First Nation education partnerships and agreements

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Find details on tripartite education agreements and other agreements with provisions for First Nation education between the Government of Canada, First Nations and provinces.

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Tripartite education agreements

Partnership arrangements between the Government of Canada, First Nations or their delegated organizations and provinces allow for sharing of resources and practices, stronger results and improved outcomes for students. Tripartite agreements also ensure First Nation students who move between on-reserve schools and off-reserve provincial schools are fully supported. Partnership discussions are underway across the country, and a number have already been signed.

The data below is taken from the 2013-2014 Nominal Roll National Database. The student count includes students of all ages and gender.

Tripartite Education Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, Ontario and Canada (2017)
This agreement was signed by the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (A.I.A.I.), the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada. It will benefit approximately 790 K-12 First Nations students in five participating Ontario communities represented by A.I.A.I.

Agreement to Support the School Attendance and Academic Success of Innu Youth (2016)

This agreement was signed by the Institut Tshakapesh, the Governments of Canada and Quebec. It will benefit approximately 1,800 Innu students living in seven Innu communities located mainly on Quebec’s North shore.

Mamu Tshishkutamashutau – Innu Education (2015)
This agreement was signed by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and Mamu Tshishkutamashutau – Innu Education which represents all Innu First Nations in the province and around 700 students that attend band-operated schools in the two communities.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Memorandum of Understanding (2013)
This agreement is with the province of Ontario and Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents 49 First Nations, encompassing around 8,430 students, 7,100 (84%) of whom attend band-operated schools.

Yukon Memorandum of Understanding (2013)
This agreement is with the Yukon Government and the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN). The CYFN represents 14 First Nations and this agreement was signed by the Yukon Government and 9 of 14 Yukon First Nations, although 13 of the 14 Yukon First Nations are currently in support of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This agreement is not the same as other education agreements, as there are no band-operated schools in the Yukon (all First Nation students attend schools operated by the territorial government).

British Columbia Tripartite Education Framework Agreement (2012)
This agreement is between the province of British Columbia and the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC). The FNESC provides second-level services to approximately 5,200 students (96% of all students attending band-operated schools in British Columbia).

First Nation Education Council Quebec Memorandum of Understanding (2012)
The Agreement to Support the Success of First Nations Students was initially negotiated in 2012 between the First Nation Education Council (FNEC), represented by the Assembly of First Nations Québec-Labrador; the Government of Québec and the Government of Canada. The parties decided to extend the agreement on May 4, 2017 for another five years. The purpose of the Agreement is to improve the academic success of First Nation students that are members of the FNEC. The FNEC represents 22 First Nations, 17 of which are participants under the MOU. The 17 participating communities represent 5,275 students, of which 4,085 (77%) attend band-operated schools.

Alberta Education Memorandum of Understanding (2010)
This agreement is between the province of Alberta and treaty organizations from Treaty 6, Treaty 7 and Treaty 8 (working jointly), which represent 48 First Nations, encompassing 18,227 First Nation students, 11,118 (61%) of whom attend band-operated schools.

Prince Edward Island Memorandum of Understanding (2010)
This agreement covers all of Prince Edward Island, and is with the province of Prince Edward Island and the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island (MCPEI). The MCPEI represents two First Nations, encompassing 138 students, 52 (38%) of which attend band-operated schools.

Saskatoon Tribal Council Memorandum of Understanding (2010)
This agreement is with the province of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Tribal Council, which represents six First Nations, encompassing 1,160 students, 832 (72 %) of whom attend band-operated schools.

Manitoba Letter of Understanding (2009)
This agreement is with the province of Manitoba and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC), and covers all First Nations in Manitoba. MFNERC is the organization mandated by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO) and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) to implement the Letter of Understanding on behalf of 46 First Nations, encompassing 18,166 students, 16,677 (92%) of whom attend band-operated schools.

New Brunswick Memorandum of Understanding (2008)
This agreement covers all of New Brunswick and is with the province of New Brunswick, the First Nation Education Initiative Incorporated (FNEII) and Three Nation Education Group Incorporated (TNEGI). Together, these groups represent 15 First Nations, encompassing 2,001 students, 867 (43%) of which attend band-operated schools.

