Indigenous Education

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Indigenous Education

Fast Facts

  • Indigenous youth are the fastest-growing demographic in Canada.
  • Indigenous peoples’ post-secondary attainment rates at the college/institute level are at par with non-Indigenous peoples (21%) and higher in trades credentials at 14% and 12% respectively. (National Household Survey 2011)
  • Over 55 colleges and institutes have signed CICan’s Indigenous Education Protocol.
  • 80 colleges and institutes across the country offer Indigenous-specific education programs.
  • 90 colleges and institutes offer adapted support services for Indigenous students.

Canada’s colleges and institutes are committed to improving Indigenous education outcomes across the country. With campuses reaching over 3000 communities, including First Nations reserves, remote villages, northern communities, as well as urban centres, they are able to meet the educational needs of Canada’s First Peoples wherever they are located.


Colleges and institutes are the main providers of post-secondary education, as well as adult basic education, for Indigenous peoples. They work closely with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and offer Indigenous-specific education and training programs as well as tailored student support services to see them through to graduation and even transition into employment.

In its final report, the Truth and reconciliation commission recognized education as one of the best ways to foster greater understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Colleges and institutes also recognize that they have an important role to play in supporting Indigenous community development by increasing post-secondary access and fostering greater understanding and reciprocity between communities. A growing number of institutions have taken steps to embed First Nations, Métis and Inuit traditional knowledge in their curriculum, some have even created mandatory courses to foster understanding.

CICan is a proud supporter of these efforts, leading the development of an Indigenous Education Protocol that has been signed by many institutions across Canada. Within the context of reconciliation, the Indigenous Education Protocol serves as a framework to guide colleges and institutes that are striving to strengthen their Indigenous education programs, support services and governance structures.