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New entrants

Please note the Expression of Interest (EOI) stage closed March 1st, 2019.

DFO launched a multistep and multiyear process to support the planning and development of a small number of new AAROM departments, which was being facilitated by a modest funding increase from Budget 2017. The main goal was to address significant gaps at the watershed level in the current AAROM network and to realize opportunities for these new AAROM departments (i.e., “new entrants”) to support diverse partnerships and service delivery, including participation in other DFO and Government of Canada programs and initiatives. This process is not intended to duplicate or displace existing AAROM departments.

Planning and building a new AAROM department is a complex and multi-year undertaking, requiring resourcing and considerable collaboration between communities and with DFO. The new entrants process is being rolled out gradually through four main steps, with capacity development support provided throughout, and leading to the eventual launch of a full-fledged AAROM department.

The main steps include:

  1. Expression of Interest (EOI): Interested Indigenous applicants, in dialogue with DFO, developed and submitted an expression of interest demonstrating how they meet the objectives and eligibility criteria of the AAROM program and the new entrants process. A national DFO review committee reviewed and assessed the EOIs, approving a limited number of potential new entrants for advancement to the next step – Capacity development and planning.
  2. Capacity development and planning: Potential new entrants are provided with limited short-term funding to plan and develop a multi-year strategic plan for the creation of a new AAROM department. This includes support for the preparation of a comprehensive strategic plan, including defining and prioritizing the service needs for the communities and watershed involved (including potential links to other programs), developing organizational plans (e.g., staffing, governance, facilities, incorporation, etc.), undertaking community member dialogue and reaching agreement on the AAROM strategic plan, as well as basic overhead costs and some contracting. Project funding and permanent staffing are not eligible activities at this step.
    Progression to the next step (i.e., submission of the strategic plan) will be determined through continued dialogue with DFO staff. There is no set time for completion of this step as some strategic plans may take longer than others to be developed and finalized.
  3. Strategic plan submission and review: Potential new entrants will submit their completed comprehensive strategic plan for review and approval by a review committee consisting of DFO officials as well as independent Indigenous experts.
  4. Become an AAROM department: Once approved, potential new entrants will begin implementing their strategic plan as a new AAROM department. This will likely require a ramp up of capacity and funding over time. At the start of this last step, potential new entrants must provide a confirmation of commitment to incorporate and when ready, provide copies of incorporation documents.

DFO staff are working with eligible new entrants through this process (Steps 1-4). New entrants area also being encouraged to take advantage of mentoring opportunities with existing AAROM departments, who can share best practices and guidance.


Listed below are the key factors DFO considered to assess and prioritize eligible new entrants.

Contact us

Contact your regional AAROM program office for more information or support.

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