Road to Academic Success: Canada Supports Mi'kmaq Nova Scotia First Nations

News release

March 14, 2019 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada believes every First Nation child deserves the best start in  life, and is committed to working in partnership with First Nations to supports students in achieving academic success.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and 12 Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq First Nations Chiefs officially signed the renewal of the Mi'kmaq Education Funding Agreement.

Since 1997, the Mi'kmaq Education Agreement has been instrumental in providing a culturally relevant curriculum for First Nation students and has helped to significantly boost graduation rates in Mi'kmaq communities in Nova Scotia.

The renewal of the Mi'kmaq Education Funding Agreement is for a 10-year period and will expire on March 31, 2028.


"The Mi'kmaq Education Agreement is a clear demonstration that self-determination leads to better outcomes.  Twenty years ago the Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq First Nations took control of their education system when only 30% of their students were graduating from secondary school. Now over 90% of their students are graduating compared to the national average of 36%. Congratulations to the educators, the Mi'kmaq leadership and the inspiring students."

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

"Signing the agreement is a fundamental step towards the ongoing recognition of Mi'kmaw leadership taking control of education and ensuring children and youth continue to succeed and be guided by the strengths of Mi'kmaw language and culture."

Wyatt White
Executive Director of Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey

Quick facts

  • This agreement has contributed to closing the educational attainment gap between Mi'kmaq communities in Nova Scotia and the provincial school system, while at the same time providing culturally relevant programming including Mi'kmaq language, culture, and history.

  • Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq First Nations enjoy the highest secondary school completion rates which are more than twice the national rate of 36% for First Nations students living on reserve.

  • Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey reported a high school graduation rate of 89.6% in the 2016-2017 school year, nearly on par with the graduation rate for the Province of Nova Scotia, which is one of the highest in Canada at 92.3%.

  • Nearly 3,000 Kindergarten to grade 12 students on-reserve and approximately 600 post secondary students are served by the Agreement annually; with a 90.9% school attendance rate, and 620 students enrolled in post-secondary education.

  • In conjunction with Nova Scotia Education and post-secondary institutions, work continues on incorporating Mi'kmaq language and heritage studies in provincial curriculum and promoting the use of the Mi'kmaq language.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Matthew Dillon-Leitch
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Wyatt White
Executive Director
Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey
(902) 567-0336

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