IAO Guidelines for COVID-19 Emergency Response Funding - Updated April 20, 2020.

To support and address the unique and urgent needs of First Nations during the COVID-19 emergency, the Ontario Government will be providing funding supports for the purchase and distribution of critical supplies, communications, enhanced public health measures, pandemic planning, and self-isolation measures.


Quick Access: Funding Proposal Form

Quick Access: IAO Guidelines for COVID-19 Emergency Response Funding


The Ministry of Indigenous Affairs (IAO) has identified the following funding streams that will support First Nations communities in taking critical actions to respond to COVID-19.


Please note: Ontario First Nations, Tribal Councils and/or Provincial Territorial Organizations (PTOs) can apply for funds from one or more streams to best address needs.


Funding Streams

People and Distribution of Goods


This stream will provide funding to First Nations communities to access emergency relief and supports, such as:

  • Emergency needs i.e., food, water, basic household goods, baby and elderly care supplies;

  • On-going food security, including supports for hunters, trappers and communal storage;

  • Transportation and distribution of goods to communities;

  • Transportation of medical/mental health workers into and out of the community, and of community members to medical treatments outside the community as required.


Indigenous Community Awareness and Prevention


This stream will provide support for emergency communications and community outreach, including:

  • Community communication tools and translation

  • Outreach to vulnerable groups

  • Enhanced public health measures (e.g. liaising with public health officials, production of posters and communications products)


Indigenous Pandemic Planning


This funding stream will build regional and community capacity for culturally appropriate community and pandemic planning, including:

  • Salaries and wages

  • Meetings/IT

  • Community health coordination

  • Supports to implement existing emergency plans


Indigenous Self-Isolation Facilities


This stream of funding will enable First Nations communities to contract with private or public facilities which may be repurposed as self-isolation facilities and/or field hospitals and to support the purchase of appropriate resources, including:

  • Supplies and equipment

  • Transportation

Priority will be given to those communities experiencing the most need, with the     highest priority given where cases of COVID-19 are identified in communities.


Recipient Eligibility Criteria (applicable to all streams)


The applicant/recipient is an Ontario First Nation, or a Tribal Council or PTO that coordinates on behalf of member First Nations.


The applicant/recipient is a legal entity (i.e. established by or under legislation; federally or provincially incorporated for at least two years or affiliated with an Indigenous organization that has been incorporated for at least two years);


The applicant/recipient has capacity and is able to administer the COVID-19 emergency response project.


Eligible Funding Costs

Stream 1 – People and Distribution of Goods

  • Salaries and wages of staff hired to procure and distribute emergency supplies

  • Mandatory Employee Related Costs (MERCs) – capped at 17.5% of salaries and wages

  • Emergency supplies such as food, water, basic household goods, infant and elderly care supplies

  • Sanitation supplies (i.e. hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes and solutions, rubbing alcohol)

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical/health and emergency workers

  • Travel, meals and accommodation expenses of staff involved in emergency operations (i.e. procurement and distribution of emergency supplies)

  • Equipment and other logistics (e.g. shipping) necessary for the movement, transportation and storage of food and other supplies

  • Purchase of IT equipment related to project administration

  • Other emergency response services (please provide detail)

  • Administration costs including utilities, telephone/fax charges, network charges, postage/courier charges, photocopying charges, office supplies, etc.


Stream 2 – Indigenous Community Awareness and Prevention

  • Information, education and communication materials and tools such as print, video and social media

  • Professional fees (i.e., communications/media consultants, pandemic or emergency mitigation, preparedness and response planners/consultants, Indigenous language translators and interpreters)

  • Planning meetings, training sessions for staff and other community outreach activities

  • Purchase of IT equipment related to project administration

  • Payment for media and print advertising including distribution and shipping

  • Other enhanced public safety communication measures

  • Administration costs


Stream 3 – Indigenous Pandemic Planning

  • Salaries and wages of staff coordinating Indigenous community pandemic planning activities

  • Mandatory Employee Related Costs (MERCs) – capped at 17.5% of the budget

  • Travel, meals and accommodation expenses of staff

  • Purchase of PPE and other medical supplies

  • Purchase of IT equipment related to project administration

  • Emergency planning meetings and training sessions for staff

  • Professional fees (i.e., communications/media consultants, pandemic or emergency mitigation, preparedness and response planners/consultants, Indigenous language translators and interpreters)

