Harper Government Continues Consultations on a First Nations Education Legislative Proposal

OTTAWA, Oct. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today announced the next steps on the consultation process on a legislative proposal for First Nations education.

As part of the consultation process, Minister Valcourt today wrote to more than 600 Chiefs and Band Councils across the country. First Nations and provincial leaders, as well as other interested stakeholders, were provided with a copy of Working Together for First Nation Students: A Proposal for a Bill on First Nations Education to be shared with their membership for their consideration and feedback.

The Harper Government has joined with First Nation parents, teachers, leaders and other interested First Nation stakeholders on the development of a First Nations legislative proposal. The Harper Government has been consulting with First Nation groups to ensure First Nations have the same opportunity to succeed in their education as all Canadians, and to implement the principle of First Nation control over First Nation Education. Comments received in the coming weeks will help to further guide the legislative proposal.

"Our Government firmly believes that all First Nation students across Canada deserve access to a school system that meets provincial and territorial standards, while respecting First Nation culture, language, rights and treaties," said Minister Valcourt. "The draft legislative proposal for First Nation education would put in place a system that is accountable to students, and ensures that First Nation students have access, like all Canadians, to a good education."

"First Nation youth represent the fastest growing segment of the population in Canada yet they have one of the lowest graduation rates. Our Government has listened to the calls from First Nation leadership, educators, technicians and youth who are unhappy with the current 'non-system' that has been failing First Nation students for years. This draft legislative proposal is a significant step forward, in the spirit of reconciliation, in pursing our shared goal with First Nations of closing the gaps between First Nations and all Canadians."

The Government of Canada will continue to consult with First Nations to improve on-reserve education. To date, the draft legislative proposal has been informed by the hundreds of comments received through cross-country consultations, e-mail

submissions, online survey responses, letters from First Nations and other stakeholders, Band Council resolutions, and input received on the Discussion Guide and the Blueprint for Legislation.

"Ultimately, all input will contribute to improved education on reserve that guarantees minimum standards, provides the mechanism required for stable, predictable and sustainable funding, and improves First Nation control over First Nation education. First Nations students deserve no less."

Funding has also been offered to help First Nation communities come together to provide feedback on the Blueprint and draft legislative proposal. In addition, interested parties and individuals can also view the draft legislative proposal and read the Blueprint for Legislation, the progress to date and the Discussion Guide by going to the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website. Input can be provided by sending an e-mail, writing a letter or going to the website to share comments online.

Letter to First Nations Chiefs
Proposal for a Bill on First Nations Education
Myths and Facts
Did You Know?

This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

SOURCE: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

For further information:

Minister's Office 
Erica Meekes
Press Secretary
819-953-1160

Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt 
819-997-0002

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