Stand Off, AB – 7 February 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced an historic agreement between the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to proceed with the final drafting and introduction of the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. This agreement is the result of years-long, unprecedented process of consultations and discussions.
The Government of Canada and the AFN are committed to improving K-12 education outcomes for First Nation students, and providing First Nations children on-reserve with a high quality education, just like every other Canadian. To this end, the Government of Canada also announced today that it will make a significant financial commitment of over $1.9 billion to support the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. Funding will account for language and culture programming.
The First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act will contain a number of significant changes to the October 2013 draft legislative proposal shared with all First Nations Chiefs. These include:
- Creating a Joint Council of Education Professionals to provide advice and support to the Government of Canada and First Nations on the implementation and oversight of the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act.
- Outlining our Government’s commitment to adequate stable, predictable and sustainable funding. This funding will replace the complex structures now in place with three funding streams: a statutory funding stream that will have a reasonable rate of growth; transition funding to support the new legislative framework; and funding for long-term investments in on-reserve school infrastructure.
- Enabling First Nations to incorporate language and culture programming in the education curriculum, and providing funding for language and culture programming within the statutory funding stream.
- Committing the Government to work in conjunction with First Nations to develop the Act’s regulations.
- December 2010 - The Government of Canada and the AFN announce the creation of the National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education.
- June 2011 - The Government of Canada, together with the AFN, officially launch an engagement process.
- February 2012 – The National Panel releases the Final Report .
- December 2012 – The Government of Canada launches consultations for development of a First Nations Education Act and releases a Discussion Guide .
- July 2013 – The Government of Canada releases the Blueprint for Discussion with all Chiefs; a document outlining what the Government heard during the consultative process.
- October 2013 - The Government of Canada releases a draft legislative proposal .
- November 2013 – The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations sends an Open Letter to the Government of Canada.
- December 2013 – The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development sends an Open Letter to the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
For a more detailed chronology of activities to date please visit: Chronology of First Nations Education at http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1358799301258/1358799341720 .
The Government of Canada and First Nations agree to work together on the passage of the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act and on the joint development of necessary regulations to follow. The partnership does not end with the introduction of a bill. The overriding goal of the legislation is better outcomes for First Nation students. First Nations and the Government of Canada agree that this is best achieved through First Nations control over First Nations education.