Professional and Institutional Development Program: Program Guidelines

Table of contents


Strong governance forms the foundation of a community. When capacity is developed a community can enhance and grow to suit its needs. The Professional and Institutional Development Program seeks to develop the capacity of First Nations and Inuit communities to perform core functions of government by funding governance-related projects at the community and institutional levels. It is a plan-based contribution program (please see 'Eligible Projects’ for the ten core functions of government).

These Guidelines provide information on eligibility, assessment, approval, and reporting requirements. Each Region has an independent budget for the Professional and Institutional Development Program, for use in funding projects that will benefit the governance capacity of First Nations and Inuit communities in that Region.

In order to better inform the Department of your organization’s priorities applications will continue to be based on the initiatives and projects contained in a recipient’s plan. A plan-based approach will allow the Department to focus on the highest priorities identified by First Nations, Inuit and Tribal Councils, in their plans; and reduce the need for multiple, detailed funding proposals.

Eligible Projects

Effective governance will be advanced by projects that develop governance capacity in any of the following ten core functions of government:

  1. Leadership
  2. Membership
  3. Law-Making
  4. Community Involvement
  5. External Relations
  6. Planning and Risk Management
  7. Financial Management
  8. Human Resources Management
  9. Information Management / Information Technology
  10. Basic Administration

Please see attached, Annex A, for a more comprehensive list of eligible projects, activities, expenditures, and restrictions on approvals.

Treasury Board Authority for "Contributions to supply public services in Indian Government Support and to build strong governance, administrative and accountability systems" is the Authority used for Professional and Institutional Development Program funding, and can be found on the Department’s Website.

Eligibility - Who can apply

Eligible Beneficiaries

In order to be eligible for funding, plans, or proposals if required, must benefit the governance capacity of one or more:

  • First Nations and/or
  • Tribal councils, and/or
  • Inuit communities.

Plans or proposals will not be approved if they aim to build the capacity of organizations that manage service-delivery grant or contribution programs, such as Education Authorities or Child and Family Services Agencies. Additionally, plans or proposals targeting the governance capacity of Provincial / Territorial Organizations are not eligible for Professional and Institutional Development Program funding.

Eligible Recipients

Recipients of Professional and Institutional Development Program funding can be any organization that has had an eligible plan or proposal approved by a Professional and Institutional Development Program committee.

Application Phase

Plans or proposals should originate from the First Nation or Inuit organization that will manage the contribution funding


The format of the capacity development plan is the decision of each community. It should provide at minimum, adequate information to allow for consideration of a community’s governance initiative, governance objective, governance activity costs, and performance measurement.

Plans must include a governance component, examples include:

  • Governance capacity development plans
  • Management Action Plans (formerly Remedial Management Plans).
  • Strategic Plans
  • Comprehensive Community Plans

The associated plan need not be complicated, or as extensive as a comprehensive community plan. You may already have a plan in place that can be used for the purposes of the Professional and Institutional Development Program. If you do not already have a capacity development plan in place you may wish to use the Governance Capacity Planning Tool that is available on the Department's website.

Assessment phase

The assessment process for evaluating plans or proposals ensures that all plans or proposals are evaluated objectively by Regional Professional and Institutional Development Program Assessment committees against the Terms and Conditions of the program, community needs, risk, and availability of funds. Plans and proposals are assessed, recommended and approved on the following criteria:

All plans or proposals are to

  • either:
    1. list an applicant that is the sole beneficiary, or
    2. list any specific beneficiaries and demonstrate that they have given the applicant a mandate to manage the proposed activities on their behalf;
  • demonstrate that the applicant has, and can continue to maintain, the financial management controls and practices required to manage the proposed activities;
  • provide a description of the project objective(s), activities, outputs and expected outcome(s), including the criteria for measurement of success;
  • provide a budget proposal outlining the activities and costs, accompanied with a cash flow projection based on the budget proposal;
  • declare any and all prospective sources of funding, such as contributions from other government departments or agencies, or funds which the recipient and/or beneficiaries will contribute towards the proposed activities; and
  • in the case of third party delivery, such as when the applicant proposes to hire another organization to deliver some of the proposed activities, provide a description of the arrangement which indicates the respective roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of each party to the arrangement.

Notice to Applicants

Non-personal information collected in your plan may be shared with internal partners and other Government Departments to increase joint community-focused capacity investments and leverage partnerships. In the event that the plan contains personal information, the personal information will be administered in accordance with the Privacy Act

Approval phase

Following the assessment and approval of your plan or proposal, applicants will be notified in writing of the Department's decision. Should any of the proposed activities be approved by the committee, the originator of the plan or proposal will receive a Project Approval Letter. This letter will detail the activities that can be funded, along with any reporting requirements specific to those activities. The originator of the plan or proposal, and the Department can then enter into a funding arrangement, or agree to an amendment to an existing arrangement.

Reporting phase

Annual Report

Each recipient must prepare and submit a Report on Activities and Expenditures providing a summary of activities, outcomes, and financial details. Any additional supporting documentation and deliverables detailed in the Project Approval Letter are to be submitted with the report. Supporting documentation may include (but are not limited to) proofs of purchase, invoices, and training certificates.