Other agreements with provisions for education

Modern treaties may include self-government provisions, and the early comprehensive land claim agreements address education in a manner similar to tripartite education agreements. As well, negotiations between the Government of Canada, Aboriginal organizations, and, in some cases, the provincial or territorial government, have resulted in self-government agreements, which include provisions for the delivery of education. With the possible exception of sectoral agreements (which are subject matter specific), many self-government agreements contain an education provision giving Aboriginal governments law-making authority over education when they are prepared to do so and once all requirements set out in the agreement are met.

The following agreements include provisions for education:

Yale First Nation Final Agreement (2011)
The Yale First Nation government has law making authority in respect of pre-school to Grade 12 education, and notice will be provided to Canada and British Columbia prior to laws coming into effect with respect to K-12 education. No such notice has been received to date.

Maa-Nulth First Nations Final Agreement (2009)
The five Maa-nulth First Nations Governments have law making authority in respect of pre-school to Grade 12 and post-secondary education under sections 13.20.1 and 13.1.1 of the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement, but none have exercised this right to date.

Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement (2007)
The Tsawwassen First Nation government has law making authority in respect of pre-school to Grade 12 and post-secondary education under Chapter 16, sections 77 and 83 of the Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement. Tsawwassen has passed an "Education, Health, and Social Development Act".

First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act (2006)
This legislation enables subsequently negotiated Canada-First Nations Education Jurisdiction Agreements and establishes a First Nation Education Authority. The First Nations that enter into Canada-First Nations Education Jurisdiction Agreements will not be governed by the Indian Act with respect to education. To date, no self-government agreements have been concluded under this legislation.

Labrador Inuit Land Claim Agreement Act
The Nunatsiavut Government has law making authority in respect of pre-school to Grade 12 education (currently under provincial jurisdiction), pursuant to section 17.12 of the Labrador Inuit Final Agreement, but has not exercised this right to date. However, the Nunatsiavut Government has assumed responsibility for some vocational and adult education, including administration of Post-Secondary Education programming.

Tlicho Final Agreement (2005)
Section 7.4.4(j) of the Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement gives the Tlicho Government the power to make laws in relation to education, except post-secondary education, for their citizens in either Tlicho communities or on the land, including the teaching of their language, the history and culture of the Tlicho First Nation, but not including the certification of teachers. These provisions were legislated in the Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act.

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Agreement (2003)
Part XVI of the Westbank Agreement provides law making authority to the Westbank First Nation over kindergarten, elementary and secondary education for members on Westbank lands. Until a Westbank law passed under this Part comes into force, Indian Act education provisions will continue to apply. These provisions were legislated in the Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act.

Nisga'a Final Agreement (1999)
The Nisga'a Lisims Government has law making authority over pre-school to Grade 12 education and post-secondary education within Nisga'a Lands, and may operate and provide post-secondary education services outside Nisga'a Lands pursuant to sections 100, 103 and 106 of the Nisga'a Final Agreement's Government Chapter. These provisions were legislated in the Nisga'a Final Agreement Act.

An Agreement with respect to Mi'kmaq Education in Nova Scotia (1997)
The Agreement stipulates that the primary, elementary, secondary programs and services offered by the Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey (MK) shall be comparable to those provided by other education systems in Canada. This allows for the transfer of students between education systems without academic penalty. These provisions were legislated in the Mi'kmaq Education Act (Canada) and the Mik'maq Education Act (Nova Scotia).

Umbrella Final Agreement between the Government of Canada, the Council for Yukon Indians and the Government of the Yukon (1993)
There are provisions within all of the Yukon First Nation Self-Government Agreements to allow the First Nations to initiate negotiations with the Yukon Government regarding sharing responsibility for design, delivery and administration of education (K-12).

To date no self-governing Yukon First Nation has assumed jurisdiction for K-12 education.

Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (1993)
A political accord, signed by the federal government, territorial government and the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut, created the Nunavut Territorial Government, which has jurisdiction for education, similar to the other territorial governments.

James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (1975)
Chapters 16 and 17 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) provided for the establishment of the Cree School Board and the Kativik School Board. Both the Cree and Kativik School Boards operate under provincial jurisdiction and ensure that educational programs are culturally relevant to the First Nation communities and Inuit.

In 1978, the Naskapi of Northern Quebec signed the Northeastern Quebec Agreement (NEQA). Section 11 of the NEQA provides for educational services for the Naskapi through a school created to fulfill their needs, and the Eastern Quebec Regional School Board is responsible for its general administration. The Naskapi Education Committee was also set up and has the same advisory functions as those assigned to school committees under the Quebec Education Act.

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