Agreement to Support the School Attendance and Academic Success of Innu Youth

Concluded between:

Institut Tshakapesh, represented by Julie Basile, Chair

and

the Government of Quebec, represented by
the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports,
Minister responsible for Native Affairs,
and Minister responsible for Canadian Relations and
the Canadian Francophonie

and

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by
the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Hereinafter, the "Parties"

Table of contents

Preamble

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh, is a corporation duly constituted under the Canada Corporations Act, (R.S.C., 1970, c. C-35) on May 16, 1978;

WHEREAS the member Innu communities of lnstitut Tshakapesh are First Nations, which were, among others, recognized by resolution of the National Assembly on March 20, 1985;

WHEREAS the Government of Canada supports, within the framework of Canada's Constitution and laws, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as set out in its Statement of Support of November 12, 2010;

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh, the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada wish to cooperate to encourage the school attendance and academic success of students from Innu communities served by Tshakapesh, for both students who attend school in the communities and those who go to school outside the communities;

WHEREAS Tshakapesh is a regional organization representing Innu communities from Quebec's North Shore;

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh is mandated by the following band councils of member Innu communities of the Institute to represent them in the context of the federal government's Education Partnership Program;

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh demonstrates the required expertise through its structure, financial health, reputation and ongoing support for primary and secondary education in the schools of its member communities;

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh has started developing quantitative success indicators in the context of the federal government's First Nation Student Success Program (FNSSP) and this data will be directly applicable to activities that will result from this Agreement;

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh, Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur (MEES) and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) wish to implement concrete measures and measurable indicators to encourage the academic success of Innu students;

WHEREAS this partnership calls upon the cooperation of staff from Innu schools, as well as from lnstitut Tshakapesh, MEES and DIAND;

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh offers a fairly complete range of services for the schools of its member communities including its role in engagement, guidance, support, evaluation and accountability to its partners; by providing instructional support educators, by supporting all special education programs, and by contributing to the implementation of Quebec's educational renewal.

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh has been planning, managing and implementing, for more than thirty (30) years, various federal programs, in compliance with the required standards, while ensuring that projects presented by the schools meet the academic success objectives for Innu youth, and encourage the active participation of parents.

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh is promoting Innu language and culture.

WHEREAS the Regional Management Table, which is comprised of lnstitut Tshakapesh managers and the school administrations from all member community schools, has developed diversified service models adapted to various environments, has established regional committees to standardize learning assessment practices, and has developed effective accountability mechanisms;

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh is implementing the Strategic Plan (2015-2020) that was developed through a consultation process and approved by the General Assembly of Tshakapesh;

WHEREAS lnstitut Tshakapesh senior management, together with three (3) service divisions (education, language and culture, finance), assumes responsibility for the application of the personnel management policy, the delivery of various DIAND programs and services, the financial management workbook, and the various financial arrangements involving different federal and provincial departments, a number of universities and First Nations organizations;

WHEREAS DIAND accepts the responsibility to fund educational services for preschool (kindergarten), elementary and secondary levels for registered First Nations students ordinarily resident on reserve, and to provide financial assistance, within DIAND budgetary limits, for eligible students under the criteria established in the Post-Secondary Education sub-program;

WHEREAS Quebec's jurisdiction in education is enacted by MEES, through its mission and activities as well as through the provincial school system;

The parties agree to the following:

1. Subject of the agreement

This Agreement is intended to improve collaboration between lnstitut Tshakapesh, the DIAND and the MEES with the objectives of improving school attendance and academic success of Innu students from lnstitut Tshakapesh member communities and the goal of preserving, promoting and transmitting Innu culture and language through the education system. This agreement also seeks, to establish a framework for collaboration, that will focus on the priority areas and strategic activities to achieve this goal. It is a declaration of intent by the Parties and creates no legal obligations.

2. Coordination committee

The Parties agree to establish a coordination committee whose role will be to ensure that the framework for collaboration is respected.

Each Party shall appoint a representative to the Coordination Committee for the implementation of this agreement and will be responsible for financing the participation of its representative. The person appointed by lnstitut Tshakapesh will chair the Committee.

The Coordination Committee must hold its first meeting no later than two months following the signing of this Agreement. At its first meeting, the Coordination Committee will adopt its operating rules and procedures.

3. Dispute settlement procedure

The members of the Coordination Committee will do their best to resolve, by consensus, all disputes that could arise from the interpretation or application of this Agreement. Where it is not possible to reach a consensus, the dispute will be referred to an appeals committee comprised of three (3) senior-level managers representing each of the Parties. At the request of one of the Parties, the Committee shall have recourse to an independent mediator, and the choice being made with the consent of all Parties.

