Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is currently accepting proposals for the High-Cost Special Education Program.

The program provides funds for direct and indirect services for high-cost special education students assessed with moderate to profound learning disabilities.

Direct services represent at least 75% of the available funding. These include a number of classroom and school-based services related to the education and support of students with high-cost special education needs. Examples include:

  • costs associated with the:
    • acquisition of professional assessments
    • completion of student assessments
    • educational psychological, speech and language services
    • counseling and social services
    • Elder, mentoring and cultural services
    • occupational therapy and physical therapy services
    • instructional and resource materials
    • assistive technologies and equipment purchases
  • salaries and benefits for:
    • special education teachers
    • individual teacher aides and para-professional workers

Indirect services represent up to 25% of total High-Cost Special Education Program funding.  Funding is provided to eligible First Nations recipients for the development of special education programs and services on the understanding that each First Nations student with special education needs is unique. Each student requires a customized program to meet their individual needs in order to best support their success. Examples include:

  • professional development and training for teachers and teacher aides
  • information services for parents
  • costs associated with:
    • lodging
    • transportation
    • accommodations involving changes in how a student accesses information and demonstrated
    • learning, which can include changes in the method of instruction, curriculum and the environment


Band councils, federal schools, provincial ministries of education, provincial school boards or districts, private education institutions and organizations designated by band councils can submit a proposal.

In order to qualify for ISC’s High-Cost Special Education Program funding, an individual education plan (IEP) must be in place, or being created, for a student with identified special education needs. Assessment costs are covered by ISC. For more information about assessments of students’ needs, click here.

How to apply

Proposals are accepted through an annual call for proposals.

  • Submissions must include details on all proposed high-cost special education activities through the school year, and clearly state how the activities will meet the high-cost special education needs and further the objectives and expected results of the program
  • Programs and services that are to be implemented or maintained during the school year must be comparable to the high-cost special educational programs and services that are currently offered by the provincial schools

When submitting a request, please follow the High-Cost Special Education Program: National Program Guidelines 2023 to 2024. All proposals will be assessed by ISC regional offices using the criteria detailed in the program guidelines.

For more information on submitting a proposal for the High-Cost Special Education Program, contact Indigenous Services Canada:

  • Via email: [email protected]
  • Or call: 1-800-567-9604 and ask to speak to an education officer


The deadline to submit funding requests is May 15, 2023.