Accreditation has been a top priority since inception for IIC Member Indigenous Institutes (IIs) in Ontario with learners at the heart of what they do. They celebrate their autonomy with their varied programs. Accreditation at each institute is different because each II is unique and the process is ongoing. This page offers an up-to-date view of the growth of IIC members when it comes to accreditation and what it means for the third pillar of Indigenous education.

Why are Indigenous Institutes pursuing accreditation?

Through the historic 2017 legislation, Indigenous Institutes Act, our Member IIs are recognized as vibrant post-secondary institutions and an ideal choice for learners. Accreditation is included in the Act and speaks to the need to maintain standards in post-secondary through quality assurance. In short, an independent, unaffiliated and objective body [Council] ensures such standards are met and provides an accredited status to the educational institute. It’s important to note that Member IIs currently provide fully accredited programming through their partnership and articulation agreements with other PSE institutions.

Accreditation is important for both learners and educators because it demonstrates that learners have been sufficiently educated in a specific area. It helps to determine if an institution meets or exceeds minimum standards and helps learners determine acceptable institutions for enrollment. Accreditation plays an important role in the success of learners because it ensures that they have attained the skills and knowledge to pursue careers, studies or additional training without having to be tested further.

The Accreditation Process

When it comes to accreditation, IIs have choices in where and how they achieve status. There are processes provided through the Indigenous Advanced Education & Skills Council (IAESC), the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC), Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB), and/or a combination of the three. Our Member institutes are uniquely positioned to be eligible for accreditation status through these organizations and their identified processes.

Through the accreditation process, the IIC members are committed to working together so that each II is supported throughout the accreditation process. Together the IIC membership has developed resources to help each other. To increase Growth, Capacity, and Recognition the IIC and its members advocate with the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities as well as other governing bodies to ensure that the process is transparent, the credentials are recognized, and that the programs are designed to meet the needs of Indigenous learners.

The members have also been collaborating on the development of resources to guide fellow Indigenous Institutes through accreditation. Check out the Organizational Development: Planning for Transition & Growth – A Workbook for Indigenous Institutes to learn more.

Accreditation Overview

Since the Indigenous Institutes Act of 2017, the IIC’s members have been working through the accreditation process.

Anishinabek Educational Institute is supportive of the ongoing collaboration and resource sharing at IIC between members in their respective progress towards accreditation. Project plans are in development for completion of the Organizational Review with IAESC.

Its programs are currently accredited through partnership agreements with post-secondary institutions including Nipissing University and Confederation College. 

Iohahi:io is working through the process of accrediting its programs through the IAESC with the support of the IIC. Its programs are currently accredited through partnership agreements with post-secondary institutions including Algonquin College, Potsdam State University of New York and St. Lawrence College.

Kenjgewin Teg, Kenjgewin Teg, in alignment with the IAESC, is working toward the completion of its organization review.  An organization review consists of three categories and demonstration of 25 standards in the following areas:

  1. Organizational Authority and Structure
  2. Educational Programming
  3. General Operations

Kenjgewin Teg is currently at 90% stage of completion in its organization review.

The next steps in Kenjgewin Teg’s accreditation work, after an organization review by IAESC, will include the development and delivery of diplomas, certificates, degrees, and micro-credentials supporting learner integration and knowledge using an Anishinabek worldview lens and inclusion of Anishinabemowin (language).

Kenjgewin will continue its valued relationships with current and new partners in Ontario’s higher education system to enhance learner opportunities, mobility, and transfer and will contribute to Ontario’s growing number of Indigenous post-secondary graduates in the workforce.

The Ogwehoweh Skills and Trades Training Centre (OSTTC) is currently working through the process of accrediting its programs through the IAESC with the support of the IIC. Its programs are currently accredited through partnership agreements with post-secondary institutions, such as Mohawk College and Fanshawe College. OSTTC is also an approved testing centre for trades training.

Oshki-Pimache-O-Win the Wenjack Education Institute (Oshki-Wenjack) is currently working towards accreditation through the IAESC with the support of members at the IIC. Its programs are currently accredited through partnership agreements with post-secondary institutions such as Canadore College, Sault College, Confederation College, Lakehead University, Brock University and Nipissing University.

Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (Shingwauk University) has been accredited through WINHEC for its Anishinaabe Studies and Anishinaabemowin programs. SKG is in the process of completing the Organizational Review as required by the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council (IAESC). The compilation of information and analysis for the organizational review submission is well underway.

Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) received WINHEC accreditation in 2017 for a period of 10 years. In 2020, SNP attained organizational approval (accreditation) through IAESC for a period of 10 years. Depending on the program, SNP programs are accredited through the Post Secondary Quality Assurance Board and have received Ministerial Consent to offer degrees or through partnership agreements with publicly funded colleges. SNP holds TDA status and is an approved testing centre for trades training. SNP has led the development of resources based on its accreditation experience to support fellow members of the IIC.

Accreditation Matters for Indigenous Education

Delivering education that is designed to serve and support Indigenous learners is a key priority for the IIC. Accreditation assures learners that the unique, culturally-relevant education they receive at an II meets high-quality educational standards and that their achievements (diplomas, degrees, and certifications, etc.) will be recognized by employers in their field when they graduate.

About the Accrediting Bodies

The IAESC is an Indigenous-controlled and governed Council, recognized under the Indigenous Institutes Act, 2017 and is responsible for establishing quality assurance standards and benchmarks for programs delivered under the Indigenous Institutes pillar. WINHEC supports IAESC with the accreditation process and by providing access to its expertise.

IAESC is a not-for-profit corporation, pursuant to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, 2009. Learn more about IAESC’s process.

WINHEC was launched in August 2002 upon the signing of the Declaration on Indigenous People’s Higher Education by the members of the Executive Board at Delta Lodge, Kananaskis Calgary in Alberta, Canada during the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) 4-10. WINHEC focuses on removing barriers that challenge Indigenous communities and provides an international forum and support for Indigenous Peoples to pursue common goals, like protecting Indigenous beliefs, culture and languages through education, and promoting the maintenance and advancement of traditional Indigenous bodies of knowledge. Read all of WINHEC’s goals.

Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB) is an Ontario-based agency that makes recommendations to the Minister of Colleges and Universities of Ontario on applications for ministerial consent under the terms of the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000.

Ministerial consent is required by all public or private degree-granting organizations (profit or non-profit) based outside the province to offer all or part of a degree program in Ontario. It is also required by all private profit or non-profit organizations in Ontario, and by all Ontario public organizations not empowered to grant degrees by Ontario statute to offer all or part of degree programs. Consent is also required to use the word “university” relating to an educational institution in Ontario.

Read more on PEQAB: