Funding for First Nations kindergarten to grade 12 education
Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) provides funding support for eligible students who are 4 to 21 years of age, ordinarily live on reserve, and are enrolled in and attending an eligible elementary or secondary program. The majority are First Nations students. However, certain non-First Nations students are also included.
Funding is provided directly to First Nations and organizations designated by First Nations that are responsible for managing and delivering education programs and services including tribal councils, First Nations education organizations, and First Nations school systems. ISC also delivers services directly to seven federally-operated schools.
Budget 2016 included substantial investments in primary and secondary education on reserve, totaling $2.6 billion over five years starting in 2016–17. This includes funding to address immediate needs and to keep pace with cost growth over the medium term, in addition to investments in language and cultural programming, investments in literacy and numeracy programs and special needs education. In 2016-17 the increased funding resulted in an overall investment of $1.94 billion.
The $1.94 billion for 2016-17 included:
- $1.69 billion for elementary and secondary instructional services, student support services and proposal-based and targeted programs (such as the New Paths for Education Program, First Nation Student Success Program, Education Partnerships Program and High-Cost Special Education Program)
- $120 million to operate and maintain school facilities
- an estimated $127 million to support kindergarten to grade 12 teachers and staff through Band Support Funding and Employee Benefits related to education services
This amounts to an average spending of $19,010 per full-time First Nations student. More details can be found in the Kindergarten to grade 12 operating expenditures 2016-2017 overview.
According to the 2016-17 Departmental Results Report (DRR) the total investment in First Nations kindergarten to grade 12 education programming was $1.79 billion. The methodologies used to calculate the DRR figure and the operating expenditures for 2016-2017 are not the same. The Kindergarten to grade 12 operating expenditures 2016-2017 overview reflects direct investments across departmental programs and authorities to First Nations and organizations designated by First Nations for the delivery of kindergarten to grade 12 education. The DRR reports according to departmental program structures and authorities.
The $1.79 billion reported in the 2016-2017 DRR includes:
- $1.72 billion for elementary and secondary education programs (instructional services, student support services, New Paths for Education Program, First Nation Student Success Program, Education Partnerships Program and High-Cost Special Education Program) and funding towards departmental salary and operation expenses for these programs
- $9.6 million in support of First Nations and Inuit cultural education centres
- $62.8 million for the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy
For more information on departmental spending on kindergarten to grade 12 First Nations education, please consult the Kindergarten to grade 12 operating expenditures 2016-2017 overview.
In addition to increasing investment in elementary and secondary education on reserve, ISC is also currently working with First Nations to transform the way kindergarten to grade 12 education is funded. ISC has been working closely with the Assembly of First Nations and a group of First Nations representatives selected by the Chiefs Committee on Education to co-develop a First Nations recommended way forward on transforming funding.
This is part of the ongoing collaboration and dialogue through the First Nations education transformation engagement.