualify for Tier 3, regardless of the number of ongoing major programs delivered. The tribal council will still be required to deliver on the terms of the agreement described in its work plan, which includes capacity development of its member First Nations and/or program/service delivery.

Tribal councils will be reassessed using information available to the Department as of December 31. There will be no mid-year tier funding adjustments for tribal councils who add/remove major programs or who experience an increase/decrease in membership. These amendments will only be applied as of April 1 in the fiscal year following the changes.

Block funded tribal councils will be reassessed prior to the first year of a new funding agreement and will remain at that tier for the length of the agreement.

Basis on Which Payments Will be Made

Contributions are paid based on the criteria established within the tiered funding structure. Payments will be generally made to tribal councils in two payments per year. At the discretion of the Department, the funding disbursement can be adjusted accordingly, with monthly payments and hold backs used as needed.

Block Contributions will be paid according to the block funding criteria established within their funding agreements.

Maximum Amount Payable

The amount payable to each tribal council is determined by the funding formula and will not exceed $500,000 annually.

In the case of recipients funded through the block contributions, the maximum amount payable may increase by no more than two percent per year or the increase in the Department's reference level as appropriated by Parliament.

Funding for a fiscal year is set to begin April 1. If the Region or tribal council experienced delays in the Work Plan or funding agreement processes, funds will be pooled until everything is approved and processed.

4.5.1. Block Funding Agreements

Many tribal councils are funded for TCF though block funding agreements.

The TCF Program Policy does not require an Application or Work Plan from tribal councils during the term of their block funding agreement, except for the first year of the agreement. However, tribal councils are required to provide a Report every year.

Tribal councils are only assessed for their eligible funding tier in their first year of a block agreement. As such, tribal councils are locked in their funding tier for the duration of the agreement. When Monitoring Changes, should there be a difference in major programs, in population or in member First Nation affiliation, the funding tier will not be affected. It will be reassessed with the next funding agreement.

What Appendix A – Roles and Responsibilities of the TCF Program Policy says:
Tribal Councils
  • (…)
  • Tribal councils provide information to member First Nations and the Department in a timely manner set out in:
    • an application (for tribal councils in a Block Contribution Agreement, this will be submitted for the first year of the Block Contribution)
    • a work plan (for tribal councils in a Block Contribution Agreement, this will be submitted for the first year of the Block Contribution)
    • a report
  • (…)
What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:
6. Funding Process

(…)

Funding Formula

(…)

Block funded tribal councils will be reassessed prior to the first year of a new funding agreement and will remain at that tier for the length of the agreement.

(…)

Refer to First Nations Moving between Tribal Councils for information the stacking limits.

As it is difficult to create a Work Plan that accurately reflects the needs of member First Nations for the entire duration for a block funding agreement, and as the tribal council's priorities may change during the term of the agreement, it is important for tribal councils to make amendments to their Work Plan accordingly (i.e., annually), to ensure Endorsement of Member First Nations and Eligibility of Expenditures. For tribal councils in block funding agreements, the Call Package can serve as a reminder to tribal councils with new planned activities that the policy requires an amended Work Plan.

4.5.2. Flow Through Tribal Councils

Certain tribal councils manage funding agreements for their member First Nations. As such, more funding will be passing through these tribal councils because they can include Band Support Funding (BSF) and Band Employee Benefits (BEB). The following is a list of the flow through tribal councils:

  • Alberta
    • 1025 – Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council
    • 1030 – Western Cree Tribal Council
    • 1052 – Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council
  • British Columbia
    • 1071 – Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council
    • 1116 – Gitksan Local Services Society

4.6. Report

The Report phase is the final step of the TCF Program and requires that tribal councils report on their expenditures for the past fiscal year.

What the Program Terms and Conditions say:

6.0 Total Canadian Government Funding and Stacking Limits

Annual financial reporting shall show all sources of funding received. Total Government of Canada assistance for the same purpose and eligible expenditures shall not exceed 100% of eligible expenditures.

