Chronology of First Nations Education

Date: June 19, 2014

December 2006
The First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act formalizes the Education Jurisdiction Framework Agreement, signed in 2006 between the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the First Nation Education Steering Committee.

February 26, 2008
Budget 2008 invests $70 million over two years to support tripartite agreements with willing First Nations and provinces to enhance education outcomes for First Nation students. The focus will be on improving financial and performance management systems and implementing community-based success plans.

April 22, 2008
The Government of Canada, the Government of New Brunswick, and New Brunswick Chiefs sign a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at improving educational outcomes and closing the gap for First Nation students in New Brunswick in band-operated schools on reserve and provincial schools off reserve.

June 11, 2008
Prime Minister Stephen Harper offers a Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools in the House of Commons.

December 2008
The Government of Canada launches Reforming First Nation Education Initiative, which invests $268 million over 5 years (with $75 million ongoing) in the First Nation Student Success Program, the Education Partnerships Program, and the Education Information System.

October 22, 2009
The Government of Canada, the Government of Manitoba, and First Nations in Manitoba, represented by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and the Southern Chiefs Organization, sign a Letter of Understanding on education to work together to improve educational outcomes.

February 12, 2010
The Government of Canada releases a statement on the progress on First Nation education, highlighting the First Nation Student Success Program and the Education Partnerships Program.

February 24, 2010
The Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta and the Assembly of Treaty Chiefs in Alberta sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on education. The MOU provides a framework for change to guide restructuring First Nations education in Alberta.

March 4, 2010
Budget 2010 invests $30 million over two years to support an implementation-ready tripartite K-12 education agreement to help First Nation students benefit from comparable education and achieve comparable results, whether the classroom is located on or off reserve. Budget 2010 also signals the next phase of education reform by committing the Government to work with First Nations groups and other willing partners to develop options, including new legislation, to improve the governance framework and clarify accountability for First Nation elementary and secondary education.

August 30, 2010
The Government of Canada, the Government of Prince Edward Island and the Mi'kmaq First Nations of Prince Edward Island sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on education. The MOU supports the province's First Nation learners from early childhood through to post-secondary education and provides a common vision for the educational success of Mi'kmaq learners, supporting them in reaching their full learning potential.

October 14, 2010
The Government of Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) endorse a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on education focusing on assisting First Nation students attending schools in the Saskatoon Tribal Council region and providing non-First Nation students in these schools with a greater understanding of First Nation culture and people.

December 9, 2010
The Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations announce the creation of a National Panel to explore and advise on the development of options, including legislation, to improve elementary and secondary education outcomes for First Nation children who live on-reserve.

December 10, 2010
The Government of Canada announces a new comparable education approach for First Nations in British Columbia which will ensure that all First Nation students in the province are able to transfer between provincial schools and First Nation schools without academic penalty.

March 18, 2011
The Government of Canada, in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), confirm the members of the National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education.

June 6, 2011
Budget 2011 reiterates the Government of Canada's commitment to work in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations towards elementary and secondary education reform.

June 9, 2011
The Auditor General of Canada’s 2011 Status Report includes a chapter (Chapter 4: Programs for First Nations on Reserves) which identifies four impediments to improving outcomes: lack of legislative base for education; lack of clarity about services levels; lack of an appropriate funding mechanism; and lack of organizations to support local service delivery.

June 9, 2011
The Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations announce a Canada–First Nation Joint Action Plan to improve the lives of First Nation people across Canada. The Action Plan expresses a joint commitment to work together to improve the long-term prosperity of First Nation people and all Canadians.

June 21, 2011
The Government of Canada, together with the Assembly of First Nations, officially launches an engagement process, to be led by the National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education, to look at options, including legislation, to improve First Nation elementary and secondary education on reserves. Between June 2011 and November 2011, the National Panel holds eight regional and one national roundtable discussions; visits 30 First Nation communities and 25 First Nation schools across all regions; holds over 60 meetings with stakeholders, including provincial officials, community leaders, practitioners and academics; and hosts a dedicated website, which provids an opportunity for those interested to propose ideas, make submissions and complete a questionnaire.

December 7, 2011
The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples tables its report entitled, Reforming First Nation Education: From Crisis to Hope.

January 24, 2012
The Prime Minister, Governor General and First Nation Chiefs meet in a Crown-First Nations Gathering to strengthen the relationship between Canada and First Nations, work together on education reform, set a course for immediate action on barriers to First Nation governance, advance land claims resolutions and capitalize on economic development.

January 27, 2012
The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, the Minister of Education for British Columbia (BC), and the President of the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), sign the Tripartite Education Framework Agreement, which aims to provide BC First Nation students with access to quality education programs whether they attend school on or off reserves.

