July 24, 2008 08:39 ET

Jean Charest confirms the under-funding of First Nations education

WENDAKE, QC, July 24 - The First Nations Education Council (FNEC) is pleased to learn that Quebec Premier Jean Charest has publicly confirmed that the funding for First Nations education is insufficient. Premier Charest, who chaired the annual meeting of the Council of the Federation last week in Quebec City, has said that the funding of education in the Aboriginal communities should be among the priorities for discussion at a future meeting with the federal governement. He added that in Canada, twice as much spending goes towards the education of children in non-Aboriginal communities than to the education of children in the First Nations.

Mr. Charest is the second premier, after Ontario's Dalton McGuinty, to acknowledge the justness of the First Nations' claims for adequate funding of their education. In this regard, numerous reports and studies have gone unanswered by the federal government.

"If the provinces are confirming what we have been repeating for several years, perhaps the federal government will finally revise the funding for First Nations education," noted FNEC Director Lise Bastien. The funding gap has only widened over the years, and for numerous reasons. The First Nations' schools are funded according to an inadequate formula which dates back 20 years and has not been indexed since 1996. The formula also does not take account of new educational developments in different areas, including among others, technology, sports and recreation, and the funding of educational professionals, etc.

Mr. Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), says he hopes that the other Premiers, along with the Ministers of Education, will join with Premiers Charest and McGuinty in denouncing this chronic under-funding of First Nations education. He added that the federal government is aware of and denies its responsibility towards First Nations education.

The FNEC note's that the vast awareness campaign it has been running for more than a year to gain recognition of the under-funding of First Nations education finally appears to be getting the desired results!

The FNEC is an organization that has been representing 22 communities in Quebec for more than 20 years. Its primary mission is to promote the interests of First Nations communities in order to improve the educational services offered to all First Nations students.

For more information on the FNEC or on our educational awareness campaign, please visit our website at

Contact Information

  • Thanissa Lainé, Communication Agent, FNEC, (418) 842-7672