Ottawa, Ontario (February 8, 2010) — The following statement was released by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians:
“Our government is committed to helping First Nation students access and complete their education. At the same time, we need to be accountable and transparent to all Canadians, including First Nations.
For some time now, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) has worked with the First Nations University of Canada to help it address long-standing, systemic problems related to governance and financial management of the institution. There have been repeated delays by the institution to take action on these matters. This situation can no longer continue. Therefore, after assessing the long-term sustainability of the institution, the department will not renew its current funding to the university, effective March 31, 2010.
INAC's decision follows that taken by the Government of Saskatchewan, which is responsible for post-secondary education services delivered in the province. The province will end its funding to the First Nations University of Canada effective April 1, 2010.
I understand that these are difficult times for students and faculty. My primary interest is to ensure that students are able to complete their academic year. I am pleased with the immediate measures that the province and partner post-secondary institutions are taking.
I will continue to keep in close contact with provincial Minister Rob Norris through this transition. To that end, I have instructed my departmental officials to work with their provincial counterparts, the University of Regina, the University of Saskatchewan and other stakeholders to find practical solutions that will help students and faculty in the weeks ahead.”
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