Call to Action # 7: Actions and Commitments

Quality Education Backgrounder

January 23, 2018

Fed. Govt.

Quality Education Backgrounder: Indigenous Organization responses

Current Challenges
  • Gaps in graduation rates – about 44% of First Nations on-reserve (age 18-24) have completed high school, compared to 88% for other Canadians
  • Challenges to accessing post-secondary education opportunities
  • Significant infrastructure needs for school construction, repair and maintenance on reserveGaps in graduation rates – about 44% of First Nations on-reserve (age 18-24) have completed high school, compared to 88% for other Canadians
The Path Forward
  • Higher graduation rates and positive career outcomes for Indigenous Students
  • Substantive equity in education
  • Culturally appropriate curriculum
  • First Nations control of First Nations education
Points of Progress since November 2015 (AFN response)

Budget 2016 included $2.6 billion over five years for primary and secondary education on reserve. This includes funding to address immediate needs and to keep pace with cost growth over the medium term, as well as investments in language and cultural programming and literacy and numeracy. See C2A # 8

  1. 140 First Nation education projects are completed or underway. These projects, ranging from school repairs to the building of new schools, benefit more than 120 First Nation communities and 176,000 people.
  2. Historic Anishinabek Education Agreement transferring K-12 education jurisdiction to 23 Ontario First Nation communities comprising 25,000 people and 2,000 students.
    • Aug. 16, 2017 – The Anishinabek Nation communities have long sought the authority to educate their children—their way. I am pleased that the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement is finalized. This will provide the foundation of strength, hope, pride, and academic excellence for our children for generations to come.” Grand Council Chief Patrick Wedaseh Madahbee, Anishinabek Nation
  3. First ever co-developed Memorandum to Cabinet between Federal Government and Assembly of First Nations on K-12 education transformation approved at December Special Chiefs Assembly.
    • There are four major outcomes of the draft MC on First Nations education funding:
      • Supporting First Nations, through funded regional tables, to negotiate and conclude regional “First Nation Education Agreements.” The agreements will include an education funding model designed by First Nations based on the unique needs of their students, communities and schools (starting in 2018-19). First Nations can define “regions” for themselves as an individual First Nation, a language group, a school board model, a Tribal Council-style entity, a Treaty-based approach, or any other suitable grouping. The new MC will move away from the government’s push to try and force aggregation on our education systems and our governments.
      • Unlocking the remaining funding committed in federal budget 2016 for “Transforming First Nation Education” (approximately $665 million). Currently, this is limited to school board funding. The new MC will unlock this amount and combine it with the total budget commitments for First Nations education, which will then be available to all First Nations, with a priority for those that need it most (starting in 2018-19).
      • Replacing INAC’s outdated, inequitable and inadequate federal education funding programs with regional education approaches and funding models that provide sufficient, predictable and sustainable funding (starting 2019-20).
      • The MC will signal the intention of First Nations to develop a supplementary budget ask for the 2019 Federal Budget that will identify the funding required to conclude regional education agreements and meet the needs for First Nation students (over and above the $2.3 billion committed in 2016).
    • Sept. 25, 2018 – AFN Bulletin on Regional Education Agreements for First Nations Education K-12,
      • This work and advocacy by First Nations, working together with the AFN, have resulted in a new approach to the funding of First Nations K-12 education driven by First Nations and aimed at respecting First Nation control of First Nation education. The new approach opens the door for work at the regional level to refine, adapt and improve formula-based funding models to better respond to unique student needs and cost-drivers, as defined by local First Nations. It will also create greater funding equity, support local diversity and increase transparency of the federal funding approach.
      • The new approach is based on regional funding agreements (Regional Education Agreements or REAs) designed by First Nations. REAs will provide First Nations with the flexibility to distribute education funding within their region as they see fit to support the specific needs of their students, schools and nation. A “region” is defined as any territory where First Nations choose to implement First Nation control of First Nation education and negotiate a REA. Each “region” will be determined by First Nations and may be linked to geographic location, mutual goals or similar circumstances. This could include, but not be limited to, a territory defined as a single First Nation, Tribal Council, Treaty affiliation, language family, or an entire province. For Treaty First Nations, only Treaty people will speak on behalf of Treaties.
      • Key aspects to REAs include greater sufficiency, more predictability and strengthened First Nation control. Greater sufficiency comes from unlocking commitments made in the 2016 federal budget ($665M), which includes additional funding for language and culture, and full-time kindergarten at First Nations schools. New formula-based, regional funding models will ensure First Nation students are supported by predictable base funding, and First Nation education organizations will rely less on proposal-based funding and more on targeted multi-year funding. Regional technical tables will support the implementation of the new regional funding approach to develop REAs that respond to First Nations’ goals and priorities.
      • First Nations interested in pursuing a REA can confirm a mandate from their members and/or leadership to enter into REA discussions. There will be no proposals to access funding, but regions must submit a vision, work plan and budget on their plan to design, develop and implement the REA. REAs will have common components:
        • Comprehensive funding arrangements, covering all federal support for First Nations elementary and secondary education;
        • Clear and defined roles and responsibilities for First Nations and First Nation education organizations, including applicable service standards;
        • Mutual accountability mechanisms with clear objectives, performance indicators and reporting expectations for both the Government of Canada and First Nation education system participants; and
        • Responsibilities for working with provincial education systems to manage the costs associated with on-reserve students who attend provincial schools and for reporting from provincial school divisions to First Nations and the Government of Canada.
  4. Manitoba First Nations School System officially started operation in July 2017. Approximately 1,700 students from 10 communities will receive educational services and support services from this newly formed system.
    • Dec. 6, 2019 – Release of the 2018-19 Annual report: “Community and student engagement are priorities for the success of the MFNSS. The school system has supported events that engage students in their own communities’ culture, history, and traditions,” said Nora Murdock, Ph.D., Director of Instructional Services. “The school system is in its third year of operation, and the ongoing development and growth of MFNSS continues.” With respect for First Nations control, treaty, and inherent rights, MFNSS supports schools to improve the quality of education, enhance academic standards, and, ultimately, increase student outcomes, including retention, completion, and graduation rates. “MFNSS has made significant strides in developing an education system reflective of First Nations world views, cultures, and values,” said Lorne C. Keeper, Executive Director of the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre. “Through our new direction, I am convinced we will reach, even exceed, the long-term goals we have set for ourselves as a First Nations-run school system.”
    • Oct. 11, 2017 – The Manitoba First Nations School system made its debut with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a song by Grade 2 to Grade 4 students at Sgt. Tommy Prince School on the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, about 65 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. The Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre will run the new school division and, under the agreement, each participating First Nation’s education funding will go directly from the federal government to the new school board. Ten per cent of it will cover administrative fees, and the rest will be spent based on decisions made with each community, officials said when the deal was announced last year. “It’s important that First Nations have control of our systems with proper funding,” said Lorne Keeper, the executive director of the resource centre. She said the partnership will create a new, culturally relevant, high quality education system — a plan that has been in the making since the early 1970s.
  5. Increased funding to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and the University and College Entrance Preparation Program by $90 million over two years, beginning in 2017–18.
    • See C2A # 11 for updates
  6. The federal government is undertaking a comprehensive and collaborative review of all current federal supports for Indigenous students who wish to pursue post-secondary education.
    • See C2A # 11 for updates

