Bill C-33: First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act

Introduction of Bill C-33 – The First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act

On April 10, 2014, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt introduced Bill C-33 – the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act.

The proposed legislation responds to the five "conditions for success" that were identified by the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and endorsed in a resolution by the Chiefs in Assembly in December 2013.

The proposed legislation is a transformative step in efforts to close the gap in education outcomes for First Nations on reserve. It provides for stable, predictable funding that increases at a 4.5% rate of growth, clarifies roles and responsibilities, and establishes First Nations control of First Nations education as a central principle.

The introduction of Bill C-33 builds on the February 7, 2014 announcement of an historic agreement between the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations to reform the First Nations elementary and secondary education system through the proposed First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act.

Bill C-33 follows years of discussions, dialogue, studies, and unprecedented consultations that began in December 2012 which included: 8 face-to-face sessions, discussions, emails, video and teleconference – all reflecting the efforts of many individuals and organizations to improve First Nations elementary and secondary education.

The proposed legislation would:

  • outline the Government of Canada's commitment to a statutory guarantee for stable, predictable and sustainable funding, including an investment in school infrastructure. This streamlined funding approach would reduce the complex structures now in place to three funding streams, ensure a funding commitment will have a reasonable rate of growth, and provide transition funding to support the new legislative framework;
  • reinforce First Nations' ability to incorporate language and culture programming into their education curricula;
  • create a Joint Council of Education Professionals comprised of education experts to provide advice and support to the Government of Canada and First Nations on the implementation of the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act; and,
  • provide the Joint Council of Education Professionals with an oversight role to ensure that ministerial powers provided by the Act are limited and used as a last resort.

Following Second Reading of the Education Act, the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, Bill C-33, has been put on hold.

Going forward, the Government of Canada is committed to a collaborative process in development of regulations with First Nations. The partnership does not end with the introduction of Bill C-33. The overriding goal of legislation is better outcomes for First Nation students.

The Government remains a committed partner in First Nations education reform and will look for opportunities to work with First Nations and First Nation organizations that are interested and able to pursue education reform, including through negotiated self-government agreements, to improve education outcomes for youth.

 

Announcement Materials