First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act with "over $1.9 billion" announced today

From the Prime Minister's web site:

"improving K-12 education outcomes for First Nation students and providing First Nations children on-reserve with a high quality education, just like every other Canadian. To this end, the Government of Canada also announced today that it will make a significant financial commitment of over $1.9 billion to support the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. Funding will account for language and culture programming."


Ottawa-AFN strike 'historic' deal on education bill, reserve school funding

07. FEB, 2014


Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during First Nation education announcement Friday. Photo Keith Laboucan/APTN

Calling it a "historic" announcement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday unveiled reworked and renamed proposed legislation for First Nations on-reserve education that comes with $1.9 billion in funding.

Harper made the announcement at the Kainai High School on the Blood Tribe reserve in Alberta along with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt.

Ottawa and First Nations chiefs had been battling over the development of legislation governing education on reserves.

Friday's announcement came as a result of negotiations between the AFN and senior federal officials in the PMO, PCO and Aboriginal Affairs.

The proposed bill, once called the First Nations Education Act, will be called the First Nation Control of First Nation Education Act.

"The federal government, which has the constitutional responsibility for this, has historically veered from a sometimes disinterested neglect and at other times arbitrary decree," said Harper. "It is a great day for Canada, for First Nation communities and the next generation...again, it is long overdue."

Valcourt said the agreement marked a turning point in First Nation-Crown relations.

"This agreement brings us one giant step closer toward our ultimate goal of reconciliation with the First Nations and attests to the new beginning and a new opportunity to move forward together in partnership," said Valcourt.

The renamed and updated bill was unveiled as part of an agreement struck between the AFN and the federal government. The agreement also includes promises from the federal government to invest $160 million over four years, beginning in 2015, to fund implementation of the new legislation. Ottawa has also agreed to invest $500 million over seven years beginning in 2015 for infrastructure. The federal government will also put $1.252 billion over three years, beginning in 2016, toward core funding for education. The government will also eliminate the two per cent cap and replace it with a 4.5 per cent cap.

The next federal election is scheduled for 2015.

The renamed bill still carries some of the main aims of its previous incarnation including the creation of minimum education standards consistent with provincial standards, establishing roles for First Nation education administrators require annual reporting and allow for the creation of First Nation education authorities.

The bill now establishes stable funding for education, creating a statutory funding stream for transition and long-term infrastructure investment.  The bill would also create a "Joint Council of Education Professionals" that will advise Ottawa and First Nations on the implementation of the proposed bill. First Nations will also be able to incorporate language and cultural programming into their education systems under the new statutory funding stream.

"I do join in marking the beginning of a new way forward to mark the beginning of a new way of life," said Atleo. "We can do this in our time."

The tail end of the press conference was interrupted by a Treaty 6 woman from Saddle Lake Cree Nation. With one of Harper's RCMP security escorts eyeing her warily, Shannon Houle raised her fist and said not all First Nations were consulted on the agreement and it did not have their support.

The federal budget will be tabled next Tuesday.


AFN press release

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Agrees on a New Approach to Achieve First Nations Control of First Nations Education


KAINAI NATION, AB, Feb. 7, 2014 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo was at Kainai High School today in Alberta to announce the beginning of a new approach to First Nations control of First Nations education.

"Today is about the beginning of a new era of fairness, opportunity and hope for First Nations children, youth and students," said National Chief Atleo.  "Today is a victory for First Nations leaders and citizens who have for decades, indeed since the first generation of residential school survivors, called for First Nations control of First Nations education.  The approach we are announcing today embraces the essential and connected components of First Nations control of First Nations education founded on our rights, jurisdiction and Treaties; and secure, sustainable and fair funding that supports our students' success and strengthens their languages and cultures. First Nations control of First Nations education as envisioned by our leaders and educators for many decades will enable and support the systems and standards necessary to ensure our children are nurtured to achieve their goals through full access to quality education."

The National Chief was at Kainai High School in the traditional territory of the Kainai Nation to make the announcement along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, AFN Regional Chief and Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Education Morley Googoo, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt and First Nations leaders, Elders, students and citizens.

