The Planning Cycle - Capital Plan

A Capital Plan is a prioritized listing (including cost estimates) for major capital projects that the community would like to undertake over the next five years. The Capital Plan includes both mandatory and optional capital projects, as well as funded and unfunded projects. Capital Projects are usually defined as projects related to the planning, design, construction, renovation or purchase of facilities for education, housing, or community infrastructure purposes. Capital assets are permanent resources in the community such as buildings, roads, utilities, land, and equipment.

Capital Plans identify capital needs in the community and establish the order in which they will be undertaken. INAC requires an annual reassessment of a Band's capital plan to be submitted in the year-end report. Capital Plans are distinct from other Band fiscal plans because federal agencies consider capital as a distinct category of funding and attach special conditions for its use.

The reality is that a capital plan, while reflecting priorities in the community, also reflects projects which governments are prepared to fund regardless of the priority established by the community. Governments often establish political priorities and make capital available to meet those priorities.

Another consideration is that additional capital funding may be available from the regional offices to cover eligible capital expenditures made by First Nations from their own resources. To apply for this funding, a formal letter, accompanied by a completion certificate should be sent to the regional office by mid-February. The regional office will then add the application to its list of additional funding requests which it then will consider on a priority basis if money is available. (see "Additional Capital Letter")

The Capital Plan flows from Chief and Council's priorization activities. The current year's Capital Plan is combined with Preliminary Program Budgets to be addressed through the current year's funding agreement. It is important to remember that many aspects of a Capital Plan are fixed. This is particularly true for multi-year projects and for those projects where additional government funding is approved for specific years.

  1. An annual review of the Capital Plan is required. In preparation for this review, the Band Manager and the appropriate Program Director should provide a summary of the fixed elements of the plan, a summary of amendments required by project delays or advancements, and a listing of options for Band Council consideration.

  2. Within the constraints noted, Chief and Council should develop a priorized listing of capital projects based in part on the established Mandate Objectives. Decision-makers can use the same criteria and ranking system as for Band programs. (See "Prioritization Criteria.")

  3. The Band Manager is primarily responsible for ensuring preparation of the revised Capital Plan based on the input and recommendations by senior staff and Band Council.

  4. Chief and Council give final approval of the Capital Plan prior to submission to INAC.

Roles and Responsibilities:
The Band Manager leads the activities surrounding the Capital Plan, but depends on input from staff and approval by Chief and Council.

The annual revision to the Capital Plan is due to INAC in the year-end report (March 31).