We call upon the federal government to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusAug. 17, 2020IN PROGRESS
Previous StatusJune 15, 2020IN PROGRESS

Why “In Progress”?

Jan. 21, 2019 – Government response is primarily focused on education funding but does announce a distinctions-based funding approach to strategy development specific to First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

On April 1, 2019 Indigenous Services Canada began implementing their new approach to funding Indigenous elementary and post-secondary education using formula-based regional models that are more comparable to provincial funding models. The distinctions-based approach is designed to address the unique needs of each Indigenous group to decrease the gaps in education and ultimately in employment.

The government response also provides details on the newly revised (and renamed) Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Program.

Budget Investments

Budget 2016 Facts and Figures

Budget 2016 includes $2.6 billion over five years for First Nations K-12 education towards primary and secondary education on reserve to address immediate pressures, keep pace with rising costs and also invest in literacy and numeracy programs and special needs education:

  • $747.6 million to address immediate funding needs and program growth
  • $275 million to support First Nations language and culture
  • $577.5 million to support students with special needs
  • $100 million to support literacy and numeracy
  • $824.1 million to implement transformation in First Nations education
  • $37.5 million to support innovation, research, measurement and evaluation
  • $30 million to support the Martin Family Initiative’s partnerships with First Nations to improve literacy rate

Also:

  • $969.4M over 5 years for construction, maintenance and repairs of First Nations education facilities
  • $1.53B over 5 years to increase Canada Student Grants and $329M per year after that. Other changes will increase the amount of non-repayable Canada Student Grants and Canada Student Loans that Indigenous students may receive
Budget 2017 Facts and Figures:
  • $90 million over two years, beginning in 2017–2018, for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program 
  • $100 million for the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy Skills Link and Summer Work Experience program
  • $5 million per year for five years, starting in 2017–2018, for Indspire, a national Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people, conditional on Indspire raising $3 million per year in matching funds from the private sector.
Budget 2018 Facts and Figures:

Budget 2018 proposes to invest $2 billion over five years, and $408.2 million per year ongoing, to support the creation of a new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program, which will replace the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy. Extensive engagement took place with Indigenous partners in 2016 and 2017 to develop a proposal for future labour market programming. The Government of Canada has consulted with, and heard from, Indigenous partners on the importance of a distinctions-based approach that recognizes the unique needs of the First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation. To that end, the new program will provide:

  • $1.1 billion over five years, and $235.7 million per year ongoing, for a First Nations stream
  • $325 million over five years, and $67 million per year ongoing, for a Métis Nation stream 
  • $161.2 million over five years, and $32.6 million per year ongoing, for an Inuit stream 
  • $213.4 million over five years, and $45.2 million per year ongoing, for an urban/non-affiliated stream
Budget 2019 Facts and Figures:

$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
Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Program

Designed to help Indigenous Peoples in all parts of the country get the skills and training they need to fully participate in the economy and contribute to the success of their communities. Previously called The Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS). Budget 2017 proposes to invest $50 million in 2017–18 in ASETS, which includes new funding, the investment made in Budget 2016, as well as additional reallocated resources from other programming that support skills and training more generally. These investments will provide ASETS service providers with added capacity to meet the growing demand from Indigenous Peoples for skills development and job training. 

Budgets 2016 and 2017 committed to renew and expand the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy beyond March 31, 2018. Budget 2018 proposes to invest $2 billion over five years, and $408.2 million per year ongoing, to support the creation of a new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program to replace the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy.

First Nations stream$1.1 billion over five years and $235.7 million per year ongoing
Métis Nation stream$325 million over five years, and $67 million per year ongoing
Inuit stream$161.2 million over five years, and $32.6 million per year ongoing, for an Inuit stream 
Urban/non-affiliated stream$213.4 million over five years, and $45.2 million per year ongoing
Reducing Employment Barriers for First Nations Youth Living On-Reserve

First Nations youth on-reserve face unique challenges to enter the labour force. It is important that youth have the supports they need to access employment opportunities so that they can begin careers that will benefit them over the course of their lifetimes. To help First Nations youth acquire better pre-employment skills, access education and training, and overcome barriers to employment, Budget 2017 proposes to invest $39.2 million in 2017–18 to provide case management services for youth living on-reserve.  

The 2019 Indigenous Economic Progress Report

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

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

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
Office of the Auditor General Spring Report – 2018

Report 6: Employment Training for Indigenous People—Employment and Social Development Canada

Program Results – April 2015 – December 2017

Employment and Social Development Canada did not collect the necessary data or define performance indicators as needed to determine whether its training programs met their overall objective

Overall message

6.16      Overall, we found that Employment and Social Development Canada did not collect the data or define the performance indicators necessary to demonstrate whether the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy and the Skills and Partnership Fund were meeting their common overall objective of increasing the number of Indigenous people who had sustainable and meaningful employment. This is despite the fact that the Department has been delivering programs to support Indigenous employment for almost 30 years.

