Matawa Education and Care Centre celebrates the opening of its new facility

News release

September 29, 2023 — Thunder Bay, Robinson Superior Treaty, Ontario – Indigenous Services Canada 

Today, Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu joined the Matawa Education and Care Centre to celebrate the grand opening of its new facility. 

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) has worked closely with partners to renovate and expand the Matawa Education and Care Centre. The new $28 million centre is the result of Indigenous-led initiatives to design a new centre, which will provide a safe and nurturing place for students to succeed. The new centre will support 189 secondary students from grades 9 to 12, including additional education space, a 100-bed student residence, and a gymnasium.

Working closely with community partners, the facility provides specific education facilities and ensures safe and healthy accommodations are available for Indigenous students completing their secondary education in Thunder Bay. Formerly located in Thunder Bay’s downtown core, Matawa has moved into an expanded facility, enabling the centre to accept more students and transforming outcomes for Indigenous youth.

The Matawa Learning Centre was established in 2010 in direct response to the findings of the Seven Youth Inquest. It provides an educational alternative for Matawa youth to be supported in a culturally safe environment, including tutoring, mental wellness and additional support needed to close education achievement gaps. 

Since 2018, ISC has invested $22.6 million to renovate and expand the Matawa Education and Care Centre to support a projected student enrolment of 189. This new facility will empower Matawa to serve students better and improve outcomes for the next generation of Indigenous youth.      

The Government of Canada remains committed to ensuring that students leaving home for further education have a safe and nurturing environment that supports them in shaping a better future for themselves and their communities.


“The Mattawa Education Centre provides students with a safe environment, community and traditional learning. This is essential to help kids reach their full potential. This project has been led by Matawa First Nations Management, and it’s their leadership that has made today’s opening possible. I look forward to hearing about the amazing successes of your young people for generations to come.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

“This momentous occasion is one that will continue to impact Matawa First Nations youth, their communities, and families for decades to come. Students who must leave the support of their families and communities, and way of life behind to access high school now have a safe and reliable facility in Thunder Bay. With staff who are committed to youth’s physical, cultural, mental, and emotional wellbeing, students now have a place where they can access equal opportunity to education and mental wellness supports.”

Sharon Nate, Education Manager
Matawa First Nations Management

Quick facts

  • The Matawa Education and Care Centre is supported by Matawa First Nations Management (a Tribal Council). It will serve students from nine First Nations communities: Eabametoong, Marten Falls, Neskantaga, Nibinamik, Webequie First Nations, Aroland, Long Lake #58, Constance Lake, and Ginoogmaing First Nation.

  • Since 2016, the Government of Canada has committed to investing $2.35 billion until 2024–2025 ($2.27 billion, excluding operating expenses) in First Nations school infrastructure.

  • The centre is a direct result of lessons learned from the Seven Youth Inquest into preventable tragedies between 2000 and 2011. In response to recommendations, this investment will ensure student safety and transform education and health to better meet the holistic needs of First Nations students.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Zeus Eden
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Indigenous Services

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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