Government of Canada launches task force to examine Post-Secondary Education in the North

News release

October 23, 2020—Ottawa, ON— Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Access to high-quality education is critical to not only individual success, but to local economies, and all of Canada. That is why the Government of Canada is working with  Provincial, Territorial, Indigenous, and community partners in the North and Arctic to develop long-term opportunities that provide greater access to quality education, build healthier communities, and support a sustainable and dynamic economy.

Today, Minister of Northern Affairs, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, announced the appointment of 13 members to a post-secondary education task force dedicated to improving education opportunities and outcomes in Canada’s North and Arctic.

The Task Force on Northern Post-Secondary Education will assist in delivering on objectives identified in the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework that seek to close gaps in education and skills training that exist between the North and the rest of Canada. These innovative solutions will be led by Northerners, for Northerners, ensuring that the unique needs of remote and Northern communities are met.

Through engagement and consultation with Indigenous partners, youth, governments, post-secondary education institutions and leaders, the Task Force will make recommendations to the Minister of Northern Affairs on ways to address barriers and make post-secondary education achievable for more Northerners.

Minister Vandal congratulates the newly-appointed members of the Task Force on being selected to undertake this important work and thanks partners for the excellent nominees put forward. Northerners will be able to provide their input to the Task Force through its engagement and consultation efforts.


“Every Canadian deserves a real and fair chance at success, no matter where they live. When more Canadians are able to continue their education, practice new skills, or learn on the job, they are better prepared to find and keep good jobs now, and in the future. As we look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the recommendations of this task force will be critical in shaping that recovery.  I would like to congratulate the new task force members on being selected to undertake this important work, and to thank our partners for the excellent nominees they put forward.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs

Quick facts

  • The establishment of the Post-Secondary Education Task Force is a key priority for the Government of Canada as identified in the mandate letter for the Minister of Northern Affairs, from the Prime Minister.

  • Nominations for the Task Force were put forward by Northern governments, Indigenous organizations and co-development partners to the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework.

  • The Task Force will assist in delivering objectives of the Framework, specifically:

    • To close the gaps in education outcomes; and
    • Provide ongoing learning and skills development opportunities, including Indigenous-based knowledge and skills. 
  • Task Force members are expected to lead public engagement sessions both in the North and elsewhere, while adhering to public health guidelines; and to make recommendations in a final report on how to improve education outcomes in the North. A first draft of recommendations is expected to be completed in Winter 2021. 

  • Budget 2019 proposed a number of new measures to complement existing efforts to strengthen Arctic and Northern communities, including $40 million over five years to support options for post-secondary education in the North. This funding includes:

    • $1 million to establish a Task Force to study post-secondary education in the Arctic and North.
    • $26 million for a new campus science building in support of Yukon College’s transition to Yukon university; and
    • $13 million for the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning.

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For more information, media may contact:

Allison St.Jean
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

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