OTTAWA, ONTARIO (December 11, 2012) – The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today announced the start of the Government’s intensive consultations with First Nations on the development of a First Nation Education Act. Economic Action Plan 2012 committed the Government to having legislation in place for September 2014 and to exploring mechanisms to ensure stable, predictable and sustainable funding for First Nation students.
“Improving education is a priority we share with First Nation parents, students and leaders,” said Minister Duncan. “The consultation process will ensure that the perspectives and concerns of First Nations inform the drafting of this legislation and contribute to improving the education First Nation students receive, opening the door to more opportunities and jobs.”
Canada remains committed to working with First Nations to develop a First Nation Education Act and to fulfilling its obligations pursuant to section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Intensive consultations with First Nation parents, students, leaders and educators, as well as the provinces, will be integral to the development and drafting of legislation.
The consultation process consists of two key stages. First, between December 2012 and April 2013, First Nation parents, educators, leaders and others are invited to participate in regional consultation sessions and to explore the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s website, where information about First Nations education can be found, as well as opportunities to provide input for consideration in the drafting of legislation.
Input gathered during this initial phase will help to inform the drafting of legislation. During the second phase, the draft legislation will be shared with all First Nation communities across Canada, as well as with provincial governments and other stakeholders, for feedback.
In 2011, the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations launched a National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education, which recommended a First Nation Education Act. Economic Action Plan 2012 committed to introducing and having in place legislation by 2014 to establish the structures and standards to support strong, accountable education systems on reserve. In addition, the Government committed to exploring mechanisms to ensure stable, predictable and sustainable funding for First Nation education. Economic Action Plan 2012 included an additional $275 million in new funding for First Nation K-12 education, building on the $1.7 billion the Government spends annually on approximately 117,500 First Nation students.
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