Encouraging partnership arrangements between First Nations and provincial ministries of education is a key priority for the Government of Canada in its education reform efforts. Sharing resources and practices, especially in a context where First Nation students move between on-reserve and provincial systems over the course of their educations, strengthens results and improves outcomes for students.
Since 2008, Canada has signed several tripartite education Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) in addition to pre-existing arrangements in Nova Scotia and British Columbia which are anchored in a self-government context (see below). While there are some variations, each MOU represents an important long-term commitment to collaboration regarding K-12 education and frames joint initiatives pursued by the parties.
Also, in 2012, Canada signed the Tripartite Education Framework Agreement in British Columbia, which formalizes the long-standing and advanced partnership between First Nations, the Province of BC, and Canada. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of each of the parties to ensure that First Nation students can transfer between school systems without academic penalty. This includes First Nations Education Steering Committee's (FNESC) commitment to deliver second-level services to First Nation schools.
The Government of Canada is working closely with partners to establish tripartite education agreements with the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) and Indigenous Education Coalition (IEC) in Ontario and with the Labrador Innu nations in Newfoundland and Labrador. Other partnership establishment discussions are underway across the country.
|* 2011-2012 Nominal Roll National Database, Corporate Information Management Directorate. Student Count by Funding Region; by Band of Financial Responsibility; by School Types. Student count includes students of all ages and gender. Data retrieved December 12, 2012.|
|British Columbia Tripartite Education Framework Agreement (2012)||Agreement with the province of British Columbia and the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC).
Under the terms of the agreement, FNESC provides second level services as outlined in Tripartite Education Framework Agreement to 5,119* students (96 per cent of all students attending Band Operated Schools in British Columbia).
|Alberta Education Memorandum of Understanding (2010)||The Memorandum of Understanding covers all First Nations in Alberta and is with the province of Alberta and treaty organizations from Treaty 6, Treaty 7 and Treaty 8 (working jointly), which represent 48 First Nations, encompassing 16,977* First Nation students, 9,860 (58 per cent) of whom attend Band Operated schools.|
|Saskatoon Tribal Council Memorandum of Understanding (2010)||The Memorandum of Understanding is with the province of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Tribal Council, which represents seven First Nations, encompassing 1,307* students, 972 (74 per cent) of whom attend Band Operated schools.|
|Manitoba Letter of Understanding (2009)||The Letter of Understanding is with the province of Manitoba and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC), and the Letter of Understanding 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 63 First Nations, encompassing 22,804* students, 16,919 (74 per cent) of whom attend Band Operated schools.
|First Nation Education Council Quebec Memorandum of Understanding (2012)||The Memorandum of Understanding is with the province of Quebec and the First Nation Education Council (FNEC).
FNEC represents 22 First Nations, 11 of which are participants under the Memorandum of Understanding. In the 11 participating communities there are 3,475* students, 2733 (79 per cent) of whom attend Band Operated schools.
|New Brunswick Memorandum of Understanding (2008)||The Memorandum of Understanding has full coverage in 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 2,205* students, 864 (39 per cent) of which attend Band Operated school.|
|Prince Edward Island Memorandum of Understanding (2010)||This Memorandum of Understanding has full coverage in 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 136* students, 50 (37 per cent) of which attend Band Operated schools.|
|Yukon Memorandum of Understanding (2013)||This Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Yukon Government and 9 of 14 Yukon First Nations. The context of this MOU differs from other education agreements, as there are no Band Operated schools in the Yukon (all First Nation students attend schools operated by the Territorial Government).|
|Nishnawbe Aski Nation Memorandum of Understanding (2013)||The Memorandum of Understanding is with the province of Ontario and Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents 45 First Nations, encompassing 7,635* students, 6,612 (87 per cent) of whom attend Band Operated schools.|
Modern treaties may include self-government provisions and the early comprehensive land claim agreements specifically address education in a manner similar to tripartite education agreements. The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and the Northeastern Quebec Agreement each contain specific chapters setting out the parties respective roles in the delivery of education services.
More recently, 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 assumption of education jurisdiction. With the possible exception of sectoral agreements (which are subject matter specific), many self-government agreements contain an education provision enabling the Aboriginal government to draw down law making authority over education when it is prepared to do so and once all requirements set out in the agreement are met. There are currently two sectoral education agreements in place (in Nova Scotia and British Columbia), which confer law-making authority to the Aboriginal signatories. The Government of Canada then provides education program and governance funding through a transfer agreement to the signatory groups.
In Nova Scotia, an education self-government agreement has been in place since 1997. As part of this agreement, the First Nations that operate on-reserve schools do so through the Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey (MK) education organization. MK has a Master Education Agreement with the Nova Scotia Ministry of Education, which formalizes collaboration between the two organizations.
In British Columbia, a legislative framework and set of sectoral education self-government agreements have been put in place to allow negotiating BC First Nations to assume education jurisdiction. The provincial ministry of education is a signatory to several of the agreements.
|James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (1975)||The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) is a comprehensive claims settlement signed in 1975 between the Cree and Inuit peoples, the governments of Canada and Quebec, the James Bay Development Corporation, the James Bay Energy Corporation and Hydro Quebec. Chapters 16 and 17 of the 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 possess special powers 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.
|Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (1993)||The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement is the largest comprehensive claim settlement in Canada. 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.|
|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.
|An Agreement with respect to Mi'kmaq Education in Nova Scotia (1997)
Mi'kmaq Education Act (Canada)
Mik'maq Education Act (Nova Scotia)
|The agreement and enabling legislation established Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey (MK), which includes the following participating First Nations: Acadia, Annapolis Valley, Bear River, Potlotek (Chapel Island), Eskasoni, Membertou, Indian Brook, Pictou Landing, We'koqma'q, Wagmatcook, Paq'tnkek. The Agreement stipulates that the primary, elementary, secondary programs and services offered shall be comparable to those provided by other education systems in Canada so as to permit the transfer of students between education systems without academic penalty.|
|Nisga'a Final Agreement (1999)
Nisga'a Final Agreement Act
|The Nisga'a Lisims Government has law making authority in respect of 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 Sec 100, 103 and 106 of the Nisga'a Final Agreement's Government Chapter.|
|Westbank First Nation Self-Government Agreement (2003)
Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act
|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.|
|Tlicho Final Agreement (2005)
Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act
|S. 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 Tlicho citizens in Tlicho communities or on Tlicho lands, including the teaching of the Tlicho language and the history and culture of the Tlicho First Nation, but not including the certification of teachers.|
|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 s. 17.12 of the Labrador Inuit Final Agreement, but has not exercised this right to date. However, the Nunatsiavut Government has drawn down some vocational and adult education, including administration of Post-Seconday Education programming.|
|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.|
|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".|
|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.|
|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.|