A Systems Guide to Research Council Funding in Canada: Report Summary

“As Indigenous researchers with strong connections to their communities, II faculty understand the needs and priorities of Indigenous peoples, and can develop research projects to deliver direct benefits to their communities. As the connection point between the Traditional Knowledge Keepers and prospective knowledge users, IIs are perfectly placed to engage in research and knowledge mobilization while respecting and protecting the roots and cultural importance of that very knowledge.”

IIC Partnership Guidelines: Setting the Foundations for Strong Partnerships

The Partnership Guidelines identify how potential partners can work with Indigenous Institutes. The guidelines focus on honesty, integrity, and mutual benefits, all of which are key to a successful partnership. We know and understand that partnerships have the ability to build and enhance resources and capacity for learners and further lead to the advancement of Indigenous self-determination.

Our Guidelines identify:

  • the core principles and characteristics that guide good partnerships;
  • policy recommendations;
  • templates to help develop beneficial partnerships; and
  • a discussion guide to facilitate partnership negotiations.

Our Partnership Principles

We heard strong consensus from Indigenous Institutes on the principles and characteristics that guide good partnerships. Those principals and characteristics can be broadly summarized as:

Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples over post-secondary education
Equality with our partners on needs and interests
Mutual benefit for all parties
Transparency in how we work together
Capital allocations that respect and maximize the use of our resources
Respect for the uniqueness of Indigenous cultures and the needs of Indigenous learners
Proactive management to foster a healthy relationship and manage issues together

Primary Partnership Drivers for Indigenous Institutes

Existing partnerships with Indigenous Institutes are largely driven by four elements: accreditation, funding, self-determination, and graduate success. Partnerships are intended to result in benefits for Indigenous Institutes and their partners. The chart below provides a snapshot of the types of benefits that partners can generally expect when working with us.

Driver for PartnershipPrimary Relationship PartnersPartnership Benefits
AccreditationColleges and UniversitiesIIs are able to offer accredited courses, certificates and degrees to Indigenous learners.

Colleges and Universities receive financial benefits as a result of the partnership.

Colleges and Universities receive diversity, equity and inclusion benefits as a result of the partnership.
FundingPublic GovernmentsIIs are able to access funding for core services and other needs.

Governments can fulfill their obligation to ensure accessible high-quality education to Indigenous learners.
Indigenous Self-Determination over EducationIndigenous CommunitiesIIs can credibly and authentically represent themselves as Indigenous-led institutions and contribute to the self-determination of Indigenous peoples and nations.

Indigenous communities have a trusted partner that can educate youth and train workers, and that has professional means to advance self-determination over education as envisioned by those communities.
Learner &
Graduate Success
Private Sector, Public
Sector, and Indigenous community employers
IIs can tailor programs to be relevant to learners and the job market, and increase the likelihood of success for
its learners and graduates.

Private, public, and Indigenous community employers can fill labour needs with trained Indigenous talent.

In our Partnership Guidelines, we further explore the dynamics of partnerships, characteristics of negative partnerships, as well as identify six policy recommendations that our Members recognize as must-haves in developing more sustained, meaningful and impactful relationships with external partners.

IIC Strategic Plan 2020 – 2023

After some 25 years of ongoing advocacy, the Indigenous Institutes received recognition through the 2017 Indigenous Institutes Act. This Act provides the legal structure for Indigenous Institutes to offer their own accredited post-secondary education. The IIC Secretariat works with its seven Member Institutes to advocate and collaborate on issues impacting post-secondary matters. The Indigenous education sector continues to build its viable and sustainable Third Pillar through its ongoing growth and capacity. The Member Institutes work collectively and collaboratively through the IIC.

Our new Strategic Plan identifies the IIC’s key goals, objectives, and outcomes over the next three years. The IIC’S shared vision, mission, and values are based on the Seven Grandfather teachings. The teachings keep us grounded in First Nations knowledge and align our work with the needs of our communities.

The Seven Grandfather Teachings provide a solid foundation for our core values:

We have identified four goals in our effort to enhance the capacity of Indigenous Institutes, including:

You will gain insight into the Indigenous post-secondary education sector and its focus, through our strategic plan. Our shared values make it clear what the path forward is for the next three years – making Indigenous Institutes the first choice for Indigenous learners.

IIC Programs & Services

The success story of Indigenous Institutes (IIs) shows through in this report, despite limited resources available to the IIs and students. The data is evidence that students are succeeding and are obtaining meaningful employment after graduation. This report also serves to identify gaps and proposes solutions to offer further growth and capacity development opportunities at Ontario’s post-secondary Indigenous Institutes.

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