  • Administration costs


Stream 4 – Indigenous Self-Isolation Facilities

  • Medical supplies and PPE

  • Medical and hospital equipment

  • Purchase of IT equipment related to project administration

  • Contract services provided through agreement with another agency, organization, or individual such as local businesses for services required by the project in re-purposing existing community centres, school gyms, or disused hotels as self-isolation facilities

  • Transportation of goods and staff

  • Administration costs


Ineligible Expenses (All Streams)

  • Capital assets costs other than the purchase of eligible IT, medical and hospital equipment and other equipment for the proposed self-isolation facilities

  • Legal/litigation costs


Administration Costs

  • Expenses that are not included within the definition of administration must be itemized separately within the budget.

  • Where administration is appropriate for a transfer payment, a maximum of 10% of the transfer payment’s sub-total budget (pre-administration) will be applied.

  • Administration costs incurred in excess of the approved administration budget will not be funded

  • Travel and meal expenses will be paid in accordance with Ontario’s Travel, Meal and Hospitality Directive and will only be paid for actual expenses incurred. If your organization has adopted a travel and meal policy that exceeds the amounts outlined in the Ontario policy, your organization will be responsible for any additional costs incurred.


Submitting Your Funding Proposal


Requests for funding will be approved on a rolling intake basis.


The Funding Proposal Form enclosed with these guidelines must include the following information:

  • Brief description of the project

  • Project workplan. Please provide clear activities and tangible outputs/outcomes that demonstrate direct benefits to Indigenous peoples and/or communities represented.

  • Project budget, including funding required to support the project in each funding stream applied for, and activities and expenditures the funding will cover.

  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Business Number

Download Funding Proposal Form Here


Please note the following:

  • All projects will be monitored for status of completion by March 31, 2021.

  • Ensure that your organization is not in default of the terms and conditions of any grant or loan agreement (i.e., reports due or surplus) with any ministry or agency of the Government of Ontario.

  • Per the terms of the Transfer Payment Agreement (TPA), your organization will be required to provide a valid Certificate of Insurance (COI) which may be submitted after execution of the TPA. The COI must be consistent with section A10 of the TPA and specifically reference the name of the project.

  • As a reminder, registration to the Transfer Payment Common Registration (TPCR) system is mandatory for all recipients. For questions about the registration process, please call Customer Service at 1-855-216-3090 or 416-325-6691, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, or email TPONCC@ontario.ca


Agreement Execution and Management

Agreement Execution

  • Once the terms of the TPA have been finalized, an electronic copy of the TPA will be sent to you.

  • The TPA must be signed by your signing authority and dated.

  • Please email a scanned copy of the signed TPA to IAO for signing and execution.

  • A fully executed TPA will be emailed to your organization for your records.

Please note: Where applicable, a single TPA per recipient will be developed for all the funding streams that the recipient accesses. This will support administrative efficiency.


Reporting Requirements

  • IAO will determine the payment schedule based on the nature of activities and need for funding outlined in the Project Work Plan.

  • The first payment will be released upon execution of the TPA and submission of required documents. Subsequent payment/s will be processed upon reconciliation of work done to date.

  • Check-ins (through phone calls and emails) will be conducted between IAO and the recipient to assess implementation of the initiative including issues, effectiveness of the measures and results achieved.

  • At the end of the project, recipients must report back to IAO on the use of funds, project activities and outcomes achieved using IAO’s standard reporting templates.

  • The templates include sections to provide feedback on meeting workplan objectives and to record achievement of performance measures.


Budget Flexibility


For IAO COVID-19 Emergency Response Funding, recipients have the ability to reallocate funding between designated expenditure categories without the prior approval of the Ministry.


This flexibility to reallocate funding across budget lines without prior approval from the Ministry applies to IAO COVID-19 Emergency Response Funding for the 2020-2021 fiscal year only.


Inquiries can be directed to:


For priorities and relationships:


For program administration and management:

  • Programs and Services Branch Ministry of Indigenous Affairs

  • 160 Bloor Street East, Toronto ON M7A 2E6

  • Attn: Genny Padilla – Genevieve.Padilla@ontario.ca

  • 437-223-8361


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