We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal peoples. The new legislation would include a commitment to sufficient funding and would incorporate the following principles:

  1. Providing sufficient funding to close identified educational achievement gaps within one generation
  2. Improving education attainment levels and success rates
  3. Developing culturally appropriate curricula.
  4. Protecting the right to Aboriginal languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses.
  5. Enabling parental and community responsibility, control, and accountability, similar to what parents enjoy in public school systems
  6. Enabling parents to fully participate in the education of their children.
  7. Respecting and honouring Treaty relationships.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusJan. 10 2022STALLED
Previous StatusDec. 5, 2021STALLED

Why “Stalled”?

No specific action on developing Aboriginal Education Legislation other than a $3.6M budget allocation for “community-level discussions”. Government response refers to policy “proposal” and a policy “framework”, not legislative action. Also, still no mention of off-reserve or specific needs of Métis and Inuit. Other issues:

  • 31% of the $2.6B Budget 2016 allocation ($801M) is only available after the 2019 election
  • Budget 2018 allocation of $815M over 10 years to extend funding is actually LESS then the 2017 budget: $81.5M annually vs $90M annually
  • No details provided on the First Nations Policy and Funding approach
  • No details on improving education attainment level and success rates
  • No details on developing culturally appropriate curricula
  • No details on protecting Aboriginal languages nor teaching of Aboriginal language courses
  • No details on enabling parental and community responsibility….
  • No details on parental involvement in their children’s education
  • No details on respecting and honouring Treaty relationships

Significant deletion from federal government response:

Deleted “Any discussion of legislative options would need clear support from First Nations communities for ISC to proceed. The government is open to these discussions should First Nations wish to do so.”

Budget 2016: Improving Primary and Secondary Education for First Nations Children
Description20162017201820192020Totals (M)
Addressing Immediate Funding Needs and Program growth35.885.5143.6206.7276$747.6
Language and Culture55.055.055.055.055.0$275.0
Literacy and Numeracy20.020.020.020.020.0$100.0
Special Needs115,5115,5115,5115,5115,5$577.5
Implementing Transformation46.691.4132.8234.3319.0$824.1
Innovation, Research, Measurement & Evaluation7.57.57.57.57.5$37.5
Martin Family Initiative6.06.06.06.06.0$30.0
Administrative Costs1.12.02.02.02.09.1
TOTALS$287.5$382.9$482.4$647.0$801$2,600.8B

https://www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-services-canada/news/2018/01/quality_education.html

Education Attainment Levels for Canadians aged 25-64: 2006 through 2016
2006 census2011 Census2016 Census
Non IndigenousIndigenousNon IndigenousIndigenousNon IndigenousIndigenous
High School Graduate58%23.2%22.8%86.3%68%
Trade Certificate6.5%6.8%12.0%14.4%9.4%9.6%
College Diploma20.4%18.7%21.3%20.6%22.4%23%
University Degree27.9%7.7%26.5%9.8%31.6%10.9%

https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-012-x/2011003/tbl/tbl2-eng.cfm

https://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/dai/btd/othervisuals/other014

Quality Education Backgrounder – January 23, 2018: Ministry of Indigenous Services

Current Challenge

Gaps in graduation rates – about 44% of First Nations on-reserve (age 18-24) have completed high school, compared to 88% for other Canadians

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.

Progress-to-Date

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.

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.

Progress-to-Date

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

Call to Action Details

1. Providing sufficient funding to close identified educational achievement gaps within one generation
2016 + 2017 & 2018 Top-ups20162017201820192020Total
Addressing Immediate Funding Needs35.885.5143.6206.7276.0747.6
Language and Culture55.055.055.055.055.0275.0
Literacy and Numeracy20.020.020.020.020.0100.0
Special Needs115.5115.5115.5115.5115.5577.5
Implementing Transformation46.691.4132.8234.3319.0824.1
Innovation, Research, Measurement & Evaluation7.57.57.57.57.537.5
Martin Family Initiative6.06.06.06.06.030.0
Administrative Costs1.12.02.02.02.09.0
TOTALS287.5382.9482.4647.0801.02,600

