Indigenous Education
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Indigenous Education

Colleges and Institutes
Reconciliation Through Education

Colleges and institutes across Canada are the primary access point to post-secondary education for First Nations, Inuit and Métis learners, and are deeply engaged in advancing reconciliation and empowering communities. They work in close partnership with local Indigenous communities to remove barriers to education for learners and promote a culture of respect and inclusion.

95% of all Canadians and 86% of Indigenous people live within 50 km of a college or institute location.

Their unique presence in northern and remote communities, reaching well beyond large urban centres, allows colleges and institutes to forge strong partnerships with Indigenous communities all across Canada.

Post-secondary attainment

Indigenous people vs national average

College Diploma

Bar chart showing College diploma attainment with Indigenous people vs national average

Bachelor’s or higher

Bar chart showing Bachelor’s Degree or higher attainment with Indigenous people vs national average


Bar chart showing Apprenticeship attainment with Indigenous people vs national average

Source: Statistics Canada, Census of population, 2016

Programs that make a difference

Colleges and institutes across the country offer over 300 credential programs (certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and postgraduate certificates) tailored to the needs of Indigenous learners and communities. This includes training options in a range of fields that align with many of the Truth and ReconciliationCommission’s calls to action, including:




Language & Culture

Child Welfare

Supporting reconciliation

Launched in 2014, CICan’s Indigenous Education Protocol consists of seven principles to support reconciliation and aligns closely with the recommendations issued by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015.

Over 65 institutions have signed the Protocol and commit to:

  1. Make Indigenous education a priority
  2. Ensure governance structures recognize and respect Indigenous peoples.
  3. Include intellectual and cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples in curriculum and learning approaches.
  4. Increase understanding and reciprocity among Indigenous and nonIndigenous peoples.
  5. Increase their number of Indigenous employees, including Indigenous senior administrators.
  6. Establish Indigenous-centred holistic services and learning environments.
  7. Build relationships and be accountable to Indigenous communities in support of self-determination.

Tailoring support services to foster success

Colleges and institutes support reconciliation and foster indigenous student success through specialized, culturally appropriate centres and services, including:

  • Academic advising and peer support networks
  • On-campus Indigenous Elders
  • Cultural and spiritual activities
  • Gathering places for Indigenous students
  • Dedicated funding and resources such as daycare, housing, food and family services that offset the costs associated with post-secondary education

Did you know?

Several colleges and institutes, like Cambrian College, Red River College and Yukon College are able to bring specialized training to remote communities thanks to fully equipped mobile classrooms.
Colleges and institutes are also the main providers of adult education and upskilling programs that are key to breaking down barriers to postsecondary education. This is especially important for Indigenous people since the percentage of Indigenous men and women aged 25-64 without a high school diploma stands at 26%, more than twice that of non-Indigenous Canadians (11%).
Source: Statistics Canada, Census of population, 2016