Proposed Legislation to Focus on Better Outcomes for First Nation Students
THUNDER BAY, ON, Feb. 18, 2014 /CNW/ - Today Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt addressed the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce to discuss important reforms in First Nations elementary and secondary education.
Highlights of the speech included:
- the historic agreement reached between the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations paving the way to both draft and introduce the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act;
- new investments of $1.9 billion in First Nation elementary and secondary education; and
- the opportunities for change that will be contained in the bill to support First Nations education.
The Minister also spoke of how the Government of Canada is investing in nearly 4,000 First Nations youth from across the country to provide skills training and job readiness activities under enhancements to the Income Assistance Program delivered on reserves.
The Government of Canada continues to take concrete steps to create the conditions for more prosperous, self-sufficient First Nation communities. Investing in First Nations elementary and secondary students and jobs and skills training for youth will lead to their greater participation in the economy, healthier First Nation communities, and a stronger Canada.
- First Nation youth represent the fastest growing segment of our population.
- The current education system has resulted in outcomes that are drastically below the national average. The results of the 2011 National Household Survey, released June 2013, indicate that the high school completion rate for First Nations individuals living on reserve ages 18-24 is 38%, compared to 87% nationally.
- With more than 400,000 Aboriginal youth projected to be ready to enter the labour market over the next 15 years, helping Aboriginal youth to succeed in school and graduate will be critical to increasing their participation in Canada's economy.
- Under enhancements to the Income Assistance Program, First Nations youth will have access to a range of services and programs aimed at increasing their job prospects and supporting them as they move into the workforce, including: basic life-skills training, skills training and career counseling.
"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. The First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act will be good for First Nations, it is good for Canadians, and it is good for our country's future."
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Minister Valcourt's Speech to Chamber of Commerce (hyperlink)
- AANDC: Consultations for Development of a First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act
- Budget 2014
- February 7, 2014: News Release: PM Announcement an Historic Agreement with the Assembly of First Nations to Reform the First Nations Education System
- February 7, 2013: Backgrounder: First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act
- January 31, 2014: News Release: Harper Government Connects First Nation Youth with Personalized Skills and Training
- January 31, 2014: Backgrounder: Improved On-Reserve Income Assistance Program
- Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012, 2013, 2014
SOURCE: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
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PHOTO Minister Valcourt addresses the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce - February 18, 2014