Jurisdiction over education is the formal recognition by the federal and provincial governments of First Nations’ inherent rights to make laws related to the education of their children. This includes law-making authority over curriculum development, graduation requirements, teacher certification, and school certification.
Updates and Key Resources
- Provincial legislation has been introduced supporting the implementation of a joint Teacher Certification and Regulation Process, a critical component of the Education Jurisdiction Initiative. See the media release and backgrounder.
- See the Community Template Presentation for Jurisdiction (Sep 2022). This template is intended for communities to use and adapt.
First Nations across Canada have been seeking recognition of their inherent right to have control over their education 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. Currently, negotiations are expected to conclude in the summer of 2020.
All of the Participating First Nations, with support from the First Nations Education Steering Committee, 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.
First Nations in BC are confident that the jurisdiction agreements will serve as an important platform for achieving increased success for First Nations learners. Jurisdiction will give Participating First Nations the control to direct their own education systems to best meet the needs of their communities and equipping their learners with the skills they need for life and continuing education.
What is the difference between a Participating, Negotiating, and Interested First Nation?
A Participating First Nation is one that has signed the agreements, had a ratification vote, and has had their names listed on the federal schedule through a federal Order in Council. Negotiating First Nations are those who are negotiating agreements. Interested First Nations are those who are interested in following the jurisdiction initiative and participate in Interested First Nation Jurisdiction Meetings.
How do I become an Interested First Nation?
In order to become an Interested First Nation you must pass a Band Council Resolution (BCR) using this BCR template.
How do I become a Negotiating First Nation?
In order to become a Negotiating First Nation you must first become an Interested First Nation and meet this criteria. Then you must pass a Band Council Resolution (BCR). Here is a BCR template to become a Negotiating First Nation. See the Get Involved page for more information.
How will jurisdiction affect my First Nations funding?
Each First Nation will negotiate its own Funding Agreement with Canada that will determine the funding specifics. The funding formula in BCTEA sets the floor for funding arrangements under jurisdiction for school operations. Funding will be provided for governance.
Will students in schools with jurisdiction get a Dogwood Diploma?
First Nation schools in Jurisdiction will have the option of ensuring their students meet the requirements for the Dogwood Diploma.
How does jurisdiction work for treaty First Nations?
First Nations with treaties who want to enter into jurisdiction, or use the FNEA’s services, is determined on a case by case basis. First Nations would have to ensure that if there are stipulations for education in their treaties, that they do not impede their ability to enter into Education Jurisdiction Agreements with Canada.
How does jurisdiction work for First Nations in a tribal council?
Being a member of a tribal council does not prohibit a First Nation from entering into jurisdiction. Other issues related to tribal council membership and participation in jurisdiction would be determined on a case by case basis.
Can a First Nation opt out of jurisdiction after they have become a Participating First Nation?
Once a First Nation becomes a Participating First Nation under the federal legislation, there is no mechanism for it to have its name removed from the Federal Schedule.
Does Jurisdiction Agreements expire or have to be renewed?
No, there is no termination date for Education Jurisdiction Agreements.
Besides being accountable to its community, Participating First Nations will collectively create the First Nations Education Authority (FNEA). The FNEA will be composed of two elected representative from each respective Participating First Nation. The FNEA is a regulatory body that is composed of, operated by, and directed by the Participating First Nations in jurisdiction.