1st Term$1,799.8 = 69% of budget: 31% after 2019 election

https://www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-northern-affairs/news/2016/09/details-budget-2016-funding-primary-secondary-education.html

Budget 2017

Budget 2017 funding for post secondary education support is only available for 2 years and the Budget 2018 allocation of $815M over 10 years to extend the funding is actually LESS then the 2017 budget: $81.5M annually vs $90M annually

Budget 2019

Budget 2019 announced $815 million over 10 years, starting in fiscal year 2019 to 2020, and $61.8 million ongoing in support of Indigenous post-secondary education. This includes:

  • $327.5 million over 5 years to support First Nations post-secondary students and the development of regional education strategies
  • $125.5 million over 10 years and $21.8 million ongoing to support an Inuit-led post-secondary strategy
  • $362.0 million over 10 years and $40 million ongoing to support a Métis-Nation strategy

Budget 2021

Budget 2021 proposes to invest $1.2 billion over five years, and $181.8 million ongoing, including:

  • $112 million in 2021-22 to extend COVID-19 support so children on reserve can continue to attend school safely, including PPE for students and staff, laptops to support online learning, and more teachers and other critical staff.
  • $726 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $181.8 million ongoing:
    • to enhance funding formulas in critical areas such as student transportation;
    • ensure funding for First Nations schools remains predictable from year to year; and
    • increase First Nations control over First Nations education by concluding more Regional Education Agreements.
  • $350 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to expand access to adult education by supporting First Nations people on reserve who wish to return to high school in their communities and complete their high school education.

Supporting Indigenous Post-secondary Education

The pandemic continues to affect Indigenous post-secondary students and institutions. To help Indigenous students complete their studies and ensure that Indigenous-led post-secondary institutions can provide online services and continue to implement health and safety measures:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $150.6 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to support Indigenous students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and the Inuit and Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Strategies. Many students are facing financial difficulty during the pandemic, as young people have suffered some of the worst job losses. This support would help offset lost income that many Indigenous students rely on to pay for tuition, books, housing, and other living expenses. The federal government knows that young people need support to get through this crisis so they can complete their education and succeed in their chosen fields.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $26.4 million, in 2021-22, through the Post-Secondary Partnerships Program and the Inuit and Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Strategies to support Indigenous postsecondary institutions during COVID-19.

New First Nations Policy and Funding Approach

Jan. 21, 2019 – The Government of Canada and the AFN announce new policy and funding approach for First Nations K-12 education on reserve to take effect as of April 1, 2019 to support First Nations control of First Nations education, and ensures more predictable and sufficient funding that will better support the needs of First Nations students on-reserve. As of April 1, 2019, the new funding approach:

  • replaces outdated proposal-based programs with improved access to predictable core funding
  • ensures base funding is comparable to provincial systems across the country while working towards additional funding agreements based on need to better account for factors such as remoteness, school size, language, and socio-economic conditions
  • provides First Nations schools with $1,500 per student, per year, to support language and culture programming
  • provides new resources which will support full-time kindergarten in every First Nations school for children aged 4 and 5
  • ensures special education funding is more predictable, with fewer application-based requirements
2. Improving education attainment levels and success rates

The High School Graduation data is from StatsCAN: “% of First Nations, Métis and Inuit aged 25-64 by selected levels of education attainment“. The “Degree/Diploma and Unemployment Rate” are from the Indigenous Economic Progress Report 2019.

3. Developing culturally appropriate curricula

See Education for Reconciliation Call To Action # 62i and 63i

4. Protecting the right to Aboriginal languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses

See also Languages and Culture Calls to Action # 13, 14, 15, 16

5. Enabling parental and community responsibility, control, and accountability, similar to what parents enjoy in public school systems

Not addressed.

6. Enabling parents to fully participate in the education of their children

Not addressed.

7. Respecting and honouring Treaty relationships

Not addressed.

