First Nations who had Band Council Resolutions supporting the Anishinabek Education Agreement were recognized with certificates at June's Grand Council Assembly in Curve Lake First Nation.    – Photo by Ray St. Louis

First Nations who had Band Council Resolutions supporting the Anishinabek Education Agreement were recognized with certificates at June’s Grand Council Assembly in Curve Lake First Nation. – Photo by Ray St. Louis

At the June 2015 Grand Council Assembly, each of the 17 First Nations that passed a Band Council Resolution in support of initialling the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement was presented with a certificate by Chief James Marsden, Education Portfolio, Anishinabek Nation Leadership Council, and Lloyd Myke, Vice-Chairperson of the Kinomaadswin Education Body Board of Directors.

The Anishinabek Nation and Canada have both secured authority to initial the education agreement.  The 17 BCRs from the Anishinabek First Nations provide authority for the Anishinabek Nation education negotiator to initial the education agreements.  On May 13, 2015, Canada’s Federal Steering Committee approved the initialling of the education agreements by the federal education negotiator. Initialling by the negotiators is the signal that the table level negotiations of the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement, the Education Fiscal Transfer Agreement and the Education Implementation Plan are completed and that the ratification communications process will begin.

The initialing of the education agreements is tentatively scheduled for October 2015.  This will allow the negotiations team and support staff to continue visits to each Anishinabek First Nation to provide an opportunity for information sharing and discussion of the education agreements, assisting additional Anishinabek First Nations to decide whether to pass a BCR to approve initialling. The ratification vote is scheduled for November 2016, one year after the launch of the communications process.

The Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement provides for Canada’s recognition of the existing inherent jurisdiction of each Anishinabek First Nation that ratifies the education agreements. Canada will recognize Anishinabek First Nations’ law-making power and other authority over primary, elementary and secondary education (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12) and the proposed Anishinabek Education System. The Education Fiscal Transfer Agreement provides for a negotiated funding amount for the delivery of agreed upon programs and services, First Nation education governance and administration, and the operation of the Anishinabek Education System to support First Nation schools and students. The Implementation Plan sets out the obligations of the Parties over a ten-year term and provides one-time implementation funding for the establishment of the Anishinabek Education System and infrastructure.

Update on Education Major Capital

Canada maintains its position that major capital is not part of the self-government package on education.   Last year the Union of Ontario Indians successfully lobbied for funding to initiate research on the education major capital needs of the Anishinabek First Nations.  This project was completed May 15th, 2015.  The Union of Ontario Indians and Canada will meet to review the results of the project and to discuss next steps.   The Ad Hoc Committee of First Nations with Schools and the Chiefs Committee on Governance were mandated by Grand Council Resolution #2015-07 to advance the negotiations on major capital, increased minor capital, and increased education operations and maintenance funding. The education negotiations team is not involved in this initiative.