"We know that where we see First Nations control, we see success," said Nova Scotia-Newfoundland Regional Chief Googoo. "First Nations leaders rejected the October proposal put forward by the Government and stood together to set-out the requirements for change.  Today, we are embarking on a path forward based on the direction from Chiefs that will, at long last, lead us to a new era in First Nations education.  We are closing the gap in funding and we will close the gap in education between First Nations and non-Indigenous students."

Consistent with AFN resolution 21/2013, "Outlining the Path Forward: Conditions for the Success of First Nations Education", adopted by consensus at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly in December 2013, the new approach will respect and recognize First Nations rights, title, Treaty rights and jurisdiction; provides for a statutory guarantee of funding, including funding to support First Nations educations systems grounded in Indigenous languages and cultures; mechanisms for reciprocal accountability with no unilateral federal oversight or authority; and ongoing meaningful dialogue and development of options by First Nations and Canada for an enabling framework for the success of First Nations students and schools.

First Nations have been pressing for many decades the urgent need to invest in our children and our schools. This announcement today is the elimination of many financial gaps such as ending the 2 percent cap and establishing a reasonable, stable and fair rate of growth now and in the long-term. There are also investments to support the transition to and building of systems - supporting that work which is underway and enabling others to take this on. And finally there are investments to build schools.

"Investing in First Nations youth, the youngest and fastest growing population in the country, is an investment in our shared future because strong First Nations make a strong Canada," said National Chief Atleo.  "But today is not the culmination of our work, it is the beginning.  First Nations must decide on the approach that works for them to make First Nations control a reality.  Some are already moving, some are ready to move and others must engage with their citizens to chart the path forward.  This is not easy work but it is important work and it is essential work to strengthen our citizens and rebuild our nations.  We will seize this moment.  Now is our time"

Related products:

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information:

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or


According to APTN Twitter Feed..

The First Nations Education Announcement from PM Harper

will be on Live at 

starting at Noon Central.. 1PM Eastern


PM press release


Standoff, AB7 February 2014


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced an historic agreement between the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations to reform the First Nations K-12 education system through the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. The legislation will be tabled in Parliament in the coming months.

At its core the legislation will provide First Nation students on-reserve across Canada with the education standards, supports, and opportunities that most Canadians take for granted. Acknowledging that First Nations are best placed to control First Nations education, the legislation will recognize the responsibility and accountability of First Nations to administer their education system on-reserve under the Act. At the same time, the legislation will establish a stable and predictable statutory funding regime that accounts for language and culture programming.

This agreement has been reached following an extensive and unprecedented consultation and discussion period with First Nation leaders, parents, educators and others. Canada will continue to work with First Nations to finalize the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act in line with today's announcement, and develop the Act's regulations in conjunction with First Nations.  

This announcement marks an historic milestone for First Nations and all Canadians. Our Government looks forward to continuing to work in partnership with First Nations to implement the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act so that First Nation children across Canada have access to a quality education and can participate fully in Canada's prosperous future.

Quick Facts

  • Currently, there are no minimum legislated education standards that apply to on-reserve students, including the requirement that teachers are provincially certified, that parents and schools ensure minimum attendance requirements for students, and that education programs offer recognizable certificates or diplomas.
  • The Act will recognize First Nations control of First Nations education and establish much needed minimum standards in a way that aligns and supports First Nations approaches to education.
  • The Government of Canada will provide funding for transition, implementation and school infrastructure, and will ensure that funding is subject to a reasonable rate of annual growth.
  • Aboriginal peoples are the fastest growing demographic group in Canada.  Their full participation in Canada's economy is critical to the future prosperity of the country.


"Our Government firmly believes that First Nation students across Canada deserve access to a school system with the structures and supports that are available to non-First Nation students across Canada. This bill is good for First Nations, it is good for Canadians, and it is good for our country's future." - Prime Minister Stephen Harper

"This bill represents the appropriate, necessary and positive change that First Nations education requires. It will build a stronger system and help to ensure that First Nations youth can become full participants in Canada's prosperous future." - Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act

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