Elementary and Secondary Education Program
This program supports elementary and secondary education for eligible First Nations students ordinarily resident on reserve.
On this page
About the program
The Elementary and Secondary Education Program supports elementary and secondary education for First Nations students, schools and communities by working in partnership with First Nations to help close the education outcome gaps between First Nations peoples and other Canadians.
Following Budget 2016, investments to improve elementary and secondary education on reserve supported a new co-developed funding and policy approach to fundamentally transform education funding in order to better meet the needs of First Nations students on reserve.
The approach replaces proposal-based programs with a formula-based funding model, based on provincially-comparable funding and includes:
- enhancements for language and culture programming
- full-day kindergarten for ages 4 and 5 in First Nations schools
- more funding for specific cost drivers to First Nations schools
This approach creates a more financially stable environment for First Nations education, enabling better quality and more consistent supports for students, schools, educators, communities and First Nations education organizations, conditions that help improve student outcomes.
Indigenous Services Canada provides funding through interim regional funding formulas and transformative education agreements, such as regional education agreements, education authority agreements or other transformative education agreements.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Program also includes funding for services provided to First Nations students identified as having mild to profound special education needs.
Students assessed with moderate to profound special education needs are also eligible for funding under the High-Cost Special Education Program.
Families of a First Nations child who is not receiving the services and support that they need may contact a Jordan's Principle regional focal point for assistance.
Find a Jordan's Principle regional focal point in your area: Who to contact.
Who can apply
Funding is given directly to First Nations or to organizations designated by a First Nation, based on the number of students listed in the nominal roll.
To be included on the nominal roll, a student must be eligible, registered for school and be in regular attendance on the last instructional day of September in a school year.
How to apply
There is no formal application process for the Elementary and Secondary Education Program as funding is given directly to First Nations or to organizations designated by a First Nation based on the number of students listed on the nominal roll. To receive funding, recipients must show that a student meets the requirements to be included on the nominal roll.
To determine if a student is eligible to be included on the nominal roll and to receive department funding, consult: Elementary and Secondary Education Program: National Program Guidelines 2023 to 2024.
To find out more, contact Indigenous Services Canada by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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