Tripartite Education Framework Agreement

This Agreement is dated for reference the 27 day of January, 2012 (the "Effective Date").

BETWEEN:

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA,
as represented by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

(hereinafter referred to as "Canada")

AND:

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF THE PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA,
as represented by the Minister of Education

(hereinafter referred to as "British Columbia")

AND:

FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION STEERING COMMITTEE,
a society incorporated under the Society Act (British Columbia),
as represented by its President

(hereinafter referred to as "FNESC")

Collectively referred to hereinafter as the "Parties".

WHEREAS:

First Nations students should have the opportunity to fulfil their educational potential;

The Parties recognize that First Nations students often transition between First Nation Schools and Provincial Public Schools and therefore have a shared interest in ensuring smooth transitions;

Quality, comparable education includes standards, programs, services, school supports and investments that provide adequate tools and resources aimed at improving First Nations student outcomes and addressing their unique needs;

The Parties signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Education on August 2, 1999 committing the Parties to work together to improve school success for Aboriginal learners in British Columbia;

The Parties signed the Education Jurisdiction Framework Agreement on July 5, 2006 and remain committed to the implementation of that agreement in order to support the exercise of jurisdiction over education by Participating First Nations;

British Columbia and FNESC signed the British Columbia First Nation Education Agreement on July 5, 2006;

Individual First Nations have primary decision-making responsibility for First Nation Schools, including the management and delivery of education programs and services;

First Nations and First Nation Schools in British Columbia work together through FNESC and the FNSA to improve the educational outcomes of all First Nations students in British Columbia;

FNESC and the FNSA have worked to establish an education system to support First Nations Students and First Nation Schools that is founded upon First Nations' languages and cultures and reflects the values and traditions of the communities they serve;

Canada and British Columbia recognize FNESC as having demonstrated the capacity to administer education programs and services on behalf of First Nations and First Nation Schools in British Columbia, to implement research-based and relevant programs to support First Nation Schools to deliver quality education and improve student outcomes, and to provide Second Level Services to First Nations and First Nation Schools;

The Parties are committed to continuing the working relationship, based on mutual respect, recognition, collaboration and clarity of roles and responsibilities for First Nation education, recognizing that First Nations' aboriginal and treaty rights are protected under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982;

British Columbia and First Nations are working on a government to government basis towards building a new relationship and have set out their commitment to do so in the document entitled "The New Relationship" released in 2005;

British Columbia and FNESC have developed a collaborative partnership on educational initiatives, which respects the integrity of the commitment to establish a new relationship, including joint initiatives on curriculum development, enhancement agreements, local education agreements, and recognition of Aboriginal languages and teachers and supports the transferability of students between First Nation Schools and Provincial Public Schools; and

The Parties are committed to working together to close the gaps in educational outcomes between First Nation and non-First Nation students and recognize this requires the implementation of this Agreement.

THEREFORE, THE PARTIES AGREE AS FOLLOWS:

1.0 PURPOSE

1.1 The purpose of this agreement is to identify the roles, responsibilities and commitments of the Parties relating to the improvement of educational outcomes for students in First Nation Schools in British Columbia in accordance with the standards set out in clause 3.1.

2.0 DEFINITIONS

2.1 For the purpose of this agreement:

  1. "First Nation" means a Band within the meaning of the Indian Act, or self-governing First Nation;
  2. "First Nation School" means a school operated and administered by one or more First Nations in British Columbia, and providing education at one or more of the kindergarten, elementary or secondary levels;
  3. "FNSA" means the First Nations Schools Association, a society incorporated under the laws of British Columbia, to support First Nation Schools;
  4. "Funding Arrangement" means an agreement between Canada and FNESC or between Canada and an individual First Nation that includes terms and conditions relating to the provision of federal funding for programs and services;
  5. "New Funding Model" means the method by which federal funding to First Nations in British Columbia for First Nation Schools and to FNESC is calculated periodically and is based on the British Columbia Ministry of Education's Operating Grants Manual, as amended or replaced from time to time, with specific adaptations;
  6. "Provincial Public Schools" means all public schools in British Columbia providing kindergarten to grade 12 education, but does not include independent schools or First Nation Schools;
  7. "School Assessment Process" means the process for the assessment of First Nation Schools developed and approved by the FNSA, as amended from time to time;
  8. "Second Level Services" means aggregate services provided by FNESC to First Nations and First Nation Schools, similar to services provided by the British Columbia Ministry of Education and by provincial school boards to Provincial Public Schools with specific adaptations to meet First Nations' unique circumstances, in order to improve efficiency and achieve economies of scale. Second Level Services include but are not limited to the responsibilities outlined in paragraph 4.2 below; and
  9. "Work Plan" means a detailed description of roles and responsibilities pertaining to the delivery of Second Level Services and other education-related programs and services by FNESC for which funding is provided pursuant to a Funding Arrangement.

