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The Litigation Fund helps finance legal expenses for Indigenous communities considering legal actions that support responsible resource development in Alberta.

This fund is available to groups, coalitions, privately funded societies, or alliances that include Indigenous businesses, communities or groups.

Proposals may be considered for one of the following funding streams:

  • litigation or legal intervention – joining or participating in litigation or regulatory processes
  • seed funding – costs for research to support potential court challenges

Funding criteria

Applicants need to show how their legal action will advance Alberta’s interests by:

  • supporting Indigenous community interests in responsible resource development that benefit their communities and increases their participation in Alberta’s economy
  • supporting efficient, safe, orderly and responsible development of Alberta’s natural resources and increased market access for our natural resources
  • supporting Alberta’s natural resources development (for example: oil, natural gas, pipelines, forestry, etc.)
  • creating fair and effective policies, legislation and market systems that support natural resources development and export from Alberta
  • explaining how the group has a unique perspective to add that is in Alberta’s interest

Oil, oil sands, natural gas and pipeline proposals will be a priority. All natural resources proposals, including forestry, are eligible.

Eligible applicants

Applicants must prove:

  • participation of an Indigenous community
  • authority to proceed with planned litigation (for example: authority by chief and council for a First Nations or authority from chair and council for a Metis Settlement), and
  • retention of legal counsel with relevant experience and expertise for the proposed action

They must also be one of the following:

  • a registered non-profit under the laws of Alberta or Canada
  • a registered corporation
  • a member of a broad coalition registered in Canada
  • a First Nation, Metis Settlement or registered organization with authority to represent Indigenous Peoples or communities such as a:
    • Treaty organization
    • Indigenous economic development agency
    • research entity

Applicants must have a bank account registered in the organization’s name. The account must be able to receive electronic transfers and issue statements in case of audit or verification.

How to apply

Step 1: Prepare an application letter

Applicants must send a letter outlining:

  • The funding stream you are applying to:
    • litigation or legal intervention
    • seed funding
  • how the legal action meets the stated purpose of the Litigation Fund
  • a clear description of:
    • how the funding provided would support Alberta's interests
    • your role
  • proof of a deliverable, which could be a legal decision or a report to a hearing as an intervener
  • proof of being an eligible group, coalition, privately funded society or alliance that includes Indigenous representation
  • proof that the group is a registered or incorporated legal entity that can receive funds
  • a budget of estimated full costs for the litigation and the amount of funds requested detailing the proposed uses
  • the grant amount requested with details about the proposed uses, such as legal fees, travel costs, etc.

Full or partial funding of an eligible proposal may be considered.

If applicable, the letter must also include:

  • other sources of funding you have or are applying for
  • if you have partners in the litigation
  • demonstration of in-kind funding, which may include a partner such as industry or coalition colleagues and identification of other funding sources

A group can submit more than one proposal for more than one litigation matter. The Litigation Fund Review Committee can recommend a maximum grant amount for a group or a specific legal action.

Step 2: Submit the application letter

Send your completed application by email to: [email protected].

After you apply

The Litigation Fund Review Committee will review your application letter and contact you if members need more information.

Applicants will be notified of a decision within 120 days of the committee receiving the application letter.

All grants depend on:

  • the funds available
  • the likely benefit of the application to the province
  • the prudent use of the limited funding
  • any other factor thought relevant to the context in which a proposal is received

Financial reporting and requirements

Grant recipients must use the grant monies for legal fees, travel, and research. General disbursements like expert witness fees and honoraria to Elder witnesses must be preapproved.

Use the provincial government’s fee schedule and Government of Alberta travel and accommodation allowances (PDF, 145 KB) to determine travel and honoraria repayment. Legal counsel can be hired for a higher rate than the fee schedule.

Depending on funding availability and the merits of the application, an applicant may ask for more financial support if the litigation costs more or takes longer than originally planned. This would require a second application detailing the reasons and budget for additional money. The Litigation Fund Review Committee will only consider this option for special circumstances.

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Connect with the Litigation Fund:

Email: [email protected]

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