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Ontario Arts Council


Kateri Gauthier

Program Administrator
Toll-free in Ontario: ​1-800-387-0058 ext. 7424

Erika Iserhoff

Indigenous Culture Fund Grants Facilitator
Toll-free in Ontario: ​1-800-387-0058 ext. 5079

ICF Small Grants


This program supports status and non-status First Nations, Inuit and Métis community, culture and way-of-life projects in Ontario. These grants are for short-term projects. Applications are reviewed with a quick turnaround time. Ontario-based Indigenous organizations, groups and individuals are eligible. First-time applicants, youth and Elders are encouraged to apply. There are five funding categories:

Community/Culture/Way of Life: for projects, events or activities. Examples:
  • Organizing a cultural camp where Elders, language speakers and knowledge keepers take youth out on the land and share their teachings. 
  • Hosting a gathering where traditional medicines and harvesting teachings are shared with community members.
  • Exploring how technology and contemporary culture intersect with traditional ideas and approaches.

Indigenous Language Projects: for language revitalization projects, including workshops and classes. Examples:

  • Running Indigenous language immersion classes in the community.
  • Participating in an Indigenous workshop, program or class as an individual learner.

Cultural Research, Documentation, Tools and Resources: for research, documentation and the development of materials to support cultural awareness and traditional knowledge. Examples:

  • Developing a protocols tool-kit that will support archaeological digs in the community.
  • Researching and documenting stories about the local community and land to share with future generations.

Cultural Mentorship or Learning: for projects involving training and mentorship in cultural knowledge or activities. Examples:

  • A master birch bark canoe maker mentors an emerging maker on traditional techniques for a period of time.
  • A community group offers family and all-ages drumming workshops.
Travel: for travel related expenses to attend and/or participate in community or cultural activities, events, workshops or conferences which are typically unavailable in your community. Examples:
  • Attending a sweat lodge ceremony in another community.
  • Participating in a traditional medicines workshop in another region of the province.


The goals of all ICF programs are to:

  • Support the vitality and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis expression and ways of life.
  • Create opportunities for Indigenous people to continue community building.
  • Support community-based activities that foster well-being and resilience for Indigenous peoples of all ages.
  • Support Indigenous peoples to engage in and share cultural practices, knowledge and learning.
  • Support Indigenous language revitalization.

Deadline Dates

This program has an open deadline.

  • This means that applications are accepted at any time until the program budget is spent.
  • Grant notification will be available approximately six to eight weeks after an application has been submitted.

Grant amount(s)

  • Community/Culture/Way of Life: maximum $5,000
  • Indigenous Language Projects: maximum $5,000
  • Cultural Research, Documentation, Tools and Resources: maximum $5,000
  • Cultural Mentorship or Learning: maximum $5,000
  • Travel: maximum $5,000

Important: Due to the number of applications we receive and the limited funds available, grants awarded may be smaller than the amount requested.

Eligible applicants

  • Status and non-status First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals.
  • Indigenous ad hoc groups, collectives and youth councils.
  • First Nations, Inuit or Métis organizations, including:
  • Incorporated not-for-profit organizations.
  • Community centres, cultural centres, friendship centres, libraries, schools, health and social services organizations.
  • Band councils, tribal councils, Métis community councils and provincial organizations.
  • Applicants must work or operate in Ontario and have a permanent physical address in Ontario.


  • Applicants are eligible to receive up to two ICF project grants in a year, provided each grant is for a different activity. The limit of two per year is based on the date of the application deadline, not on the date the grant payment is received.
  • Applicants are eligible to receive ICF grants in addition to other OAC project or operating grants. However, the same activities cannot be funded by both OAC and ICF. 
  • You may only apply for one grant in any program per deadline.

Ineligible applicants

  • Non-Indigenous groups, organizations, schools, colleges, universities and individuals.
  • Municipalities.
  • Students may not apply for projects related to their student work.
  • For-profit enterprises.

Important: For more details on eligibility, see Program-specific definitions below.

This program funds

  • Administrative, programming, material, equipment and technical costs or fees to implement the proposed project.
  • Childcare costs for project staff and participants.
  • Projects that take up to one year to complete.
  • Out-of-province projects are eligible in the Travel category only.

Note: Applicants may apply for up to 100% of the project costs, but are encouraged to seek revenue from a variety of sources where possible.

This program does not fund

  • Powwow competitions (traditional powwows and special projects within powwows are eligible).
  • Individual artists applying with arts creation projects (See OAC’s Indigenous Arts Projects).
  • Arts presentations or exhibitions that do not involve or engage the community in the creation (See OAC’s Indigenous Arts Projects).
  • Ongoing organizational operating costs.
  • Purchase of land or real estate.

Activity timing

The activity for which you are requesting funding:

  • Cannot start before the date your application is submitted.
  • Cannot finish before you receive your grant results.
  • Must be completed no more than one year after you receive the grant results.

Important: You are not eligible to apply to any OAC program, including ICF, if you have an overdue or unapproved final report in any OAC grant program as of the deadline. You may have an outstanding final report for a project that is not yet completed. 

Final report requirements

If you receive a grant you must submit a final report upon completion of the project. A final report form will be available in Nova. Final reports for this program require grant recipients to provide:

  • Description of the project undertaken and its outcomes, including details on any minor or approved changes to what had been outlined in the application.
  • Description of how grant funds were spent.
  • Visual documentation of the project such as pictures or video clips (optional).
  • Visual documentation and/or an written explanation of how you acknowledged, or will acknowledge, ICF support for your project, if applicable.

To apply

  • Answers to application questions.
  • A project budget.
  • Support documents:
    • CV, résumé, brief bios or organizational history
    • Images, video or other documentation (optional)

OAC is committed to having an accessible application process. OAC can, if needed, provide an alternate form or process to submit an application. See the Inclusive Application Process Policy. Oral applications may be accepted from Indigenous individual applicants.

Program-specific definitions

Definitions of eligible applicants

Indigenous: Status or non-status First Nations, Inuit or Métis.

Indigenous ad hoc groups/collectives:

  • Must have at least 50 percent of its members residing in Ontario.
  • Must be comprised of at least two members who are Indigenous, and who will be responsible for the administration of the grant on behalf of the ad hoc group/collective.
  • Cannot be a corporation.
  • Must be able to cash a grant cheque issued in the name of the ad hoc group/collective.
Ad hoc group: unincorporated group that comes together for a one-time project.

Collective: unincorporated group that has ongoing activity.

Youth: Indigenous youth ages 16 to 30. 

Indigenous organizations:
  • Are governed by a volunteer board of directors, advisory board or council.
  • Must have a board of directors or membership group of at least 60 percent Indigenous people and a minimum of two Indigenous staff members in key decision-making roles, e.g., executive director, artistic director, chief financial officer.