First Nations Students in British Columbia to Benefit from Investments in Education

VICTORIA, BC, —The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Rob Fleming, British Columbia Minister of Education and Mr. Tyrone McNeil, President of the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), announced their commitment to ensuring First Nations students throughout the province have the support needed to get to school and participate in their school community.

Under the British Columbia Tripartite Education Agreement (BCTEA), Canada, British Columbia and FNESC agreed to find solutions to address the transportation needs of on-reserve First Nations students who face specific challenges when attending public schools in the province. Today's announcement demonstrates a collaborative tripartite approach that will benefit students that have long distances to travel on variable road conditions, and offers new flexible options, so they can participate in extracurricular sports or activities.

The Government of Canada has committed to provide up to $3.8 million for 2019-2020 for the First Nation Student Transportation Fund. The Government of British Columbia has committed up to $1.77 million in one-time costs for new buses. FNESC has allocated $700,000 of its existing federal funding to support block funded First Nations with transportation. The investments benefit approximately 7,820 First Nations students living on reserve who attend BC public schools.

Quotes
"This investment will give First Nations students equal access and opportunity to participate in the school community including after-school and extracurricular activities. We will continue to work together to ensure First Nations children and youth have access to a high-quality and culturally-appropriate education that meets their needs, while respecting the principle of First Nations control over First Nations education."
The Honourable Marc Miller Minister of Indigenous Services

"True equity for First Nations students means ensuring students have safe transportation to and from school and the same opportunities to benefit from after-school and extra-curricular activities as their peers. Education is key to a true and lasting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and it's at the heart of everything we are doing together with Indigenous partners in B.C. schools today."
Rob Fleming B.C. Minister of Education

"We are please that all parties are now developing and implementing effective measures to address existing and future issues arising from the transportation of First Nations students on-reserve to public schools."
Tyrone McNeil President of the First Nations Education Steering Committee

Quick facts
In British Columbia, over half of First Nations children attend public schools at some point in their education.

Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, a First Nation Student Transportation Fund through BCTEA will support the transportation of First Nations students to public schools. This funding will flow from Canada to British Columbia, and British Columbia will then allocate the fund to school districts through a special grant.

Canada will fund up to $3.8 million which includes:

$1 million for transportation for extracurricular activities;
up to $300,000 for special supports; and
up to $2.5 million to reduce travel times and extend services to and from school.