IIC Acknowledges Ontario’s Recognition of Indigenous Institutes and Investment in Indigenous Post-Secondary Education in the 2022 Provincial Budget

April 28, 2022

The Indigenous Institutes Consortium, which represents seven First Nations-led post-secondary institutions in Ontario, is proud to continue to build on its partnership with the Provincial Government to deliver high quality Indigenous post-secondary education across Ontario.

Ontario’s Indigenous Institutes play an essential role in the preservation and knowledge-sharing of Indigenous languages, traditions and culture, while meeting the needs of lifelong learners in Indigenous communities across the province.

The IIC and its Members are ready to implement the 2022 Ontario Budget which invests $9 million dollars over three years to the Indigenous Institutes operating grant to expand post-secondary program offerings including new, independently-delivered programs to train more Indigenous learners; and equitable access to capital grants for facility and infrastructure renewal.

This crucial funding comes at a time when the Indigenous Institutes are operationally ready and able to help lead the recovery of Ontario’s economy and social infrastructure in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to providing culturally rich teaching built on the foundation of Indigenous languages, culture, and ways of knowing, IIC Member institutes offer specialized accredited programs in nursing, personal support worker, skilled trades and so much more.

“The announcement today is a step on our journey towards a relationship that lives up to the 2017 Indigenous Institutes Act and the ideals of the Treaties and breathes life into the promise of reconciliation in education,” said Rebecca Jamieson, President and CEO of Six Nations Polytechnic and Board Chair of the IIC. “Our people cannot wait any longer. We have mature governance structures and oversight. Our members need core, predictable funding to deliver programs for our learners, respond to labour market needs in our communities and help Indigenous students succeed and reach their full potential.”

“Our Member Indigenous Institute programs are unlocking access to First Nations languages and culture that was stolen from us through the Residential Schools system. The power of Indigenous post-secondary education is the impact that comes in part from taking that power back through Indigenous control of Indigenous education for the greater good in our communities and in Ontario,” said Wendelyn Johnson, Executive Director of the IIC. “As Justice Murray Sinclair famously said, ‘Education got us into this mess… and education will get us out’.”

“Indigenous post-secondary institutions that make up the IIC’s membership are ready to build on our record of success in delivering culturally relevant, Indigenous-led post-secondary education. We know that both the need and capacity for growth are there, and we are pleased to see Ontario coming to the table with the resources support that capacity to meet our communities’ vast potential,” Norma Sunday, Director of Iohahi:io Akwesasne Education and Training Institute and Vice-Chair of the Board of the IIC.

“Oshki-Wenjack applauds the provincial government for the full recognition of Indigenous Institutes in Ontario with the financial commitments announced today. Indigenous learners deserve quality, stable and culturally relevant post-secondary education that is responsive to their unique needs. Equitable resources on par with other colleges and universities is achievable,” said Lorrie Deschamps, President of Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: The Wenjack Education Institute

If this budget is not passed by the current Ontario legislature, IIC calls on all parties to make well-funded Indigenous-controlled post-secondary education a central part of their plans for Ontario.

Indigenous post-secondary institutions are mandated by their nations and are recognized through the Indigenous Institutes Act as the third pillar of the PSE education system in Ontario (along with colleges and universities). The Indigenous Institutes Consortium (IIC) represents seven post-secondary institutions in Ontario.

Since 2017, Indigenous post-secondary institutions in Ontario have received core operating funds from the provincial government delivered in a manner that respects Indigenous control over education.

For interview opportunities regarding this announcement’s implications for Indigenous education, please contact IIC Executive Director, Wendelyn Johnson at wjohnson@ingagedc8.sg-host.com

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