Recipients will not be eligible for further Professional and Institutional Development Program funding while annual reports are overdue. If a complete report is not submitted within a reasonable period of time, the recipient will be subject to a recovery of funds up to the full value of the contribution.

In many cases, projects fund the creation of a tangible product, such as codes, policies, chart of accounts, templates, frameworks, constitutions, training materials and additional plans. In order to ensure that deliverables are available as a shareable resource, funding arrangements contain standard text which allows the Department to share these documents publicly.

Annex A:  Eligible Projects, Activities, Expenditures, and Restrictions on Approvals

Eligible Projects

Examples of Eligible Projects:
  • Purchase of Software and/or Hardware that will be used for the general financial administration of the First Nation.
  • A comprehensive review of Governance, involving several or all programs, producing a short or long term strategic plan for a First Nation
  • Training in areas such as Financial Management, or Human Resources Management for Band Managers, Chief and Council, and/or Band Office staff.
Examples of Ineligible Projects:
  • Purchase of Software and/or Hardware that is required for an individual Program's administration (eg: Social Program software).
  • A review of an individual  program, producing a document for use in the management of that program (eg: a Housing Plan or Land Management Code).
  • Training for staff on software explicitly concerned with a program's operations (eg: training Child and Family Services staff on new CFS software).
  • Capacity development activities already listed in a tribal council's approved work plan that is to be undertaken with Tribal Council Funding.

Eligible Activities

Proposed activities are eligible for funding when they will develop the governance capacity of one or more of the Functions of Government.

Function of Government Examples of Eligible ActivitiesFootnote 1 Examples of Ineligible Activities
Leadership: Leadership selection codes, Custom election codes, Orientation of Chiefs and Councillors, Policies on Roles and Responsibilities of Elected/Appointed Election costs, Regular meetings of Chief and Council, Band Council Resolution costs
Membership: Membership Codes Membership Clerk salary
Law-Making: Bylaw policies Litigation costs
Community Involvement: Community Consultation Codes, Appeals and Dispute Resolution Codes Meetings on regular community business
External Relations: Policies or Codes on conducting business with other governments or the private sector Travel costs for regular meetings with other governments
Planning and Risk Management: Training in Strategic Planning Housing Plans, Land Use Plans
Financial Management: Financial Codes, Financial Systems training and upgrades Audit costs
Human Resources Management: Human Resources Codes, Developing Standardized Job Descriptions and Salary ranges, Labour Relations training and policies Recruitment costs and/or salaries of employees
Information Management / Information Technology: Information Security Policies, Upgrades of Band Office Information Technology Internet Service Provider fees
Basic Administration: Administrative Training for Office Staff, Administration Codes Operating costs that would still occur without project funding

Eligible Expenditures

Expenditures listed in plans or proposals are only valid where they are in support of an eligible activity, and when they fall under one or more of the following categories:

  • Tuition and training fees
  • Salaries and wages
  • Travel, transportation and accommodation
  • Telecommunications
  • Other communications
  • Office rent and overhead
  • Office supplies and printing
  • Professional services
  • Community information initiatives
  • Systems design, implementation and maintenance
  • Hardware and software needed to support data collection, analysis and reporting

Requests for additional funding for general "administration" costs of a project (e.g.: 10% of the project cost) are not valid. The costs of administering Professional and Institutional Development Program projects should be built into the proposed expenditures, rather than in addition to them.

The Professional and Institutional Development Program can only be used to reimburse costs that were submitted as part of a proposal before the expenses were incurred.

Restrictions on Approvals

Project funding only: The Professional and Institutional Development Program does not provide core operational funding.  Recipients are advised that Professional and Institutional Development Program funding should not be relied upon as a source of ongoing revenue.

Repetition and extension of projects: The Professional and Institutional Development Program may not fund identical projects year over year with the same beneficiary. Repetition of a project is allowed if the beneficiaries are different, such as when an organization repeats a training project for new beneficiaries that have not yet attended the training.

Recipients and beneficiaries should not interpret Professional and Institutional Development Program funding for current year's activities as a guarantee that INAC will fund related activities planned for upcoming fiscal years.

Recipients under Default Management: Recipients in Default Management are encouraged to apply for Professional and Institutional Development Program funding, for use in governance capacity projects that will help them to complete their Management Action Plan. Professional and Institutional Development Program funds may not be used to support the core costs of Co-Managers or Third Party Managers.

Duplication: The Professional and Institutional Development Program is designed to be implemented flexibly, but it is not designed to duplicate activities funded by other programs or to supplement funding in other program areas. Activities that provide training, resources, and/or services for a specific Departmental  program are not eligible for funding. Activities that impact several or all programs indirectly, by building the beneficiary's governance capacity in one or more of the ten functions of government, would be eligible for funding.

Existing Governance Resources: When resources are available, which are similar to a proposed project activity, Professional and Institutional Development Program funding will not cover the full costs of developing a new product. In these cases, Professional and Institutional Development Program funds can fund related costs such as planning, engaging, customizing existing products to the unique needs of the beneficiary, ratification, and implementation.

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