Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced an historic agreement between the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations to reform the First Nations K-12 education system through the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. The legislation will be tabled in Parliament in the coming months.
At its core the legislation will provide First Nation students on-reserve across Canada with the education standards, supports, and opportunities that most Canadians take for granted. Acknowledging that First Nations are best placed to control First Nations education, the legislation will recognize the responsibility and accountability of First Nations to administer their education system on-reserve under the Act. At the same time, the legislation will establish a stable and predictable statutory funding regime that accounts for language and culture programming.
This agreement has been reached following an extensive and unprecedented consultation and discussion period with First Nation leaders, parents, educators and others. Canada will continue to work with First Nations to finalize the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act in line with today’s announcement, and develop the Act’s regulations in conjunction with First Nations.
This announcement marks an historic milestone for First Nations and all Canadians. Our Government looks forward to continuing to work in partnership with First Nations to implement the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act so that First Nation children across Canada have access to a quality education and can participate fully in Canada’s prosperous future.
- Currently, there are no minimum legislated education standards that apply to on-reserve students, including the requirement that teachers are provincially certified, that parents and schools ensure minimum attendance requirements for students, and that education programs offer recognizable certificates or diplomas.
- The Act will recognize First Nations control of First Nations education and establish much needed minimum standards in a way that aligns and supports First Nations approaches to education.
- The Government of Canada will provide funding for transition, implementation and school infrastructure, and will ensure that funding is subject to a reasonable rate of annual growth.
- Aboriginal peoples are the fastest growing demographic group in Canada. Their full participation in Canada’s economy is critical to the future prosperity of the country.
“Our Government firmly believes that First Nation students across Canada deserve access to a school system with the structures and supports that are available to non-First Nation students across Canada. This bill is good for First Nations, it is good for Canadians, and it is good for our country’s future.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“This bill represents the appropriate, necessary and positive change that First Nations education requires. It will build a stronger system and help to ensure that First Nations youth can become full participants in Canada’s prosperous future.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
- Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2012
- AANDC: Consultations for Development of a First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act
- Assembly of First Nations
- December 13, 2013: Canada’s Open Letter to the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations
- November 25, 2013: Assembly of First Nations Open Letter to AANDC
- October 22, 2013: Canadareleases Proposal for a Bill on First Nations Education
- July 12, 2013 Canada releases the Blueprint for Legislation
- December 11, 2012: Government of Canada announces the start of the Government's intensive consultations with First Nations on the development of a First Nations Control on First Nations Education Act