Education Partnerships Program: Regional Education Agreement Component: National Program Guidelines 2021 to 2022

Table of contents

1. Introduction

The Government of Canada is committed to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a renewed, nation-to-nation and government-to-government relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership as the foundation for transformative change. The implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples requires transformative change in the Government's relationship with Indigenous peoples.

These efforts must be guided by Canada's obligation to respect and uphold First Nations' inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights, including those rights to education referenced in specific treaties and self-government agreements. The nation-to-nation relationship between the Government of Canada and First Nations is rooted in historic treaties, the Numbered Treaties, self-government agreements, section 35, guided by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and informed by the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action.

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) implemented a new education policy framework which aims to fundamentally improve the way ISC funds First Nations elementary and secondary education, while supporting regional and local diversity and the principle of First Nations control of First Nations education.

This new education policy framework is informed by the Transforming First Nations Elementary and Secondary Education Policy Proposal (2017), developed by the Assembly of First Nations, the National Indian Education Council and ISC. A component of this new education policy framework identifies the funding supports for First Nations in addressing their education goals and priorities of their students, schools, and communities under education transformation.

ISC has committed $14 million per year, starting in 2018 to 2019 until 2022 to 2023, to support:

REAs are a mechanism to formalize how First Nations have determined the distribution of their core education funding (such as, education service map) in accordance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Program's Kindergarten to grade 12 Terms and Conditions.

Where a First Nation chooses to enter into REA negotiations, that REA will address the following 4 pillars:

With respect to the regional aspect of an actual REA, a region will be defined as any territory which First Nations choose to implement First Nations control of First Nations education and negotiate or renegotiate a First Nations REA. This could include, but is not limited to, a territory defined as:

These guidelines have been developed in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, its Chiefs Committee on Education and the National Indian Education Council.

2. Objectives

REA funding is intended to support First Nations in establishing technical tables and negotiating or renegotiating an education agreement supported by leadership. These activities are related to, but not limited to:

3. Eligible recipients

Applicants who may be eligible to receive funding for this program are:

4. Eligible components and activities

REA funding is provided to support the following activities:

5. Expenditures

5.1 Eligible expenditures

All work plans must include:

  • clear outcomes
  • timelines
  • scope of proposed events
  • budgeted expenditures that link to the planned activities

Eligible expenditures include, but are not limited to:

  • travel expenditures including accommodation costs, private vehicle mileage allowances and daily meal allowances within the rates set out in the National Joint Council Travel Directive (excluding incidental allowances)
  • meeting costs including facility rentals, audio-visual equipment rentals and hospitality, child care
  • professional, consulting and Elder fees (indicating daily rate and duration of contract)
  • legal advice (excluding litigation)
  • eligible administration costs, as outlined in section 5.3 below and not exceeding 15% of total costs

5.2 Ineligible expenditures

Ineligible expenditures include, but are not limited to the following:

  • provincial tuition or activities related to core programming
  • activities related to the negotiation or renegotiation and implementation of self-government agreements
  • infrastructure, planning, construction, operation or maintenance of federal and First Nations school facilities
  • travel outside Canada
  • any activity expenditure that would result in a duplication of funding (that is receipt of funding from more than one source for the same expenditures on an activity), including fees and services covered through a tuition agreement

5.3 Maximum administration costs

Administration costs directly related to implementing a REA work plan are eligible but must not exceed 15% of total costs.

Eligible administration costs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • clerical support
  • office space
  • administrative overhead such as:
    • stationary and office materials
    • cell phones and office phones
    • individual IT equipment
  • the collection, maintenance and reporting of data and information in accordance with program and financial report requirements
  • costs associate with ensuring that personal information is appropriately managed and safeguarded during its collection, retention, use, disclosure and disposal

When a funding recipient transfers to a third party funds that were received under REA funding, the 15% allowed for administration costs must be divided between the parties, as agreed to by the parties. The total administration costs retained by all parties must not exceed 15% of total costs.

6. Work plan process and assessment criteria

Interested applicants are invited to submit work plans to their respective ISC regional office as of April 1, 2021.

Applicants may submit a 1 or 2 year work plan.

As work plans are received by ISC regional offices, they will be reviewed in accordance with the following work plan criteria and ISC may request further information or revisions from applicants.

Approved funding amounts will be based on the available regional allocations. Regional allocations will be reviewed annually.

