TORONTO – “Today, Ontario’s historic announcement on the Indigenous Institute Act will empower more Indigenous learners to reach for their dreams and to learn in culturally and linguistically responsive First Nation environments,” said Rosie Mosquito, Chair of the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium and Executive and Director of Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute. “The proposed legislation will create an Indigenous pillar in the Ontario postsecondary education system, a result of a robust policy co-creation process between our nine institutes and the Government of Ontario. Together, we are embarking on a meaningful and sustainable path of reconciliation and to close the education achievement gap for our people.”
The proposed legislation is the first of its kind in Canada. It acknowledges the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which recognizes the right of Indigenous peoples to establish and control their own education systems and institutions, providing education in their languages, in a manner appropriate to Indigenous cultural methods of teaching and learning.
The Aboriginal Institutes Consortium celebrates the Government of Ontario’s decision to introduce ground-breaking legislation that will recognize our Indigenous Institutes as a unique Indigenous pillar of Ontario’s publicly-supported postsecondary education and training system. Indigenous Institutes offer distinct pathways for Indigenous, and all learners to earn a diploma, certificate or degree that reflects Indigenous knowledge, cultures, and languages.
The announcement is the result of sustained advocacy on the priorities of the Consortium as outlined in their “A Roadmap Recognition for Aboriginal Institutes in Ontario Position Paper, October 2014“, and a unique, robust policy co-creation with the Province of Ontario. The Indigenous Institutes Act opens a new chapter in the shared history between First Nations and Ontario. Its implementation will create a new standard for Indigenous education in Canada and empower Indigenous learners to pursue their hopes, dreams, and desires to become meaningfully employed to improve their personal and community wellness.
“For over 30 years, Indigenous Institutes have been innovating in the development and delivery of flexible and personalized learning in uniquely Indigenous culturally responsive environments,” said Jean-Guy Fréchette, Executive Director of the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium. “Today, the Province of Ontario has recognized and demonstrated respect for our students, faculty, and communities. This move signals to employers, others in the advanced education and research ecosystem, and all Ontarians that Indigenous Institutes are partners in finding solutions to make Ontario a prosperous, fair and empowering place to live, work and discover.”
About the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium
The Aboriginal Institutes Consortium (aboriginalinstitute.com) is the industry association for the nine First-Nation owned, operated, and publicly supported institutes of advanced education and training in Ontario. Our members offer culturally responsive and relevant learning environments grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and living. These unique learning environments significantly support First Nation student access to and success in postsecondary education and training. They also contribute to the continuance and revitalization of Indigenous practices and customs essential for individual and community wellness and hope.
Our sector provides innovative life-long education pathways for First Nation and all learners from pre-entry programs through to transitions to the labour market or further academic pursuits. Our sector currently enjoys a graduation rate between 80 and 85 percent, far surpassing outcomes for First Nation learners participating in other forms of postsecondary education and training.