(…)

10. Application Requirements and Assessment Criteria

(…)

(…) (ii) Tribal Council Funding (TCF)

(…)

In order to continue to receive funding under either Employee Benefits or Tribal Council Funding, the eligible recipient will provide the Department with program specific annual reports which include the necessary information, as specified by the Department, sufficient to verify adherence to program terms and conditions and demonstrate results; and any financial statements required by their funding agreement.

(…)

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

9. Monitoring and Reporting

In order to continue to receive funding, the eligible tribal council will provide the Department with a program specific annual report which is endorsed by each member First Nation that includes information specified by the Department to verify compliance to the policy and guidelines. The annual report, in conjunction with the annual audited financial statement, will be used to demonstrate that a tribal council is in a position to continue to maintain the financial management of its departmentally funded activities.

If activities were not part of the tribal council's endorsed work plan or report, they will automatically be considered ineligible expenditures.

Endorsed activities will be reviewed for eligibility using the same criteria that was used for reviewing that year's work plan.

To avoid unexpected recoveries, tribal councils are encouraged to discuss activities not covered by an endorsed work plan with their regional office before using Tribal Council Funding to undertake them.

Please refer to Appendix C – Guidelines on Eligible Activities and Expenditures for more information.

The report must be readily accessible to member First Nations and should be posted on the tribal council's website where possible, or alternatively made available at the tribal council office or electronically via e-mail or social media.

Tribal councils are encouraged to work with their regional office to ensure that accurate data is available to fill out the application, work plan, and report.

To report, tribal councils must fill out the Report on Tribal Council Funding, which is part of the Tribal Council Consolidated Report (PAW# 5677661) and can be found in The Reporting Guide.

The deadline to receive and accept Reports is April 30. If a Report has not been accepted by then, funding for that tribal council will automatically be halted until it is accepted.

Once a Report has been submitted, regions may request additional information or ask the tribal council to revise the Report if it is incomplete. Feedback should be provided indicating which sections are deficient and any suggested improvements are to be communicated to the tribal council.

If the tribal council submits an incomplete Report, the regional program officer should help the tribal council submit a complete Report that can be approved.

4.6.1. Reporting Requirements

The following are criteria that a Report must meet in order for the tribal council to properly report on expenditures. They are labeled to coincide with Checklist for Report, in Annex C of this manual.

4.6.1.a. Report Submission and Deadline

Tribal councils must have received TCF in the last fiscal year. They must have submitted the Report on Tribal Council Funding to the Region. If the Report is not received and accepted by April 30, TCF will be halted.

4.6.1.b. Funded Services

Refer to Planned Funded Services.

4.6.1.c Eligibility of Expenditures

Refer to Appendix B – Guidelines on Ongoing Major Programs of the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy for a breakdown of the programs/services that are eligible within each of the seven (7) ongoing major programs.

Refer to Appendix C – Guidelines on Eligible Activities and Expenditures of the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy for direction on the eligibility of activities and expenditures in a work plan and/or a report.

For the Work Plan, tribal councils must clearly identify their planned Activities for C) Capacity Development of Member First Nations. If the eligibility of a specific Planned Expenditure is not clear, the regional program officer must request clarifications in the Description section of the form for that Activity, or request Supporting Documents. Ineligible activities can be removed from the Work Plan by amending it and having an Endorsement of Member First Nations. Regardless of whether or not ineligible activities are removed, only eligible expenditures will be funded.

As a tribal council's needs and priorities can change throughout the year, especially during the term of a Block Funding Agreement, it is important that the tribal council make amendments to its work plan accordingly, if necessary, to ensure eligibility of expenditures and Endorsement of Member First Nations.

Tribal councils must report on their expenditures identified in the Work Plan, but should still verify them because the Report does not always reflect the Work Plan.

If an expenditure identified in the Report is not eligible, the amount allotted towards that activity will be recovered, unless it was replaced by another endorsed eligible activity.