Work plans should include the following sections:

7. Funding

7.1 Funding recipients

A funding recipient is a First Nation or mandated entity that has met the eligibility criteria of the program and has signed a funding agreement with ISC to deliver an initiative, program, service or activity.

7.2 Duration of funding

2021 to 2022 funding will be allocated on an annual basis. Activities funded must be among those set out in the proposal that was approved through the assessment process.

Recipients and beneficiaries should not interpret funding for a current year's activities as a guarantee that ISC will fund related activities planned for upcoming fiscal years.

7.3 Funding approaches

ISC regional offices will set up the required funding arrangement for the transfer of funds.

Transfer payments to funding recipients of the Education Partnerships Program: Regional Education Agreement component may be made using fixed contribution or flexible contribution depending on the eligibility of the recipient and of the service to be delivered.

Set funding may be used if the recipient so wishes.

ISC regional officers can advise on the eligibility of these funding approaches as well as on the requirements related to the management of the funds.

The funding approach used to transfer funds to a recipient is identified in the recipient's signed funding agreement.

The following specific program directions for the management of transfer payments complement the directions provided in the recipient's signed funding agreement and are to be read in conjunction with the funding agreement.

Set contribution funding
Reallocation of funding: not allowed with transfer payments made using set contribution.

Fixed contribution funding
Reallocation of funding: during the fiscal year, recipients may reallocate funds among the eligible activities and expenditures of their ISC-approved work plan for the Education Partnerships Program: Regional Education Agreement component.

Unexpended funds: recipients may retain unexpended funding from a fiscal year, to expend in the 1-year period immediately following the fiscal year for which it was provided, on eligible activities and expenditures outlined in these guidelines.

Flexible contribution funding
Reallocation of funding: during the fiscal year, recipients may reallocate funds among the eligible activities and expenditures of their ISC-approved work plan for the Education Partnerships Program: Regional Education Agreement component.

Unexpended funds: recipients may retain unexpended funding remaining at the end of each fiscal year, to expend in a subsequent fiscal year, to further achieve results toward their ISC-approved work plan for the Education Partnerships Program: Regional Education Agreement component.

7.4 No duplication of funding

REA funding is not designed to duplicate funding for activities funded by other programs, nor to supplement funding from other program areas.

Activities that provide training, resources or services that can be addressed under another specific ISC program are not eligible for REA funding.

However, activities related to developing new strategies or incremental costs associated with piloting innovative approaches to program or service delivery of existing programs, may be eligible for funding on a time-limited basis.

8. Reporting requirements and monitoring and oversight activities

8.1 Reporting requirements

The reporting requirements (program and financial reports) and their respective due date are listed in the recipient's funding agreement. Details on these requirements are available in the Reporting Guide.

Recipients must report on all funds received and expended, including the use of unexpended funding they were allowed to retain to use in another fiscal year (consult the funding approaches section of these guidelines for details on the use of unexpended funds).

Recipients who have access to the ISC Services portal can access the reporting forms by opening a session on the portal. If you do not have access to the portal, contact your ISC regional office.

Recipients are responsible for completing an annual report and submitting it to the ISC regional office by June 30 the year following receipt of the funds.

The final report should be in the "Activities and Expenditures Report" data collection instrument. Information to highlight in reporting can include:

  • service map
  • mandate from leadership to enter into a REA
  • outline of roles and responsibilities of First Nations and First Nations education organizations
  • mutual accountability mechanisms
  • agreement (draft or final)

If the funded work has not concluded, final reporting should also include information on next steps and timeline.

9. Personal information

ISC's collection and use of personal information and other records for the purposes of program compliance reviews will be limited to what is necessary to ensure program delivery requirements are met.

ISC is responsible for all information and records in its possession. The confidentiality of the information will be managed by ISC in accordance with the Privacy Act and other related policies on privacy. Recipients are responsible for the protection of personal information per the privacy legislation, regulations or policies that govern them up to the point that it is transferred to ISC.

10. Accountability

ISC is committed to providing assistance and mutual accountability to recipients in order for them to effectively carry out timely negotiations and meet obligations set out in this document and funding agreements.

Recipients must:

11. Contact information

For further program information, please consult the Education Partnerships Program web page.

The ISC regional offices contact information can be found on the ISC regional offices page.

You can also write to:

Education Branch
Regional Partnerships Directorate
Indigenous Services Canada
10 rue Wellington
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H4

For more information about education programs, consult the National program guidelines or through the "View Instructions button" on the first page of this program's data collection instrument.

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