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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Economic development

This $55 million financial assistance budget has been earmarked for the economic development of Aboriginal nations or communities. The objectives to be achieved are as follows:

  • establish conditions that are conducive to the emergence of economic development;
  • create and develop businesses;
  • create and consolidate jobs;
  • foster entrepreneurship among women and young people.

A. Prerequisites

In order to have access to this budget, a nation or a community must:

  • have exhausted the budget attributed by the Aboriginal Development Fund (ADF) during the previous fiscal years, either because the time periods stipulated in the specific agreement have expired or because one or more funding agreements entered into by the parties necessitated the entirety of the sums allocated by the budget of the ADF;
  • not have signed with the gouvernement du Québec an agreement allowing it to fund economic development projects, unless such agreement expressly stipulates that it does not have a prejudicial effect on the renewal of the funding of the ADF;
  • have signed with the Minister for Native Affairs, not later than two years after the announcement of the program or two years after having exhausted the budget of the ADF, a specific agreement in which the nation or the community undertakes to submit economic development projects;
  • include in the specific agreement signed with the Minister for Native Affairs the socioeconomic profile of the nation or the community, based on the most recent data provided by Statistics Canada. This socioeconomic profile could be replaced by a new profile based on new statistical data.

B. Eligible organizations

  • The communities of the Aboriginal nations recognized by the Québec National Assembly
  • Non-profit Aboriginal organizations or their equivalent
  • Profit-oriented Aboriginal organizations or their equivalent

C. Eligible projects

In order to be eligible, an economic development project must be considered a priority by the Aboriginal nation or community that will submit it to the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones (SAA) within a period of five years, from the date of signing of the specific agreement.

Four types of projects are eligible.

Entrepreneurship

In order to be eligible, a project of this type must have positive effects on the consolidation of existing assets and the economic development of the Aboriginal nation or community. Moreover, it must have some of the following characteristics:

  • be limited and likely to respond to specific and cyclical situations;
  • be experimental and innovative;
  • have a structuring effect for the nation or the community;
  • aim for job creation;
  • serve as a driving force;
  • assure the influence of the nation or the community;
  • improve the living environment of the nation or the community.

Studies

In order to be eligible, this type of project must basically concern a study dealing with a potential project prepared within the context of the Aboriginal Initiatives Fund. The share of the financial assistance earmarked for a study project may not exceed 10% of the budget devoted to the economic development of the nation or the community. It may involve, among other things:

  • the preparation of a business plan;
  • the evaluation of the advisability of carrying out a project;
  • the evaluation of the technical and financial feasibility of a project;
  • the definition and development of a concept;
  • the market analysis associated with an investment project;
  • studies dealing with the integrated management of resources and Aboriginal traditional activities.

Assistance for local economic development

In order to be eligible, a project of this type must basically seek to help the nation or the community so that it can better structure its economic development. More specifically, the objectives to be achieved will have to be as follows:

  • adopt an approach of openness to local development and make known the community’s development intentions: its vision, its orientations, its tangible measures, etc.;
  • call on the collaboration of various partners both inside and outside the community;
  • adopt a concrete approach when it comes to the means available to promote the development of the community and the means needed to do this;
  • survey the resources of its environment, make them know and facilitate their accessibility;
  • harmonize the orientations of the community with, among others, those of the region;
  • give priority to the development of specific action fields, for example that of human resources and make them a key lever in the development of the community;
  • hire and train local economic development officers in an Aboriginal setting.

The financial assistance granted for this type of project takes the form of direct contributions paid to a nation, a community or a non-profit organization to support the carrying out of activities geared to the establishment of conditions that will facilitate local economic development, for example: the preparation of a strategic plan for local economic development; the hiring and training of local economic development officers in an Aboriginal setting; the putting in place of harmonization mechanisms with external local economic development organizations, notably Local Development Centres; the development of individual or collective entrepreneurship. The financial assistance earmarked for local economic development may not exceed 30% of the share of the economic development budget intended for the Aboriginal nation or community.

