Kahnawà:ke’s Economic Development Commission

Kahnawà:ke’s Economic Development Commission

Aboriginal Initiatives Fund (AIF III)

Economic development

The objectives of this component are to:

  • create an environment that fosters economic development,
  • create and develop businesses,
  • create and protect jobs,
  • generate investment in Indigenous communities,
  • promote entrepreneurship among women and young people, and
  • encourage the development of social economy businesses.
Eligible projects

Applications must

  • be consistent with the objectives for this component of the fund, and
  • be submitted to the SAA by March 31, 2022.

Eligible projects must fall under one of the following categories:


This category is for the launch, expansion, or development of a business. The project must also meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • Be beneficial for the Indigenous population
  • Create jobs for Indigenous people
  • Be economically and socially sustainable
  • Raise the profile of the Indigenous nation or community and the Indigenous population in general

This category is for studies that must be carried out before a project eligible for the economic development component can be put in place. This may include

  • a business plan,
  • a technical or financial feasibility study,
  • a market analysis for an investment project, and
  • studies on the integrated management of resources and traditional Indigenous pursuits.

Studies may not exceed 10% of the total budget for economic development in the nation or community.

Submitting applications

Project applicants must demonstrate their financial needs and submit to the SAA a business plan that includes the following information:

  • An explanation of financial need and the benefit of using this component of the program to carry out the project
  • The project location and targeted clientele
  • The project timeline
  • A breakdown of the project’s expenses and funding, including details of other sources of funding
  • A description of the applicants’ relevant skills and experience
  • How the project will be beneficial
  • What has been done to check whether the project is eligible for other funding programs
  • The estimated operating budget for the next three years
  • The latest financial statements, if applicable
Eligible costs

In general, eligible costs are limited to capital expenditures, as defined in generally accepted accounting principles. Operating expenses, the repayment of debtor deficits, and working capital are not eligible costs.Some exceptions can be made in the following situations:

  • For studies all costs are eligible

In the case of business acquisitions or acquisitions of interest in existing companies, the costs incurred are eligible if they have a direct and significant impact on the creation of jobs for Indigenous people. The job creation aspect will be assessed according to the payroll or expected payroll to be paid by the eligible company or organization for all jobs held by Indigenous people and created or secured through the project.

Constructions projects

Special condition for infrastructure projects outside Indigenous communities

To be eligible for funding for infrastructure outside an Indigenous community, the organization must meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • Hold the title to the infrastructure
  • Be in the process of purchasing the infrastructure and provide official written proof
  • Hold or be in the process of obtaining a lease or emphyteutic lease that is or will be in force for at least five years after construction is complete
Requirement to seek bids

For eligible projects that require $100,000 or more in construction work, pursuant to the Act respecting Contracting by Public Bodies the organization is not required to hold a public call for tenders to award the contract. However, the eligible organization must meet the following minimum requirements for awarding a $100,000 to $1 million construction contract:

  • Hold a publicly announced open call for tenders, or
  • Invite at least three contractors to submit bids.

For construction work over $1 million, the eligible organization must, at a minimum, hold a publicly announced open call for tenders. These types of calls for tenders are usually posted in newspapers, displayed in the local offices of construction associations, and/or announced via a public electronic service. Such calls for bids must allow all competent and interested contractors to bid on the contract. The announcements or public notices must be distributed widely enough to reach an adequate number of competent and interested contractors, resulting in a competitive bidding process.

For all calls for construction bids, whether announced publicly or by invitation only,

  • the deadline for bids must be at least two weeks after the calls are posted, and
  • bids can only be requested and contracts awarded
    • at a flat rate, or
    • based on a unit price.
Financial assistance
General category

Financial assistance is given as a grant. The maximum grant is determined according to the financial needs of the applicant and the aid given by the federal government and Québec ministries and government.

Aid granted by the Government of Québec and its agencies cannot exceed 50% of eligible expenses, and the total aid from the federal and provincial governments cannot exceed 90% of the project’s total cost, with one exception.

In order to encourage partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, any business formed by such a partnership will be 100% eligible for the program, under the condition that the Indigenous applicant retain effective control and owns at least 50% of the company. If the Indigenous developer is not the majority owner of the company, the financial aid that can be awarded for the project will match the proportion of the company under Indigenous ownership.

Special category

To make funding more accessible for Indigenous women and youth, a special category with its own budget, separate from the budget for nations and communities, has been put in place. SAA has increased the combined financial assistance awarded by the Government of Québec and its agencies to 70% of eligible expenses for projects carried out by Indigenous women and youth.

Similarly, the combined assistance granted by the federal and provincial governments has been raised to 95% of the total costs of such projects. Only young Indigenous people aged 35 or under and Indigenous women of all ages may benefit from this special funding category.

Companies for which over 50% of effective control and ownership are held by young Indigenous entrepreneurs age 35 or under or female Indigenous entrepreneurs of all ages are fully eligible.

Project assessment criteria

Economic development projects submitted by Indigenous communities must have significant and far-reaching effects on the socio-economic circumstances of the nation or community and meet the stated needs and priorities. Projects are deemed to have such effects if they have one of the following characteristics:

  • They trigger or stimulate economic development.
  • They foster the creation and protection of jobs for Indigenous people.
  • They foster the creation and development of Indigenous businesses.

In general, projects are assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Consistency with the program objectives and principles:
    • Eligibility in accordance with the terms and conditions
    • Compatibility of the objectives with the objectives for this component
  • Technical feasibility of the project:
    • Expertise in the technical components
    • Realistic schedule
  • Financial feasibility of the project:
    • Detailed financial plan
    • Reliable, consistent, and realistic budget forecasts
    • Profitability
  • Quality of the organization:
    • Relevance of the applicants’ skills and experience to the project
    • Outside experts selected with care, if applicable
  • Thorough market analysis, including knowledge of the target clientele’s needs
  • Results achieved from the funds requested:
    • Number of jobs created or secured
    • Investment generated
    • Contribution to local and regional economic development
    • Economic and social sustainability
    • Far-reaching effects for Indigenous people
Reporting and payment methods

Reporting must comply with the provisions of the financial agreement entered into for the project and must include

  • a full report on all activities carried out, and
  • a description of the results achieved in terms of the objectives.

Reporting must include a financial report showing how the grant was used, along with supporting documents. The organization must at all times keep separate accounts for project expenses, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

The agreement specifies the activities, payment conditions, and undertakings made by each party.