If a tribal council has a surplus of funds at the end of an agreement, those funds will be handled differently depending on the type of funding agreement. Refer to Backgrounder – Funding Approaches for information about whether those funds need to be recovered or if they can remain with the tribal council.

What the Program Terms and Conditions say:

5.0 Type and Nature of Eligible Expenditures

The following table describes expenditure eligibility by targeted contribution stream:

Expenditures (…) Tribal Council Funding (…) (…)
Salaries and wages   Yes    
Salaries and wages, including benefits        
Pension and benefit plans        
Office overhead and rent   Yes    
Core administrative costs   Yes    
Professional services        
Activities that develop, inform or consult, support, review, propose, research, coordinate on policy matters, etc.        
Capacity and professional development        
Provision of support        
Client services        
Travel and accommodation costs        
Service delivery   Yes    
Delivery of departmentally funded Major programs   Yes    
Communications        
Transportation        
Professional development and support activities        
Training        
Tuition        
Systems design        
Implementation and maintenance        
Hardware and software needed to support data collection, analysis and reporting        
 
What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

5. Eligibility for the Tribal Council Funding Program

(…)

Eligible Expenditures

The following list describes expenditures eligible for Tribal Council Funding:

  • Salaries and wages;
  • Office overhead and rent;
  • Core administrative costs;
  • Administrative costs associated with the delivery of departmentally funded major programs;
  • Capacity development of member First Nations.

Ineligible Expenditures

The following describes some types of ineligible expenditures but is not an exhaustive list:

  • Tribal Council Funding cannot be used to supplement administrative costs of a program/service, project, or other initiative which already provides funding for administration costs; and,
  • Tribal Council Funding cannot be used for any costs related to supporting political advocacy or political activities.

Regional offices will work with tribal councils to ensure that only eligible expenditures are funded through the Tribal Council Funding Program.

(…)

8. Work Plan

 (…)

If a tribal council submits an endorsed work plan that contains activities and/or expenditures not eligible for Tribal Council Funding, the regional office will inform the tribal council. The tribal council may then choose to operate with the existing work plan, with its Tribal Council Funding reduced to the level of eligible expenditures, or to submit a revised work plan. A tribal council may submit an amended, endorsed work plan at any time during the term of the funding agreement.

(…)

9. Monitoring and Reporting

(…)

Endorsed activities will be reviewed for eligibility using the same criteria that was used for reviewing that year's work plan.

To avoid unexpected recoveries, tribal councils are encouraged to discuss activities not covered by an endorsed work plan with their regional office before using Tribal Council Funding to undertake them.

(…)

4.6.1.d Accounting

Refer to The Reporting Guide.

4.6.1.e. Endorsement of Member First Nations

For a Work Plan to be approved, it must first be endorsed by each member First Nation. In the same way, the Report must also be endorsed. Member First Nations are responsible for endorsing their tribal council's Work Plan and Report in a timely and efficient manner.

The ideal endorsement has each member First Nation sign the Member First Nation Endorsement portion of the Work Plan or Report, but endorsements can also be done in attachments. Regions should ensure that attached endorsements are dated. Tribal councils could attach endorsements from a previous submission to a new one, and this is not acceptable.

For a well-structured tribal council, endorsement is generally not an issue because it will have a good Work Plan, have it endorsed by all member First Nations, and follow through with that Work Plan for the term of the agreement. A well-organized tribal council will also provide the Department with an amended Work Plan when priorities change and activities need to be added or removed. Maintaining a Work Plan will ensure that the tribal council will be funded for its eligible expenditures.

When a member First Nation endorses a Work Plan, but does not endorse the Report, the activities will still be considered eligible because they were previously endorsed. Similarly, when an activity was not endorsed in a Work Plan, it will be considered eligible when the Report is endorsed by the member First Nations. However, if an activity was not previously endorsed in the Work Plan, and a member First Nation refuses to endorse the activity in the Report, the situation must be further examined to determine the root of the non-compliance.

In situations where a First Nation is refusing to endorse its tribal council's Work Plan or Report, refer to Inactive Member First Nations.