6.17      We also found that the Department allocated funding to agreement holders under the Strategy primarily on the basis of data from 1996 that did not reflect the current needs of the populations served. Moreover, the Department did not reallocate funding to the individual agreement holders who had been more consistently successful in training clients and helping them get jobs.

6.18      These findings matter because unemployment rates for Indigenous people are markedly higher than for the general Canadian population. The Department has allocated significant funds to the programs. Collecting adequate data and defining performance indicators would allow the Department to determine whether the programs are leading to meaningful and sustainable employment and whether changes are needed.

Program Management

The Department supported agreement holders to deliver services but did not provide sufficient labour market information.

Overall Message

6.60      Overall, we found that Employment and Social Development Canada supported agreement holders by providing them with guidance, information sessions, and administrative direction. It also worked with agreement holders to reduce their administrative burden. However, the Department did not provide agreement holders with sufficient labour market information to help them determine which services they should provide to clients to help them prepare for and find available jobs.

6.61      We also found that the Department did not consistently monitor agreement holders to know whether they fulfilled their obligations under contribution agreements. In particular, the Department did not ensure that agreement holders adequately monitored the other Indigenous organizations with which they had sub-agreements to provide services to clients on their behalf.

6.62      These findings matter because agreement holders need good labour market information to help them determine which services to provide to clients. Moreover, consistent monitoring of agreement holders can help the Department understand how it could further support agreement holders to deliver services.

Source: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_201805_06_e_43038.html#p46

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

Budget 2016 provided new investments in primary and secondary education on reserve, totaling $2.6 billion over 5 years. This includes funding to address immediate pressures and to keep pace with rising costs in the medium term, as well as provide for additional investments in literacy and numeracy programs and special needs education.

Building on this investment, on April 1, 2019, Indigenous Services Canada began implementing a new approach to First Nations elementary and secondary education, which was co-developed with First Nations education leaders and experts from across the country. This approach includes new formula-based regional models for First Nations education that will ensure that students attending First Nations schools are supported by predictable and sustained base funding that is more directly comparable to what students enrolled in provincial systems receive. On top of this base funding, this new approach will provide additional funding to on-reserve schools for language and culture programming and full-time kindergarten for children aged 4 and 5.

Budget 2016 invested $969.4 million over 5 years for the construction, repair and maintenance of First Nations education facilities. With respect to post-secondary education, Budget 2016 provided $1.53 billion over 5 years to increase amounts of the Canada Student Grants and $329 million per year after that. Budget 2016 also announced that funding provided by the Post-Secondary Student Support Program will no longer impact eligibility for the Canada Student Loans Program’s non-repayable grants and loans support. As a result, Indigenous students can access both student funding programs as long as they meet eligibility criteria. This measure will increase the amount of non-repayable Canada Student Grants and Canada Student Loans that Indigenous students may receive.

Budget 2017 provided:

  • $90 million over 2 years, beginning in fiscal year 2017 to 2018, for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program
  • $100 million for the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy Skills Link and Summer Work Experience program
  • $5 million per year for 5 years, starting in fiscal year 2017 to 2018, for Indspire, a national Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous peoples, conditional on Indspire raising $3 million per year in matching funds from the private sector 

The Government of Canada undertook a comprehensive and collaborative review with Indigenous partners of all current federal programs that support Indigenous students who wish to pursue post-secondary education. The purpose of the review is to ensure that these programs provide Indigenous students with the resources and support they need to attend and complete post-secondary studies.

Building on this engagement, 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

Budgets 2016 and 2017 committed to renew and expand the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy beyond March 31, 2018. Budget 2018 announced $2 billion over 5 years and $408.2 million per year ongoing, to support the creation of a new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program, which will replace the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy. Extensive engagement took place with Indigenous partners in 2016 and 2017 to develop a proposal for future labour market programming. The Government of Canada has consulted with, and heard from, Indigenous partners on the importance of a distinctions-based approach that recognizes the unique needs of the First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation. To that end, the new program will provide:

  • $1.1 billion over 5 years and $235.7 million per year ongoing, for a First Nations stream
  • $325 million over 5 years and $67 million per year ongoing, for a Métis Nation stream
  • $161.2 million over 5 years and $32.6 million per year ongoing, for an Inuit stream
  • $213.4 million over 5 years and $45.2 million per year ongoing, for an urban or non-affiliated stream

Work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations and service providers to ensure all Indigenous people have access to the skills development and employment training they need to fully participate in the Canadian economy will continue.