February 8, 2012
The National Panel presents its final report to the National Chief of the AFN and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. The Panel's final report provides the government with valuable feedback and recommendations on the next steps that could be taken to improve educational outcomes for First Nation students living on reserves.

March 29, 2012
In Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government of Canada commits to working with willing partners to introduce a First Nation Education Act and have it in place for September 2014, and to ensure stable, predictable and sustainable funding for First Nation elementary and secondary education. The Government also provides new investments of $100 million over three years to provide early literacy programming and other supports and services to First Nations schools and students, and to strengthen their relationships with provincial school systems that would pave the way for the introduction of a First Nations Education Act, as well as $175 million to improve school infrastructure on reserve.

May 4, 2012
The governments of Canada and Quebec and the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), on behalf of the First Nations Education Council of Quebec (FNEC), sign an agreement to support and improve the academic success of First Nation students.

May 10, 2012
The Government of Canada tables its response to the report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, entitled Reforming First Nation Education: From Crisis to Hope.

June 2012
The Government of Canada releases its Summative Evaluation of the Elementary/Secondary Education Program on Reserve. It recommends improvement to the funding framework and allocation, clarification of roles and responsibilities, service mechanisms, and support of language and culture in relation to better student outcomes.

October 2, 2012
The Government of Canada announces details of the plan for new investments in First Nation education announced in Economic Action Plan 2012.

December 11, 2012
The Government of Canada announces the start of intensive consultations with First Nations on the development of a First Nations Education Act, and releases a Discussion Guide that would form the basis of these consultation sessions. 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 and to explore the AANDC website, to read a discussion guide and provide input for consideration in the drafting of legislation.

January - May 2013
The Government of Canada engages First Nation parents, youth, educators, provincial partners and others with an interest or expertise in education, through eight face-to-face regional consultation sessions across the country, and more than 30 video and teleconference sessions, as well as online consultation activities, including an online survey. As of May 17, 2013 the Department receives 467 completed responses to the online survey, 58 email submissions, 74 letters from First Nations and other stakeholders.

  • January 22, 2013 – Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • February 8, 2013 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • March 8, 2013 – Vancouver, British Columbia
  • March 12 & 13, 2013 – Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • March 27, 2013 – Wendake, Quebec
  • April 11, 2013 – Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • April 12, 2013 – Kenora, Ontario
  • April 16, 2013 – Calgary, Alberta

March 21, 2013
Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms the commitment to consultation and to share a draft legislative proposal with First Nation communities for further input prior to introduction in Parliament.

April 9, 2013
The Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and Nishnawbe Aski Nation sign an education agreement that will benefit more than 7,000 students across Northern Ontario.

June 12, 2013
The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development sends a letter to all First Nation Chiefs and Councils, including Grand Chiefs, to provide an update on the consultation process and to outline the next steps in the development of a proposed approach to a First Nation Education Act.

July 12, 2013
Following extensive regional consultation sessions across Canada, at the request of First Nations leadership and stakeholders, the Government of Canada releases a Blueprint for Legislation, intending to share what the Government had heard during those sessions and to show how legislation would develop from these consultations and input from First Nation parents, teachers, leaders and other interested First Nation stakeholders.

July 18, 2013
AFN passes resolution 14-2013 regarding National Advocacy to Assert First Nations Control of First Nations Education.

October 22, 2013
The Government of Canada shares a draft legislative proposal, Working Together for First Nation Students: A Proposal for a Bill on First Nations Education, with all First Nations and stakeholders.

November 25, 2013
The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations sends an Open Letter to the Government of Canada laying out five key areas that must be addressed in legislation.

December 13, 2013
The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development sends an Open Letter to the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations committing to work with the National Chief on a way forward for the development of a bill on First Nations education.

February 7, 2014
The Government of Canada and Assembly of First Nations reach an historic agreement to reform the First Nations K-12 education system through the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act.

April 10, 2014
The Government of Canada introduces the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act in the House of Commons.

April 10, 2014
The Senate adopts a motion to begin a pre-study of the subject matter of Bill C-33.

April 29-30, 2014
The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples begins its pre-study of Bill C-33 and hears from witnesses.
-April 29th transcript
-April 30th transcript

April 30, 2014
House of Commons begins debate on motion for Bill C-33 second reading and referral to committee begins.

May 1, 2014
Motion is adopted to allocate time for Bill C-33 second reading debate is adopted and debate continues.

May 2, 2014
Bill C-33 second reading debate concludes and the vote is deferred to May 5, 2014.

May 5, 2014
Bill C-33, First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, receives second reading in the House of Commons and is referred to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

May 5, 2014
The Government of Canada indicates that Bill C-33 is on hold.