Education: A historic agreement for 22 First Nations communities in Quebec

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First Nations Education Council Regional Education Agreement

Building for the next generations: First Nations Education Council Regional Education Agreement.

FNEC video: Regional Education Agreement

On July 14, 2022, Grand Chiefs and Chiefs of the 22 member communities of the First Nations Education Council (FNEC) and Indigenous Services Canada assembled on the Mohawk territory of Kahnawà:ke to sign a historic agreement: Regional education agreement.

The agreement funds a formula designed entirely by and for the FNEC's First Nations members. For nearly 5,900 students from kindergarten to grade 12, the agreement adequately addresses the real needs of each community and represents a better chance of thriving at school.

The chiefs and grand chiefs of FNEC's member communities
The Grand Chiefs and Chiefs of FNEC's member communities during the signature of the Education Regional Agreement.
Photo credit: FNEC
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario during the signature of the Education Regional Agreement.
Photo credit: FNEC

A rigorous process

It took nearly 10 years of research and analysis to reach this agreement. Indeed, the FNEC first conducted a comprehensive assessment of the real needs of First Nations students. This assessment takes into account the cultural, linguistic, social and geographic circumstances of the communities. The FNEC also identified barriers to student success, including:

Using the data collected, the FNEC and member communities were able to develop a financial proposal that formed the basis of negotiations with the department.

The agreement in brief

Approximately $1.1 billion over 5 years is being provided to help communities create strategies to increase student achievement.

A performance evaluation of the agreement is scheduled to take place as of 2027 to update the basis for its renewal

The Regional education agreement will allow:

When negotiation is reconciliation

Denis Gros-Louis, Director General of the FNEC, believes that the success of these negotiations depends on the willingness of the parties involved to work in a true spirit of reconciliation.

For Indigenous Services Canada, this meant listening and being flexible, recognizing FNEC's expertise and following its recommendations.

"In my career, this was the first time I had seen an Indigenous organization explain its substantive work to the federal government, and the federal government accepted that First Nations were further along in their analyses than the department," says Gros-Louis, happy with the positive environment in which the negotiations took place.

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