3.0 EDUCATION STANDARDS

3.1 The Parties agree that the provision of Second Level Services by FNESC is intended to support First Nations and First Nation Schools to deliver quality education programs and services, which meet standards that allow students, where applicable, to transfer without academic penalty, at similar levels of achievement, between First Nation Schools and Provincial Public Schools.

4.0 COMMITMENTS

4.1 FNESC agrees to assist First Nations in developing the capacity to provide education.

4.2 FNESC will provide Second Level Services, including but not limited to the following:

  1. administering and reporting on the results of the School Assessment Process and supporting First Nation Schools to improve outcomes for students;
  2. supporting schools with coordination, administration and reporting for standardized assessments;
  3. coordinating the receipt of school reporting by First Nations on performance and expenditures related to funding flowed from FNESC to individual First Nations and First Nation Schools;
  4. providing economies of scale for school support services through the provision of digital resources and coordination of shared human and material school support resources between clusters of schools;
  5. assisting schools in the negotiation of fair cost access to provincial learning resources and supports;
  6. providing professional development resources and opportunities to support teachers and principals in First Nation Schools;
  7. supporting initiatives for parental and community engagement;
  8. engaging in education policy discussions with British Columbia and Canada where directed by First Nations;
  9. making First Nations aware of any changes to education policy and standards regarding the operation of First Nation Schools; and
  10. collecting, aggregating and providing aggregate data reporting to Canada on performance indicators as mutually agreed and set out in the Funding Arrangement between Canada and FNESC.

4.3 British Columbia and FNESC agree to continue to work collaboratively to improve educational outcomes for First Nations students.

4.4 British Columbia and FNESC, where applicable, agree to continue to support the transfer of students, at similar levels of achievement, between Provincial Public Schools and First Nation Schools.

4.5 British Columbia and FNESC agree to develop and implement a process, consistent with clauses 3.2 and 3.3 of the British Columbia First Nation Education Agreement, that will permit a student who has completed an educational program at the grade 12 level, having achieved learning outcomes substantially comparable to those required for graduation by the Ministry of Education, to be considered for the provincial Dogwood Graduation Certificate.

4.6 British Columbia agrees to continue to provide to FNESC a comprehensive annual report on the educational performance success of Aboriginal students attending Public Schools.

4.7 British Columbia agrees to continue to share expertise with FNESC and to provide, where applicable, reasonable cost access to provincial learning resources and supports.

4.8 British Columbia agrees that it will, in a manner consistent with clauses 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 of the British Columbia First Nation Education Agreement, consult with FNESC regarding:

  1. proposed changes to provincial education policy, legislation or standards that materially affect programs, assessments, teacher certification, graduation requirements, or curriculum offered by FNESC or First Nation Schools;
  2. reasonable cost access to provincial learning resources; and
  3. access to provincial bulk purchase initiatives.

4.9 Canada agrees to implement the New Funding Model for First Nations and FNESC commencing September 1, 2012.

4.10 Canada agrees to consult with FNESC regarding:

  1. proposed changes to federal education policy, guidelines, legislation or standards that materially affect FNESC or First Nation Schools; and
  2. the development of BC-specific education program policy and guidelines required to implement this Agreement.

4.11 FNESC and Canada agree that Second Level Services and the New Funding Model, as set out in this agreement and in their Funding Arrangement and Work Plan, may be amended by FNESC and Canada from time to time as may be required to ensure the purpose of this agreement is met on an on-going basis.

5.0 FIRST NATION FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS

5.1 Funding Arrangements between Canada and individual First Nations will require individual First Nations to:

  1. recognize FNESC's responsibility to provide Second Level Services to First Nations and First Nation Schools in British Columbia;
  2. employ teachers with a teaching certificate in good standing issued by a provincial education ministry or a recognized Canadian teacher certification authority;
  3. make an aggregate outcome report on school performance available to parents of students attending a First Nation School;
  4. provide specified education program reports to FNESC; and
  5. prepare an annual report on student enrollment, also known as the nominal roll, and provide it to Canada in accordance with the terms of the Funding Arrangement.

6.0 RELATIONSHIP TO EDUCATION JURISDICTION INITIATIVE

6.1 The Parties acknowledge any British Columbia First Nation may choose to enter into negotiations and conclude a self-government education agreement pursuant to the First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act and become a Participating First Nation, as defined in that Act, in which case this agreement will no longer apply with respect to that First Nation.