What the Program Terms and Conditions say:

4.0 Eligibility

(…)

(ii) Tribal Council Funding

Tribal councils are eligible for TCF funding when they have been clearly mandated by councils of member First Nations and agree to take on responsibility for the delivery of services designated by their member First Nations.

(…)

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

5. Eligibility for the Tribal Council Funding Program

(…)

Tribal councils are eligible for the Tribal Council Funding Program when they have been endorsed by the board of directors and agree to take on responsibility for the delivery of programs/services and capacity development of member First Nations as designated by their member First Nations.

(…)

8. Work Plan

Tribal councils will be required to complete a work plan annually, or for the first year of a Block Contribution, endorsed by each member First Nation as per the board of directors. (…)

(…)

(…) A tribal council may submit an amended, endorsed work plan at any time during the term of the funding agreement.

(…)

9. Monitoring and Reporting

In order to continue to receive funding, the eligible tribal council will provide the Department with a program specific annual report which is endorsed by each member First Nation that includes information specified by the Department to verify compliance to the policy and guidelines. The annual report, in conjunction with the annual audited financial statement, will be used to demonstrate that a tribal council is in a position to continue to maintain the financial management of its departmentally funded activities.

If activities were not part of the tribal council's endorsed work plan or report, they will automatically be considered ineligible expenditures.

Endorsed activities will be reviewed for eligibility using the same criteria that was used for reviewing that year's work plan.

To avoid unexpected recoveries, tribal councils are encouraged to discuss activities not covered by an endorsed work plan with their regional office before using Tribal Council Funding to undertake them.

(…)

What Appendix A – Roles and Responsibilities of the TCF Program Policy says:
Tribal Councils
  • (…)
  • Tribal councils ensure that all member First Nations are represented on the Board of Directors and take part in the decision making and ongoing review of program/service delivery.
  • (…)

Member First Nations

  • (…)
  • Member First Nations are responsible for participating in the development, review and endorsement of their tribal council's work plan and report in a timely and efficient manner.
  • (…)
   
What Appendix D – Definitions of the TCF Program Policy says:

Board of Directors

Refers to the group of representatives that governs, oversees and takes part in the decision making and ongoing review of the tribal council's delivery of programs/services. Generally, tribal councils have representatives from each member First Nation. In some situations, tribal councils have an elected governance structure. Regardless, endorsements must come from the tribal council's board of directors.

4.6.1.f. Supporting Documents

Tribal councils have the option of attaching supporting documents to their Work Plan or Report. The key is for the regional program officer to be comfortable with approving the Work Plan and Report.

If the Work Plan or Report has a reference to an attachment, it will be considered incomplete until the supporting document has been received and attached. Alternatively, if an attachment has been provided but is not referenced in the Work Plan or Report, the regional program officer is responsible for contacting the tribal council to confirm whether or not the attachment was meant to be referenced.

4.6.1.g. Funding Agreement Met

Tribal councils must meet and abide by the terms of their funding agreement. If they do not, some funds may need to be recovered. In addition, funding for the following fiscal year may be denied.

4.7. Audited Consolidated Financial Statement

Refer to The Reporting Guide.

What the Program Terms and Conditions say:

6.0 Total Canadian Government Funding and Stacking Limits

Annual financial reporting shall show all sources of funding received. Total Government of Canada assistance for the same purpose and eligible expenditures shall not exceed 100% of eligible expenditures.

What the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy says:

9. Monitoring and Reporting

(…) The annual report, in conjunction with the annual audited financial statement, will be used to demonstrate that a tribal council is in a position to continue to maintain the financial management of its departmentally funded activities.

(…)

4.8. General Assessment

Refer to General Assessment.

5. Tribal Council Compliance

Tribal councils, like their member First Nations, must follow the Default Prevention and Management Policy 2013 (DPMP). Default Prevention is a preventative measure that ensures they don't go into default of the program requirements. Refer to section 5.2.1 Default Prevention in the DPMP for information. For those that do go into default of the program requirements, Default Management is put in place to bring the tribal council back out of its default situation. Refer to section 5.2.2 Default Management in the DPMP for additional information. Once a tribal council is in default of its funding agreement, the default must be managed appropriately.

