Author: Prepared by: Infrastructure Operations Directorate/Operations & Support Branch/Regional Operations
Date: February 2010
PDF Version (178 Kb, 17 Pages)
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) recognizes the importance of safe and productive learning environments for First Nation students. To this end, the Department continues to make major investments in the order of $200 million annually to support school infrastructure projects in First Nations communities across the country. The Department supports a spectrum of projects, ranging from: construction of new schools and facilities; renovation and repair of existing facilities; design and planning of new projects; and, operations and maintenance support.
INAC works with First Nations through the Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program (CFMP) by providing financial and advisory assistance to First Nations in the development of their community infrastructure, which includes schools.
First Nations are the owners and operators of infrastructure on reserve and, as such, they are responsible for the operation, maintenance, and minor renovations to their schools.
For larger projects (over $1.5 million), First Nations can submit to INAC a sound multi-year infrastructure investment plan for funding assistance.
The Department regularly reviews its spending on schools and other community infrastructure projects to ensure that priority is given to projects that address immediate health and safety concerns.
From November to January of each fiscal year, proposed projects are first assessed by regional officials against the National Priority Ranking Framework. These projects are then submitted to regional management or investment boards which, in some cases, include First Nation representatives for consideration and approval. The National Priority Ranking Framework incorporates the following four priorities:
School projects, whether for new schools construction or renovations, are further prioritized at the regional level based on the following criteria: health and safety, overcrowding and curriculum requirements. The permitted size for new school projects is determined by the Department's School Space Accommodation Standard (SSAS) which takes into account grade levels and projected enrolment figures.
If approved at the regional level, these projects are included in regional infrastructure investment plans. By March of each fiscal year regions submit their final plans to INAC headquarters. If approved, these plans are rolled-up to create INAC's National First Nations Infrastructure Investment Plan (FNIIP). It is important to note that FNIIPs are planning tools and are subject to change throughout the course of the fiscal year. Not all projects will be funded or proceed to implementation.
Annual total investment in schools was $199 million in 2006-2007, $259 million in 2007-2008 and $248 million in 2008-2009. For fiscal year 2009-2010 INAC plans to invest approximately $255 million on school related infrastructure. (Refer to Graph 1)
The Operation and Maintenance (O&M) component of the annual total investment in schools was $97 million in 2006/2007, $108 million in 2007-2008 and $105 million in 2008/2009. For fiscal year 2009-2010, INAC plans to invest approximately $109 million in the support of the operation and maintenance of existing educational facilities. (Refer to Graph 1)
INAC Funding for Education Facilities (2002-2013)
* Budget 2006 provided funds to construct six new on-reserve schools.
** Canada's Economic Action Plan (CEAP) provided $200 million for 12 school projects.
*** Build Canada Plan & Gas Tax Fund provided $102 million for eight school projects.
There have been 94 school projects completed since April 1, 2006 (Annex A) which account for approximately $308 million in expenditures. This includes the construction of 17 new schools ($186 million), the construction and/or major renovation of teachers' residences in 5 communities ($5.2 million), 17 major school renovations and/or additions (approximately $96 million) and 55 other projects which include minor renovations and/or additions, purchase and installation of portable classrooms and feasibility and design work (approximately $20 million). (Refer to Graph 2)
94 Completed School Projects Since April 1, 2006
(Breakdown of $308 Million in Expenditure by Category)
As of January 2010 there are 113 school projects currently underway across the country. (Annex B) Of these, 93 school projects are receiving funding through INAC's CFMP (approximately $91 million). This includes the construction of three new schools (approximately $34 million), eight major school renovation and/or addition projects (approximately $33 million) and 82 other minor school projects. These minor projects include the renovation of 9 schools ($2 million), the construction and/or renovation of teachers' residences in 13 communities (approximately $1.6 million), eight feasibility studies and design work and 11 mechanical and heating system upgrades ($2.3 million). (Refer to Graph 3)
In addition, through Canada's Economic Action Plan (CEAP) the Government of Canada is investing an additional $182 million for the construction of 10 new schools and two major renovations for schools on reserve. [Note 2] As part of the Building Canada Plan, $102 million is being invested from the Gas Tax Fund into the construction of an additional six new and two major school renovations over the next three years (2009-2010 to 2011-2012). This will further reduce the backlog of education infrastructure on reserve.
113 School Projects CurrentlyUnderway
(Breakdown of $407 Million in expenditure by category)
The Department is committed to fund education facilities that create quality learning environments for First Nations students on reserves that will facilitate greater educational outcomes, and will enable increased participation of all First Nations in the economy. Therefore, a new strategic approach is currently being explored to assist in the prioritization of investments in a transparent and objective manner which ensures that the construction of education facilities adequately supports students and teachers in achieving positive educational outcomes. INAC will work with stakeholders on moving forward with this new approach.