Approximately 107,000 First Nations children are benefiting from the Government of Canada’s Budget 2016 investment in on-reserve Kindergarten to grade 12 education.Over 4,600 Indigenous students will be benefiting from the Government of Canada’s increased funding to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and the University and College Entrance Preparation Program.

Métis Nation Accord Annex: Employment and Training

The Parties agree to work together to develop the next phase of Indigenous labour market programming. This will include exploring a multi-year Métis Nation-specific approach to and/or Accord in support of a renewed Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) or its successor strategy. Discussions will focus on important labour market elements including a discussion of issues related to youth, child care, labour market information, partnerships, governance, resources and mutual accountabilities.

The Parties will also discuss ways to strengthening Métis participation in the Strategic Partnership Fund as well as other Indigenous and non-Indigenous supports directed at improving the labour market conditions of Métis.


June 15, 2018 – Métis Nation Skills and Employment Accord supports employment services, skills development, and job training. The Métis Nation Skills and Employment Accord marks the first sub-accord under the Canada-Métis Nation Accord signed by the Prime Minister and Métis Nation leadership in 2017. Budget 2018 provides for $625,369,476 over 10 years for the Métis Nation stream of the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program which

Sept. 21, 2018 – Building on the priorities outlined in the Accord, the Leaders and Ministers agreed that skills and employment training would be one of the three areas in need of urgent action and investment. Ministers recognize the considerable work the Métis Nation has undertaken which has enabled it to provide its recommendations to Canada for next steps in this area. The Métis Nation provided Canada with proposals and draft companion accords, and the Leaders and Ministers had a detailed discussion on their implications. The Ministers and Leaders discussed draft accords in Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training (ASETS) and instructed officials to continue work in advancing these documents with the goal of finalizing accords once both parties have completed their respective approval processes.

Métis Nation Accord Annex: Education

K to 12:

In conjunction with outcomes of the exploratory tables, the Parties will explore the need for and approaches to establishing linkages and cultural supports for Métis Nation students (K to 12) to improve their educational outcomes. The discussions at the national level will include an examination of current data on educational outcomes, identification of promising practices, and the level and supports for unique curriculum development to enhance educational outcomes. The discussions could include the need to develop better tracking mechanisms and the need for better intergovernmental protocols on Métis education (K to 12). The Parties will engage with representatives of provinces for these discussions.


Feb, 2018 – The Government of Canada contributed $450K towards education priorities under the Canada-Métis Nation Accord, most of which went towards the Métis Nation Education Conference

Inuit Education and Employment

July 8, 2019 – Indigenous Skills and Employment Training program (ISET) will continue to offer federal funding to help Indigenous people develop and enhance skills that will ultimately improve opportunities for finding employment or starting new businesses. Of the $2 billion over five years identified in the 2018 budget, $161.2 million over five years has been earmarked for Inuit specific ISET programs. The Inuit agencies previously identified as recipients of the program funding include:

  • Kativik Regional Government
  • Nunatsiavut Government
  • Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
  • Kakivak Association
  • Kitikmeot Inuit Association
  • Kivalliq Inuit Association and
  • Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI) in Ottawa.
    • As the population continues to leave Inuit Nunangat and relocate into the Ottawa and Ontario region, it is very clear that our current base funding is completely inadequate to support the current population of Ontario Inuit. As data collection on the Inuit population in the south continues, we are talking upwards of 40% of the total Inuit population in Canada that now reside in the south. The fact that no additional monies will be allocated to TI means we cannot serve the community in Ottawa and Ontario that requires this much needed funding.
    • Once the five-year term is completed, the government stated that there is a promise of ongoing funding of $32.6 million per year for Inuit specific programs. All funding is locked in for ten years. Which means as the Inuit population increases in the south, there will be no new money to service the skills and training needs. Inuit living away from communities are already vulnerable and TI provides many of the services and programs they use in Ontario. The lack of direct funding will further marginalize the Inuit of Ontario.

Table: Inuit Statistical Profile, 2018. Inuit Tapariit Kanatami

Other Actions and Commitments By Theme

Federal Budget Investments

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Auditor-General Spring Report: 2018

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