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Indigenous Program Review and renewal


The Indigenous Program Review was led by the National Indigenous Fisheries Institute in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Launched in October 2017 and ending in May 2019, this review resulted in findings and recommendations that were shaped by the experiences and expertise of Indigenous peoples who have participated in the Department’s commercial and collaborative programs for many years.

The review grew out of Budget 2017, which provided DFO with $250 million over five years and $62.2 million annually thereafter to renew and expand its Indigenous programs. Key renewal elements included permanent funding and northern expansion for the commercial programs and increased permanent funding for the collaborative programs.

It was a technical review, completed in two phases, where Indigenous program participants and technical experts were placed at the centre of a process to examine the history of these programs, the main program elements and structures (including what was working and what wasn’t), the accomplishments and capacity built by Indigenous groups to date, and where changes and growth could lead to even greater outcomes for Indigenous groups and communities.

The co-design and co-development process enabled the Institute to craft recommendations that are practical or administrative in nature, along with those that are more transformative and can help renew DFO-Indigenous relations.

The department accepted the Institute’s overall findings and committed to develop a multi-year action plan for implementation.

To learn more about the Indigenous Program Review and the National Indigenous Fisheries Institute please visit:

Status update

On September 6, 2019, DFO released the Action Plan for the Renewal and Expansion of DFO’s Indigenous Programs which outlines the actions underway or planned to renew DFO’s Indigenous programs. It builds on commitments made in Budget 2017 and responds to the review recommendations. The Action Plan is multi-year, with annual planned updates on progress. The content will continue to grow and evolve (be “evergreen”), informed by ongoing co-development, co-design and co-delivery with Indigenous partners.

On May 22, 2019, the Institute released their final phase two report which provided findings and recommendations on:

On May 22, 2018, the Institute released their phase one report that provided findings and recommendations on:

Immediately, DFO began to implement early and practical actions to improve these three programs.

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