Elementary and Secondary Education Program

This program provides eligible students ordinarily living on reserve with elementary and secondary education programs comparable to those in provincial schools.

Following Budget 2016 investments to improve elementary and secondary education on reserves, a new funding and policy approach was co‑developed to better meet the needs of First Nations students on reserves.

The new approach replaces proposal-based programs with a formula-based funding model, based on provincially-comparable funding, and provides funding for expanded language and culture programming and other initiatives.

The new approach provides greater predictability and sustainability to make sure First Nations have the means to achieve their education goals and ambitions. It also equips First Nations with greater flexibility to shape their education programming to meet local or regional priorities.

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.

By providing a more stable funding environment for First Nations education systems, the program aims to create better and more consistent support for:

The program is transitioning away from proposal-based programming. A new funding approach has been created based on provincial funding models, with changes to meet the unique needs of First Nations. The new funding approach provides predictable and flexible funding that's more directly comparable to what students enrolled in provincial education systems get.

ISC will provide funding through interim regional funding formulas and transformative education agreements, such as regional education agreements, education authority agreements or other transformative education agreements.

Special education

The Elementary and Secondary Education Program also includes funding for services provided to First Nations students identified as having mild to profound learning disabilities.

Students assessed with moderate to profound learning disabilities are also eligible for funding under the High-Cost Special Education Program.

Families of a First Nations child who isn't 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 band councils, or to organizations designated by band councils, based on the number of students listed in the nominal roll.

Deadline

To be included on the nominal roll, a student must be eligible, registered for school, and be in regular attendance on the last school 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 band councils or to organizations designated by band councils, 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 2020 to 2021.

Previous guidelines

To find out more, contact ISC by email at aadnc.education-education.aandc@canada.ca or by telephone at 1-800-567-9604 and ask to speak to an education officer.

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