Proposed Anishinabek Education System (AES)
Posted on November 4, 2016
Over 20 years of negotiations and ongoing consultation on a proposed agreement with Canada to restore Anishinabek control of education have concluded. Voting to ratify the proposed agreement is to take place Nov. 28 – Dec. 2, 2016.
Two of the key features of the proposed AES are: First Nations control – ability to make education laws – over education from junior kindergarten through to Grade 12; and, stable, predictable funding from the federal government.
The AES structure includes the Anishinabek First Nations who choose to participate, a central education body – the Kinoomaadziwin Education Body (KEB), and regional education councils. Participating First Nations will have the authority to make their own Education laws, appoint the members to the KEB board, and set up local councils to coordinate services and provide expertise and advice.
The leadership of the OTC communities has been working with community members to
learn in depth about this new proposed system of education. OTC staff has gathered
some information, in consultation with the Union of Ontario Indians staff, that hopefully
will be helpful.
1. Is the KEB in operation now? If so, who are the members and staff?
The KEB was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in 2011 under the authority of a Grand Council Resolution approving the incorporation and the membership. The members are the 39 Anishinabek First Nations. There is a 10-member Board of Directors. Two directors are selected by the First Nations in each of the respective Regional Education Councils.
The current Board includes:
REC #1 – Claire Onabigon (Long Lake #58 First Nation) and Val Auger (Pays Plat First Nation)
REC #2 – Debbie Mayer (Mississauga #8 First Nation) and Julia Pegahmagabow (Atikameksheng Anishnawbek)
REC #3 – Nancy Cada (Sheshegwaning First Nation) – 2nd seat vacant
REC #4 – Lloyd Myke (Magnetawan First Nation) and Muriel Sawyer (Nipissing First Nation)
REC #5 – Della Charles (Scugog First Nation) – 2nd seat vacant
The KEB does not have any funding at the present time. So, it does not have any staff. The UOI provides staffing support to the KEB. Currently, Sarah St. Louis is the KEB Coordinator.
2. What is the formal relationship between the KEB and First Nations’ elected leadership? Specifically, what is the decision-making process for all legislative, policy and funding matters connected with the AES?
The KEB reports to the First Nation leadership at each Grand Council Assembly. The KEB provides its annual work plan to the Chiefs in Assembly for approval. Then, the KEB reports on the work through email updates to the Chiefs and through formal reports at the two assemblies.
The KEB is developing draft policies and procedures to govern the administration and operations of the KEB and RECs for First Nation review and approval. After the education ratification vote November 28th to December 2nd, we will all know which First Nations have ratified the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement and therefore, are part of the Anishinabek Education System. These First Nations will attend a gathering early in the 2017 to select a new Board of Directors and begin the decision-making process on the final structures and operations of the KEB. At this point, hiring will begin and the KEB will have funding support directly from Canada and the Ontario.
During the final decision-making on the administration and operation of the KEB, the First Nations will decide the funding allocation formulas and put in place the financial management systems for the AES.
All these decisions can only be made by the First Nations that are part of the AES. A draft model was developed to support First Nation decision-making.
The KEB is not a law-maker. The First Nations will make their own education laws. There is support to First Nations to do this work. A draft education act is being finalized to assist First Nations in their law-making process. The First Nations will use the law-making process set out in their own constitutions to pass the education laws.
3. What are the operational implications of the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement for First Nations with schools on reserve and for those First Nations whose total elementary and secondary student population attend schools off reserve?
The funding arrangements for all First Nations under the self-government agreement change, if the First Nation ratifies the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement. Rather than sign funding agreements directly with INAC, each First Nation will sign the Education Fiscal Transfer Agreement. The First Nation funding will come from Canada to the KEB and then to the First Nation.
The First Nation will have full control over education at the First Nation level. This means that the First Nation will run education programs and services to meet locally identified educational priorities and goals. First Nations will receive their education funding as a grant so they have to budget and expend their education funding to meet their educational priorities and goals and contractual obligations (school board tuition, on-reserve school operations, among other things)
The new system structures will support First Nations to achieve their educational priorities. The First Nation will participate in Regional Education Council meetings and Kinoomaadziwin Education Body annual education assemblies.
At the First Nation level, education administration and operations will be determined by the First Nation. There can be changes or the First Nation can
leave things operating as they are. There is additional or new funding for education administration at the community level under the Education Fiscal Transfer Agreement.
4. Is there a proposed implementation plan for activities following the anticipated ratification of the agreement? (Note: Regarding the following responses, “We” refers to the Anishinabek Nation/UOI)
We have negotiated the Education Implementation Plan with Canada to cover the implementation of the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement. This plan comes into effect on the Effective Date of the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement.
We have also negotiated a separate implementation plan that we call the Multi- Year Action Plan that covers the implementation of the Master Education Agreement. This plan is between the Anishinabek First Nations and Ontario. This plan comes into effect on the Effective Date.
The AES must be operational on the Effective Date. There is no time to conduct the implementation activities after the Effective Date. To cover the activities to be prepared for the Effective Date, the Anishinabek First Nations, Ontario and Canada have developed a Tripartite Work Plan. This plan supports the First Nations to prepare for Effective Date. Activities under this plan are already being undertaken.
5. Response from the UOI on question regarding the impacts for Tribal Councils:
Tribal Councils will continue to receive funding from Canada under existing funding programs. The Tribal Councils that receive education related funding, like FNSSP, will not receive that funding directly from Canada for its member First Nations that are part of the AES. The First Nation will receive the funding at the negotiated level and may redirect the funding to the Tribal Council.
A Tribal Council may be identified as a Regional Education Council under the AES. This would mean additional funding. At this time the allocation is for 2 full-time staff and a working budget.