Tribal councils have roles and responsibilities defined in Appendix A of the TCF Program Policy, which hold them accountable to their member First Nations. If these roles and responsibilities are breached, the tribal council will be seen as non-compliant.

What Appendix A – Roles and Responsibilities of the TCF Program Policy says:

Tribal Councils
  • Tribal councils are responsible for providing a 12 month notice to the Department of their intent to become new recipients of Tribal Council Funding.
  • Tribal councils must be incorporated under provincial or federal legislation and must maintain that status to be eligible for Tribal Council Funding.
  • Tribal councils are responsible for the delivery of programs/services and/or capacity development of their member First Nations, as designated by their member First Nations, for which they receive departmental funding.
  • Tribal councils ensure that all member First Nations are represented on the Board of Directors and take part in the decision making and ongoing review of program/service delivery.
  • Tribal councils provide information to member First Nations and the Department in a timely manner set out in:
    • an application (for tribal councils in a Block Contribution Agreement, this will be submitted for the first year of the Block Contribution)
    • a work plan (for tribal councils in a Block Contribution Agreement, this will be submitted for the first year of the Block Contribution)
    • a report
  • Tribal councils are responsible for providing a 12 month notice to the Department and to member First Nations of their intent to provide additional programs/services or to drop others, including changes in member First Nation affiliations, so they can plan accordingly.

All compliance issues relating to TCF should be communicated to headquarters. This will allow headquarters to provide regions with direction and ensure national consistency.

Annexes

Annex A – References

Tribal Council Funding Program

Program Terms and Conditions (Authority 307) - Contributions to supply public services in Indian Government Support and to build strong governance, administrative and accountability systems

Tribal Council Funding Program Policy

Roles and Responsibilities (Appendix A of the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy)

Guidelines on Ongoing Major Programs (Appendix B of the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy)

Guidelines on Eligible Activities and Expenditures (Appendix C of the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy)

Definitions (Appendix D of the Tribal Council Funding Program Policy)

Tribal Council Funding Table

Related Policies

Default Prevention and Management Policy 2013

New Band/Band Amalgamation Policy

Websites

The Reporting Guide

Proposals, Applications, Worklplans

Backgrounder – Funding Approaches

General Assessment

Annex B – Case Studies

The Case Studies table provides regional program officers with scenarios and solutions to their particular issues, as well as references to the sections of the TCF Program Manual that best address those issues.

When tribal councils come across an issue that is not described in the Manual or in this table, they should communicate the issue to their regional office in writing, who can in turn communicate the issue to headquarters. This way, there can be discussions regarding the actions needed. Such scenarios, as well as headquarters' solutions, will be added to this document.

This is an "evergreen" table and will be updated periodically to include new scenarios provided by program officers, as well as solutions. Maintaining this table will help the TCF Program Policy be applied consistently across all regions.

