B.C. Government announces $6.15 million funding for Indigenous initiatives in public universities

The funding boost will allow public post-secondary institution across B.C. to support the success of Indigenous students

Indigenous students at public post-secondary institutions across B.C. will soon receive more supports to help ensure their success. 

The Ministery of Advanced Education, Skills and Training announced that a financial boost of $6.15 million will go to B.C. institutions for initiatives and programs that respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and for annual Aboriginal Service Plans that support the goals of the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan.

“We’re investing in the future of Indigenous students throughout British Columbia,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “We are committed to ensuring Indigenous learners have greater access to post-secondary education and training, and cultural supports to succeed in their educational goals. I’m proud to be part of a government that is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action by empowering Indigenous students with the tools they need to pursue their dream careers and make it to the finish line.”

The funding will be used by the institutions to develop or enhance respectful and welcoming learning environments, along with partnerships and programs that improve the post-secondary educational experiences and outcomes of Indigenous learners. 

This funding will help post-secondary institutions address accessibility concerns and systematic barriers that many Indigenous students face. 

“When Indigenous students have access to learning and cultural supports, a world of opportunity opens up that can make a significant impact on their future careers and lives,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Students are our future. By improving Indigenous students’ experiences and outcomes in post-secondary school, we are advancing reconciliation and helping to build a brighter future for everyone.”

Approximately 23,240 Indigenous students are in the public post-secondary system in B.C. and they make up 8.3 per cent of the domestic student population. Indigenous learners in B.C. were awarded 3,637 credentials in 2018-19, an increase of 38 per cent, or 1,003, over 2009-10.

The funding supports programs such as outreach activities and events that promote Indigenous cultures, Indigenous cultural training for faculty and staff, enhanced course to include Indigenous culture and knowledge, support services for students including financial, academic and career counselling, and partnerships in Indigenous communities. 

This announcement will allow for universities to continue to provide initiatives such as the Tsilhqot’in and St’at’imc science and language revitalization camps in partnership with TRU which enabled students to gain fluency in the Tsilhqot’in language and learn traditional science philosophies from Elders along with western science knowledge. 

The $6.15 million includes a one-time additional investment of $1.75 million by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training in programs and services for Indigenous students.