This week, the Government of Canada released a document containing the text of its proposed First Nations Education Act. It did not come as a surprise – the federal government’s education reform initiative has been heating up tensions with First Nations all year, as I discussed in an earlier blog post.
First Nations are raising many strong concerns about this proposed legislation. Probably the two leading concerns are:
- That it is being imposed, rather than developed in partnership; and
- That it sets many requirements for First Nations to meet, but hardly any for Canada. Federal accountability to ensure adequate funding has not been addressed. First Nations could be left unable to comply with the requirements, and meanwhile the underlying problems in First Nations education would not be solved if the problem of inadequate and unequal funding levels is not fixed.
Today’s article in the Globe and Mail discussed these concerns further, and shows how real progress that was being made through First Nation education efforts in Nova Scotia and British Columbia is now being eroded.
This OKT memo provides a summary of the proposed First Nations Education Act and answers to some general questions about it. The memo is intended to provide First Nations and members of the public with information about the proposal. It does not contain legal advice. Please contact OKT if you are looking for further analysis.
By Judith Rae