Theme Scenario Solution
Membership The tribal council wants to provide services/programs to a non-member First Nation. As long as the tribal council is not getting TCF to provide this program, the tribal council can do what it wants. The non-member First Nation should provide the Department with a notice stating that it has mandated that the services/programs be delivered by the tribal council.
Incorporation The tribal council's incorporation papers are out of date. Withhold funds until the tribal council has resolved the issue.
Endorsement of Work Plan An endorsed Work Plan was approved by the Department. Later, an amendment to the Work Plan was submitted but was not properly endorsed. In order to be valid, the Work Plan, as well as all amendments, must be properly endorsed.
Eligibility of Expenditures The tribal council wants to provide the Employee Benefits Program to tribal council employees, but not to employees of the member First Nations. As long as the Objective of the TCF Program is being met, tribal councils are permitted to provide the Employee Benefits Program to the employees of the tribal council even though they are not providing the same program to the employees of the member First Nations; however, this is not ideal.
Planned Funded Services Examples of Activities and Descriptions in a Work Plan Information Management: Develop standards for the management and accessibility of shared information.
Financial Management: Provide training on financial management, as identified in the Management Action Plan.
Administration: Develop standard administrative procedures, as identified in the Capacity Development Plan.
Surplus The tribal council has a surplus in TCF at the end of the year and would like to carry it over. Depending on the type of agreement (refer to Backgrounder – Funding Approaches), the tribal council may be able to keep surplus funds, as long as those funds are put towards eligible expenditures.
Debt Repayment The tribal council would like to put TCF towards debt repayment. Repayment of debt as specified in a tribal council's approved Management Action Plan is allowed, as long as the debt is not related to a mortgage or discretionary loan. There is no limit in the amount of TCF that can go towards debt repayment. The minimum requirement to be eligible for TCF is for the tribal council to deliver funded services and/or provide capacity development. That said, the tribal council must have an approved Work Plan to reflect this. Once all has been accounted for, the difference can go towards debt repayment.
Endorsement of Report A Report was submitted but is not endorsed by one of its member First Nations. If the tribal council's activities in the Report match those in the endorsed Work Plan, there is no issue. However, if an activity was not in the Work Plan and the Report is not endorsed, it will be considered an ineligible activity and funds will need to be recovered.

Annex C – Checklists

1. Checklist for Application

The following checklist will help the regional program officer to determine the tribal council's eligibility for TCF with the Application for Tribal Council Funding. Each point is in the same order as those in Eligibility for Tribal Council Funding.

  Eligibility Requirements
  The tribal council is recognized by the TCF Program and is eligible for TCF.  
a) The tribal council has properly filled out the Application for Tribal Council Funding in the Tribal Council Consolidated Application for Funding.  
The tribal council has submitted its Application by the recommended date of January 15 or by the deadline of March 31.  
b) The tribal council is incorporated under federal or provincial legislation, maintains that status and is in "good standing".  
c) The tribal council has at least 2 member First Nations identified in the Application for Tribal Council Funding.  
Comments  
The Application for Tribal Council Funding has been approved.  

2. Checklist for Work Plan

The following checklist will help the regional program officer to ensure the Tribal Council Consolidated Work Plan can be approved. Each point is in the same order as those in Eligibility of the Work Plan.

  Eligibility Requirements
a) The tribal council's Application for Tribal Council Funding has been approved.  
The tribal council has properly filled out the Tribal Council Consolidated Work Plan.  
The tribal council has submitted its Work Plan by the recommended date of January 31 or by the deadline for full funding of September 30.  
b) The tribal council is planning to deliver programs, services and/or capacity development of its member First Nations.  
c) The tribal council's planned activities qualify as eligible expenditures.  
d) The tribal council's planned expenditures are reasonable and/or are equal to their funding tier.  
e) The tribal council's Work Plan is endorsed by the board of directors.  
f) The tribal council's supporting documents, if any, are referenced and attached to the Work Plan.  
Comments  
The Tribal Council Consolidated Work Plan has been approved.  

3. Checklist for Report

The following checklist will help the regional program officer to ensure the Report on Tribal Council Funding can be approved. Each point is in the same order as those in Reporting Requirements.

  Eligibility Requirements
a) The tribal council has properly filled out the Report on Tribal Council Funding in the Tribal Council Consolidated Report.  
The tribal council has submitted its Report by the deadline of April 30.  
b) The tribal council delivered programs, services and/or capacity development of its member First Nations.  
c) The tribal council's activities qualify as eligible expenditures.  
d) The tribal council's accounting corresponds to The Reporting Guide.  
e) The tribal council's Report is endorsed by the board of directors.  
f) The tribal council's supporting documents have been received and match those listed in the Report.  
g) The tribal council met the terms and conditions of the funding agreement.  
Comments  
The Report on Tribal Council Funding has been approved without ineligible expenditures or unexpended funds.  
The Report on Tribal Council Funding has been approved with ineligible expenditures and/or unexpended funds.  
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