7.0 IMPLEMENTATION

7.1 The terms and conditions of the Funding Arrangements between Canada and FNESC and between Canada and individual First Nations will reflect the commitments in this agreement and will include the roles and responsibilities of the Parties to be undertaken to fulfill these commitments.

7.2 The implementation of the New Funding Model and the provision of funding under the Funding Arrangements are subject to the appropriation of funds by the Parliament of Canada.

7.3 Canada and FNESC agree to work toward executing a Funding Arrangement, in a timely manner, to enable FNESC to implement its commitments under this agreement as of September 1, 2012.

8.0 REVIEW OF THE AGREEMENT

8.1 The Parties will each designate a representative to review and monitor the progress toward achieving the purpose and objectives of this agreement and to carry out the review referred to in paragraph 7.7 of the Education Jurisdiction Framework Agreement, with meetings to be held on an annual basis or at intervals as otherwise agreed to by the Parties.

9.0 DISPUTE RESOLUTION

9.1 In the event of a dispute between the Parties arising out of this agreement, the Parties agree to each designate a representative to meet, negotiate in good faith and attempt to resolve the dispute amicably.

9.2 FNESC agrees to establish a dispute resolution process available to individual First Nations and First Nation Schools to attempt to resolve disputes pertaining to the provision of Second Level Services and other educational programs and services by FNESC to individual First Nations and First Nation Schools.

10.0 TERM

10.1 The term of this agreement commences on the Effective Date and expires on March 31, 2017, unless extended or renewed in writing by the Parties.

10.2 Six months prior to the expiration of the term set out above, the Parties will meet to discuss the renewal of this agreement.

11.0 AMENDMENT

11.1 Subject to paragraphs 11.2 and 11.3, this agreement may be amended with the written consent of each Party.

11.2 Any provision of this agreement applicable only to FNESC and Canada may be amended with the written consent of FNESC and Canada. In the event that FNESC and Canada amend this agreement, FNESC and Canada shall promptly provide a copy of the amendment to British Columbia.

11.3 Any provision of this agreement applicable only to FNESC and British Columbia may be amended with the written consent of British Columbia and FNESC. In the event that FNESC and British Columbia amend this agreement, FNESC and British Columbia shall promptly provide a copy of the amendment to Canada.

12.0 GENERAL

12.1 In the event of an inconsistency between this agreement and federal education policy or guidelines of general application, the provisions of this agreement shall prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

12.2 Each Party will, at the request of and at no cost to the other Parties, execute and deliver to the requesting Party any instrument or document or will do anything that may reasonably be required to carry out its obligations under this Agreement, or to complete any transaction contemplated by this Agreement.

12.3 Where in this Agreement any notice or other communication is required to be given or made by any Party, it will be in writing and will be effective if by hand, transmitted by facsimile transmission or sent by registered mail to the addresses set out below. The address of a Party may be changed by notice in the manner set out in this paragraph.

CANADA:
Minister
Indian Affairs and Northern Development
10 Wellington Street
OTTAWA ONTARIO K1A 0H4
Fax: (819) 953-4941

BRITISH COLUMBIA:
Minister of Education
Parliament Buildings
P.O. Box 9044 Stn Prov Govt
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA V8W 9E2
Fax: (250) 387-6411

FNESC:
President, FNESC
Room 113, 100 Park Royal
WEST VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA V7T 1A2
Fax: (604) 923-6087

12.4 A notice or communication will be considered to have been received:

  1. if delivered by hand during business hours on a business day, upon receipt by a responsible representative of the receiver, and if not delivered during business hours, upon the commencement of business on the next business day;
  2. if sent by facsimile transmission during business hours on a business day, upon the sender receiving confirmation of the transmission, and if not transmitted during business hours, upon the commencement of business on the next business day; or
  3. if mailed by registered post in Canada, five (5) business days after posting, except that, in the case of a disruption or an impending or threatened disruption in postal services, every notice or communication will be delivered by hand or sent by facsimile transmission.

This Agreement has been executed by the duly authorized representatives of Canada British Columbia and FNESC.

HER MAJESTY IN RIGHT OF CANADA, as represented
by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

___________________________________
The Honourable John Duncan, P.C., M.P.,
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

 

HER MAJESTY IN RIGHT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA,
as represented by the Minister of Education

___________________________________
The Honourable George Abbott,
Minister of Education

 

FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION STEERING COMMITTEE,
as represented by its President

___________________________________
Tyrone McNeil,
President

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