Vol. 145, No. 21 — October 12, 2011
SOR/2011-190 September 22, 2011
MI’KMAQ EDUCATION ACT
Order Adding the Paq’tnkek Band to the Schedule to the Mi’kmaq Education Act
P.C. 2011-939 September 22, 2011
Whereas the Governor in Council is satisfied that, on June 6, 2010, the council of the Paq’tnkek Band has, in a manner consistent with the Agreement, authorized the Agreement to be signed on behalf of the band and is satisfied that the Agreement was signed on behalf of that band on August 18, 2011;
Therefore, His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, pursuant to subsection 12(1) of the Mi’kmaq Education Act (see footnote a), hereby makes the annexed Order Adding the Paq’tnkek Band to the Schedule to the Mi’kmaq Education Act.
ORDER ADDING THE PAQ’TNKEK BAND
TO THE SCHEDULE TO THE MI’KMAQ
1. The schedule to the Mi’kmaq Education Act (see footnote 1) is amended by adding the following after item 5:
5.1 Paq’tnkek Band
COMING INTO FORCE
2. This Order is deemed to have come into force on April 1, 2011.
(This statement is not part of the Order.)
Issue and objectives
In 1998, the Mi’kmaq Education Act gave effect to Canada’s first sectoral self-government arrangement in education — An Agreement with Respect to Mi’kmaq Education in Nova Scotia (the Agreement). The Agreement currently serves more than 2 800 kindergarten to Grade 12 students, 84% of whom attend First Nation schools with the balance served by provincial schools through tuition agreements negotiated with the Nova Scotia Ministry of Education. The Agreement also allows for the management of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s post-secondary education program, which serves approximately 500 students annually. The Agreement has allowed participating First Nations to exercise jurisdiction over the education of their students and has helped generate a marked increase in graduation rates.
Nine of the thirteen Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia opted to participate in the Agreement when it began in 1997 and a tenth community joined in 2005. In 2010, the Paq’tnkek First Nation gave notice that it wished to become the eleventh participating community under the Agreement. The addition of Paq’tnkek First Nation to the Agreement will add approximately 125 kindergarten to Grade 12 students and 15 post-secondary students.
The Order Adding the Paq’tnkek Band to the Schedule to the Mi’kmaq Education Act adds the Paq’tnkek First Nation to the Mi’kmaq Education Act, enabling it to benefit from the same control over education and complementary programming as the other signatories to the Agreement.
The Agreement and Mi’kmaq Education Act provide three major benefits by
— closing the gap in educational attainment at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels;
— advancing the exercise of jurisdiction over education by Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia; and
— supporting Mi’kmaw language, culture and history programming in First Nation and provincial schools in Nova Scotia.
Description and rationale
An Agreement with Respect to Mi’kmaq Education in Nova Scotia (the Agreement) delegates jurisdiction over education to the participating Mi’kmaq communities; establishes the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey as the corporate body to manage education affairs (governed by a Board of Directors, consisting of the chiefs of the participating communities); and provides for the delivery of education programming and services to kindergarten to Grade 12 students and the administration of funding for post-secondary students. The Agreement is yielding impressive results, with an annual graduation rate of 70% over the last few years (up from approximately 50% when the Agreement came into force) and increased fluency among students in the Mi’kmaw language (see footnote 2)
Currently, the Paq’tnkek First Nation operates under the Indian Act, whereby the federal government has jurisdiction over education on-reserve (sections 114–122). Students from the Paq’tnkek First Nation attend kindergarten on-reserve and then attend nearby provincial schools for the rest of their education. Upon joining the Agreement, students will continue to be schooled at the same facilities and under the provincial curriculum, but will have access to additional programs and services offered by the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey.
The Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey performs many of the school board and ministry level functions of provincial education systems. The Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey assists First Nations in the exercise of jurisdiction over education; coordinates and facilitates the development of education policies and objectives for participating communities; assists communities with the administration and management of education, including the distribution of annual grant money among communities; carries out research, development, and implementation of initiatives in the education of Mi’kmaq citizens; collaborates with the Nova Scotia Ministry of Education through a Master Education Agreement, which aims to raise the educational attainment of Mi’kmaq learners in both First Nation and provincial schools; and acts as a resource centre for Mi’kmaw language and cultural education. The Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey’s students participate in the provincial assessment regime, where performance in core subject areas of math, science, and literacy are evaluated at regular intervals (grades 3, 6, 9, and 12). The Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey has the authority to set the curriculum and graduation requirements for students within its system; however, it has chosen to follow the Nova Scotia Ministry of Education curriculum and graduation requirements, so that students may transfer between the two systems without penalty. Furthermore, the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey works closely with Nova Scotia through a Joint Planning Committee, which oversees the implementation of the Master Education Agreement and ensures the sharing of student data and outcomes between the two systems.
As a participating community, the Paq’tnkek First Nation will be able to take advantage of the wide range of policy, research, and program initiatives and administrative services provided by the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, including Mi’kmaw language immersion programs, transportation administration, early childhood development initiatives, management of facilities and special education assistance. In addition, the Paq’tnkek First Nation will be able to take advantage of the favourable tuition rate negotiated between the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and the Province of Nova Scotia for on-reserve students who attend provincially run schools.
As with all Indian Act based schooling, the Paq’tnkek First Nation receives community education funding from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. This funding would continue at approximately the same level, but would be in the form of a grant rather than a contribution. Grant funding creates certainty around finances, as the amount of the grant is set at known levels for the duration of a funding agreement (five years) and it does not require yearly submissions to be considered for financial support. In addition to the current level of funding provided to the Paq’tnkek First Nation, its adhesion to the Agreement will result in a nominal cost of $44,751 annually for incremental governance funding to support the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey’s role in delivering second and third level (school board and ministry level) educational services to the community.
The Paq’tnkek Band Council signalling the community’s intent to join to the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey undertook a process of community consultation whereby Band members have been properly and adequately informed regarding the purpose and consequences of the Agreement with Canada with respect to education. Three community meetings were held in May 2010 and written overviews were distributed, which provided community members with information about joining the Agreement. All who attended the community meetings were in favour of the proposal. Furthermore, the Band Council provided a number of other opportunities for community members to discuss whether the Band Council should sign the Agreement, including options to phone, write or speak to a member of the Band Council. Based on these community consultations, the Band Council and Chief determined that community consensus exists for the Paq’tnkek First Nation to join the Agreement.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
The Mi’kmaq Education Act allows for the addition to the Schedule of Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia by the Governor General in Council when the following conditions are met:
— the First Nation Band Council notified Canada and the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey of its intent to change its status as a non-participating community and has passed the required Band Council Resolution authorizing the signing of the Agreement;
— the Agreement is signed by the Chief of the Band Council on behalf of the Band; and
— the Band Council notifies the Minister responsible for education for the Province of Nova Scotia of the Band’s desire to be included on the schedule referred to in subsection 8(1) of the Mi’kmaq Education Act, S.N.S. 1998, c.17.
The Paq’tnkek First Nation, by Band Council Resolution, dated June 6, 2010, authorized the Chief of the Paq’tnkek First Nation to sign the Agreement and notified the Province of Nova Scotia of the First Nation’s desire to be included on the Schedule of participating communities. The Chief of the Paq’tnkek First Nation and the Board of Directors of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey ratified the Amendment to add Paq’tnkek on May 30, 2011. The Amendment was signed by the Premier of Nova Scotia on June 30, 2011, and by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development on August 11, 2011. A new multi-year funding agreement targeted to take effect on October 1, 2011, includes the Paq’tnkek First Nation.
There are no compliance and enforcement requirements associated with this Order and no implementation for adding the Paq’tnkek First Nation to the Mi’kmaq Education Act.
Treaties and Aboriginal Government
Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
25 Eddy Street, 15th Floor, Room 1550
S.C. 1998, c. 24
S.C. 1998, c. 24
In a case study of the Mi’kmaw Immersion Program that took place between 2000 and 2004, the number of children classified as fluent Mi’kmaw speakers increased from 4% among the children entering the program to 87% at the conclusion of the program (An Assessment of the Impact of the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Self Government Agreement on the Improvement of Education for Participating Mi’kmaw Communities, June 1, 2004).