Nunavut Inuit Education Update, June 5, 2019

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) regrets to announce that Bill 25 – An Act to Amend the Education Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act, which received first reading on June 4, is not a significant improvement over the failed Bill 37 in 2017. NTI’s Tusaqsimajavut Report highlighted what was heard during community consultations: Nunavut Inuit want to see Inuktut as the main language of instruction in our schools (K-12) and early childhood education; more focus on teaching Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit; no reduction in DEA authorities and better support for DEAs; re-introduction of divisional school boards; improved processes between DEAs, Department of Education and Regional School Operations; an end to social promotion; and better inclusive education and student supports.

For the past decade and longer, NTI has been seeking a partnership with the GN on education consistent with Article 32 of the Nunavut Agreement. Over a year ago, NTI proposed the following three joint initiatives as a path to Inuktut LOI:

  • Short and medium term implementation of targeted Inuit educator training programs.
  • A new Department of Education Inuit Employment Plan, with a realistic timeline for representative Inuit employment in schools and the Department of Education.
  • New timelines for Inuktut LOI, based on the IEP timeline for Inuit educator employment.

NTI continues to call on the Government if Nunavut Cabinet and Members to show leadership, transparency and commitment to working with NTI on this three-pronged solution to Nunavut’s education and language crisis.

First Nations Control of First Nations Education May 15, 2018

The work and progress in the area of education is guided by direction from Chiefs-in-Assembly and the long-standing goal of achieving First Nations control of First Nations Education.  First Nations control of First Nations Education means respecting, protecting and enforcing First Nations inherent rights and Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction. It means First Nations education systems under First Nations control and based on First Nations design, supported by direct transfers from the federal government.

Helping to secure fair funding for First Nations children and students remains a key priority for the AFN.  Federal funds for education were set aside in the 2016 federal budget.  Earmarked for “Transforming First Nation Education,” approximately $665 million will be available soon to First Nations across the country to design their own regional funding agreements based on real needs.  Based on direction from Chiefs-in-Assembly, the AFN Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE) is working with the office of the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada on a Memorandum to Cabinet that will make these funds available to First Nations.

A Memorandum to Cabinet is a document used by a Minister to propose and explain a new measure or new initiative and to obtain cabinet approval.  In this case, it is a necessary step to achieving policy and program change for federal education programming and funding. First Nations and the AFN have been advocating since 2001 for policy and program reform that provides core funding for education directly to First Nations governments, education organizations and schools. The intent of the Memorandum to Cabinet is not to develop federal legislation for First Nations education and the federal government will not delegate any education responsibilities or funding to any provincial or territorial government. Efforts toward the Memorandum to Cabinet are based on respecting, protecting and enforcing First Nations inherent rights and Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction.  The goal is to allow for direct transfers to First Nations governments for First Nations education. Jurisdiction will remain with each First Nations Chief and Council.

Measuring Student Outcomes: The Case for Identifying Indigenous Students in Canada’s PISA Sample,”

Feb. 13, 2018 – C.C. Howe Institute -Collection of data on academic outcomes among Indigenous students is a necessary step towards bridging the education gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous students, according to a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Measuring Student Outcomes: The Case for Identifying Indigenous Students in Canada’s PISA Sample,” authors John Richards and Parisa Mahboubi encourage provinces to improve their understanding of native student outcomes by adding a question inviting Indigenous students to identify themselves for the forthcoming 2018 round of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

The PISA has become a crucial benchmark for measuring student performance in three core subjects (reading, math, and science) among a large sample of secondary students, age 15. All OECD member countries and 35 other countries participated in the previous round, in 2015.

https://cdhowe.org/public-policy-research/measuring-student-outcomes-case-identifying-indigenous-students-canada’s-pisa-sample

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

Based on the policy proposal for transforming the Government of Canada’s support for First Nations elementary and secondary education that was co-developed with First Nations, Indigenous Services Canada has established a new policy framework for First Nations elementary and secondary education.

Significant deletion from federal government response:

Deleted “Any discussion of legislative options would need clear support from First Nations communities for ISC to proceed. The government is open to these discussions should First Nations wish to do so.”