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Frequently asked questions

What is the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) Funding Program?


The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) is a Government of Canada program, established in 2004. It supports Indigenous organizations and communities as they acquire, develop and use the knowledge, skills and technical resources that enable them to participate in the conser¬vation and recovery of species at risk. The program supports projects that address species at risk and their habitat, and engage the broader community in knowledge sharing and stewardship activities.

AFSAR is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), which deliver funding to terrestrial and aquatic projects respectively. For information on funding for terrestrial species at risk, please contact Environment and Climate Change Canada. For information on aquatic species at risk, please contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Who can participate in AFSAR?


The AFSAR program is focused on engaging Indigenous Peoples in the conservation and recovery of species at risk. Eligibility is restricted to Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada, though non-Indigenous organizations that have been formally mandated to represent or apply to the program on behalf of an Indigenous community may also be considered. Collaboration and partnership between Indigenous communities or organizations and other stakeholders is encouraged, and funding is available to support a wide-range of activities.

What are the selection criteria for projects under AFSAR?


Projects must satisfy each of the following criteria:

  • meet all eligibility requirements
  • align with national and regional priorities
  • leverage a minimum of 1:0.20 on funds that AFSAR invests; that is to say that for every $1 provided by AFSAR at least $0.20 is raised by project recipients
What is the evaluation process and how are fund amounts determined for eligible projects?


Each proposal undergoes a thorough evaluation by Regional and National Advisory Committees to confirm that eligibility requirements are met. Proposals meeting the base eligibility criteria are then prioritized for funding based on alignment with program objectives, results and both national and regional priorities. Project administration criteria are also assessed to ensure clarity, feasibility and value for money.

Funding varies and is dependent on activities being proposed. In an effort to promote collaboration and multi-year projects, the minimum funding request suggested for new and multi-year projects is $10,000. Funding levels typically range from $10,000 to $50,000.

Projects may extend between one to three years. A minimum of 20% matching contributions (from non-federal sources) is required (20₵ confirmed match for each $1 of AFSAR funding).

I would like to apply to AFSAR, when are applications due and can I have an application form?


The AFSAR Call for Proposals is an annual event that kicks off the application process. Dates can vary year-to-year, but the Call letter is typically released during the fall. A window of 6-8 weeks is offered for the preparation and submission of formal applications.

For more detailed information on the specifics of a given funding year, please review the Call for Proposals as soon as it is released and announced publicly, or contact the appropriate AFSAR Regional Coordinator. Application forms and relevant program guidance are included as part of the release.

When will I receive notification that I have been approved for funding?


The review, evaluation and approval of project proposals occur in the months leading up to the start of a given fiscal year. For aquatic proposals, DFO makes every effort to notify proponents of their project’s status within 7 days of approval, which often coincides with the first week of the fiscal year in question.

I have an idea for a project. Can you tell me if I should consider applying to the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk or not?


If you are interested in applying to AFSAR, please contact the appropriate AFSAR Coordinator for your region. The AFSAR Regional Coordinator will be happy to discuss your proposal in more detail.

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