First Nations Education Jurisdiction in BC
Jurisdiction over education is the formal recognition by the federal and provincial governments of First Nations’ and parents’ rights to make laws related to the education of their children.
First Nations across Canada have been seeking recognition of their education jurisdiction for decades, viewing this as a critical component of their First Nations rights, as well as a meaningful part of their efforts to improve the quality of education provided to First Nations learners.
Significant accomplishments have been made by First Nations in BC in regard to the advancement of First Nations jurisdiction for education. First Nations, federal and provincial government representatives signed a full package of jurisdiction agreements on July 5, 2006. Subsequently, the federal and provincial governments passed enabling legislation for these agreements.
First Nations in BC are confident that the jurisdiction agreements will serve as an important platform for achieving increased success for First Nations learners.
All of the Participating First Nations, with support from the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), have been engaged in several capacity building activities, and a great deal of collective work has been done in BC to develop mechanisms, templates, resources, and capacity building initiatives that will support the success of the jurisdiction initiative.
Unfortunately, the implementation of the First Nations education jurisdiction initiative has been hindered by an inability to conclude the necessary financial agreements. Most recently, First Nations in BC have learned that the federal government has added the condition that its Own Source Revenue (OSR) policy must now apply to the jurisdiction agreements, which represents a significant challenge requiring continued negotiations.