Economic mobilization

A project of this type must have a mobilizing effect in the economic field for Aboriginal communities in general. Moreover, it must have been submitted by a non-profit Aboriginal organization and have been the subject of a consensus among Aboriginal nations. However, it does not necessarily have to be a priority project for an Aboriginal nation or community in particular.

The cumulative financial assistance granted to carry out this type of project may not exceed 1% of the total budget.

D. Project selection criteria

Generally, the projects related to economic development must have significant effects on the socioeconomic profile of the Aboriginal nation or community and meet the needs and priorities expressed. A project is presumed to have such significant effects if it has any one of the following characteristics:

  • structuring in nature for the community;
  • a leverage effect or a driving force in the development field;
  • the creation or consolidation of jobs for the Aboriginal people;
  • the profitability and viability of the business.


E. Conditions imposed on the proponent

The proponent must demonstrate the financial needs to be met and submit to the Aboriginal authorities and to the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones (SAA) a business plan including, among other things, the following information:

  • the justification of its financial needs and the relevance of resorting to this budget to carry out the project;
  • the place where the project will be carried out;
  • the breakdown of the expenses and of the funding of the project, including an itemized list of the other anticipated sources of funding;
  • the project’s beneficial effects on the nation or community concerned;
  • the steps taken to support the project;
  • the three-year budget forecast.


F. Determining of the financial assistance

General section

The financial assistance takes the form of a grant, the maximum amount of which is determined by taking into account the proponent’s financial needs and the assistance granted by other departments and agencies of the gouvernement du Québec and of the federal government.

The assistance granted by the gouvernement du Québec and its government corporations may not exceed 50% of the eligible expenses within the context of the AIF. The nation or the community, the proponent or the federal government will have to complete the funding of the project. The amount of the financial assistance awarded by the two orders of government may not exceed 90% of the cost of the project. No project will be approved by the Minister for Native Affairs until such time as the financing plan has been completed, including, where such is the case, the financial participation of the federal government.

As for projects to provide assistance for local economic development, the gouvernement du Québec will assume, for a maximum period of three years, 50% of the total cost of a project submitted by a nation or a community and approved by the Minister for Native Affairs. The financial participation of the federal government in a project will lead to the reduction, in the same proportion, of the contribution required from the Aboriginal nations or communities.

In the case of projects pertaining to the creation of a social economy enterprise by a non-profit organization, a portion of the operating expenses could be funded for a maximum period of five years and on a declining basis. The short-term funding of the expansion of such an enterprise, by a non-profit organization, could be envisaged in the form of a payment of a portion of the operating expenses for a maximum period of three years and on a declining basis.

In order to encourage partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses, the projects submitted by Aboriginal proponents are considered as being 100% eligible for this program, if these proponents retain effective control over their business and hold more than 50% of the shares in the business. If such is not the case, the amount of the financial assistance granted will correspond to the shares of the business held by the Aboriginal proponents.

Specific section

In order to encourage entrepreneurship among women and young people in an Aboriginal setting, a specific funding section has been put in place to reduce the investment required from such proponents, under certain conditions. The SAA has increased to 60% the global assistance earmarked by the gouvernement du Québec and its government corporations for the eligible expenses of a project. Similarly, the combined assistance granted by the two orders of government has risen to 95% of the cost of the project.

Only young entrepreneurs who are 35 years of age or younger and female entrepreneurs of all ages who retain effective control over their business and who hold more than 50% of the shares in their business will be able to benefit from the specific funding section.

All of the other conditions described in the general section regarding the determining of the financial assistance and the conditions of payment of such also apply to this assistance component.

G. Terms of payment and reporting

All authorized projects will be the subject of a multi-year funding agreement between the eligible organization and the gouvernement du Québec. The project to be carried out, the conditions for the payment of the financial assistance granted and the commitments of the parties will have to be clearly defined in the agreement. Moreover, this agreement will provide for a reporting process.

Signature gouvernementale
Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
905, avenue Honoré-Mercier, 1er étage - Québec (Qc)  G1R 5M6 - 418 643-3166
Last update : January 18, 2007