Each Party shall have the opportunity to send any relevant documents to the mediator and to argue their position in an individual meeting. Once all the Parties have had a chance to meet, the independent mediator will have thirty (30) days to prepare a settlement scenario, the acceptance of which remains the prerogative of the Parties in accordance with their respective responsibilities. The fees of the independent mediator will be shared equally among the Parties.

4. Joint action plan

4.1 Preamble

This collaboration complements the various efforts and programs implemented to promote the academic success of Aboriginal students on reserve by the Government of Canada and in the Quebec school system by the Government of Quebec.

It’s within the context of:

  • lnstitut Tshakapesh’s Strategic Plan (Web site not available in English)
  • The study on the intercultural relations training needs of teachers and professionals working at Innu schools (study conducted by Pierre Lepage, anthropologist, October 2009).
  • The objectives of the MEES’ Strategic Plan in relation to supporting educational services adapted to the needs of the regions and communities that are focused on working with aboriginal education organizations and to foster emerging partnerships.

4.2 Guiding principles

  • Schools in Innu communities reserve the right to withdraw from any partnership education initiatives that concern them.
  • This Agreement does not constitute a treaty within the meaning of Section 35 of the Constitutional Act of 1982, and should not be interpreted in any way as having the effect of a repeal, a denial or a recognition of an existing ancestral right, treaty right or other right.
  • Any activity must be unanimously approved by the three (3) members of the Coordination Committee.
  • The expertise, knowledge and wisdom of Innu Elders will be used to support and strengthen the Innu language and culture in schools.

4.3 Priority areas and strategies being considered

This action plan is founded on five priority areas, described below, based on which strategies will later be developed. With the written consent of all the Parties, other strategies may be established throughout the duration of this agreement. The communities will also be able to develop partnerships or courses of action at the local level, according to the specific needs of their respective communities.

Area 1

Develop strategies to improve programs and services provided to Innu students enrolled in Innu and provincial schools.

Strategies being considered:

  • enhance and consolidate the services currently provided by lnstitut Tshakapesh;
  • use distance education models that promote student retention at the school in their community;
  • develop support and training tools for parents whose children are attending provincial schools.

Area 2

Share expertise and service delivery.

Strategies being considered:

  • formalize and ensure the continued existence of the informal partnerships that lnstitut Tshakapesh has developed with educational organizations at the national, provincial, regional and local levels;
  • look for distance training models and develop reference tools to support staff at Innu schools in their continuous learning plans.

Area 3

Improve coordination between Innu and provincial schools to aid in student transition.

Strategies being considered:

  • facilitate collaboration and information sharing between the two systems;
  • Raise awareness amongst teachers in the provincial school system about the reality of Innu students and the obstacles they face in their schooling;
  • share knowledge about the characteristics of Innu students;
  • develop mechanisms to compile the results of Innu students who attend school off reserve.

Area 4

Aim to improve linkages and coordination between programs for all levels of schooling, from early childhood to the post-secondary level, as well as between labour market training programs and community needs.

Strategies being considered:

  • ensure that existing mechanisms are working properly;
  • establish national, regional and local partnerships that involve other federal and provincial departments.

Area 5

Support lnstitut Tshakapesh in its research to develop an education services model in partnership with their member community schools

Strategies being considered:

  • Use lnstitut Tshakapesh’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan from a partnership perspective and taking into account laws that are applicable to First Nations;
  • Conduct, if needed, a feasibility analysis of the proposed partnership projects.

5. Funding

The Parties agree to work collaboratively to ensure the effective use of available resources, including existing funding and additional strategic funding from the Government of Canada, from time to time, or funding from the private sector or non-profits sectors, to support the academic success of Innu students.

The Government of Quebec contribution, in the context of this collaboration, is limited to activities offered in institutions within the Quebec school system and funded through its regular budgets. As such, the signing of this agreement has no financial implications for the Government of Quebec.

6. Termination of the agreement

Each Party may terminate this Agreement by giving at least sixty (60) days written notice and stating its reasons, after consultation with the other Parties.

7. Term of the agreement

This Agreement will come into effect upon signature and will remain in effect for three (3) years. Six (6) months prior to the expiration of this Agreement, the Parties may agree to the renewal of this Agreement in accordance with applicable legislation.

8. Public communications

Any public communications related to the implementation of this agreement must be agreed upon by the Parties.

In witness whereof, the parties have signed five copies:

FOR INSTITUT TSHAKAPESH:

_______________________________________
Ms. Julie Basile
Chair, Board of Directors, Institut Tshakapesh
_____________
Date

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF QUEBEC:

_______________________________________
The Honourable Sébastien Proulx
Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports
_____________
Date
_______________________________________
The Honourable Geoffrey Kelley
Minister responsible for Native Affairs
_____________
Date
_______________________________________
The Honourable Jean-Marc Fournier
Minister responsible for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie
_____________
Date

FOR HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA:

_______________________________________
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
_____________
Date
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