Last year AANDC unilaterally replaced the Indian Studies Support Program (ISSP) with the Post-Secondary Partnerships Program (PSPP) This is in addition to changes that it had already made to ISSP in 2013/14. These changes include the following:
- Whereas funding was previously limited to Aboriginal-controlled institutes and First Nations, public institutions are now eligible.
- First Nations are no longer eligible recipients.
- Decisions for BC are now made by a national AANDC adjudication committee, rather than a committee appointed by BC First Nations.
- BC’s historical $2.2M allocation is no longer guaranteed.
- The program now focuses on high labour market demand program areas.
In late September, AANDC announced funding decisions for 2014-15 that confirmed many of our concerns surrounding the program changes. BC’s allocation was reduced from $2.2M to $1.4M (a reduction of nearly 40%) and all 8 of the successful proposals were from public post-secondary institutions (NVIT is both a public and IAHLA member institute and received $131,082). Moreover, only one language program was funded in BC (last year approximately one-third of funded programs were related to language).
As these changes will have serious impacts on Aboriginal-controlled institutes and First Nations, IAHLA and FNESC are developing a joint strategy to advocate for the following:
- A return to a regional adjudication model.
- An equitable allocation for BC Region, or at a minimum, a return to the historical funding level of $2.2M.
- Once again limiting eligibility to First Nations and Aboriginal-controlled institutes.
Letter-Writing Campaign for Institutes and Students
A letter-writing campaign is one component of that strategy and below are two template letters to AANDC that can be used by IAHLA institutes and current or former students, to voice support for our position on this issue. Letters can either be sent directly to AANDC, or if you prefer, to our office, where staff will handle the distribution for you.
If you have any questions, please contact Thane Bonar, Director, Post-Secondary FNESC 1-877-422-3672 firstname.lastname@example.org