Learning Partnership for Indigenous Students

Education holds the key to reconciliation. It is where our country will heal itself.

Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissionfrom a keynote address to St. Francis Xavier University, Nov. 8, 2016

Through a model of co-creation and collaboration, Vancouver Island University (VIU) and Yukon College have been instrumental in the design and development of a learning partnership whose total value is $50 million. This partnership amplifies existing in-kind and financial contributions from government, the private sector, Indigenous communities and the two higher educational institutions by bringing in new support from the Mastercard Foundation and Rideau Hall Foundation.

This learning partnership creates opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education by providing educational experiences and support that are relevant to them. Students at VIU and Yukon College began to receive the full support of this partnership in September 2017.

VIU and Yukon College have been integral in designing and developing initiatives supported by this partnership, and were selected based on their experience and knowledge in addressing access to post-secondary education for Indigenous learners. This new learning partnership aims to augment existing initiatives at these institutions as they work with communities to remove barriers to education for Indigenous youth.

Tailored Implementation

The learning partnership seeks to inspire future generations of Indigenous youth to pursue education and to support the transition of recent graduates to their chosen pathways of work within their communities and beyond.

The partnership takes a holistic approach and provides wrap-around support such as leadership and cultural programming. Each institution will also tailor its services to meet the needs of the communities it serves.

Learn more about Vancouver Island University’s programming.

Learn more about Yukon College’s programming.

Student Recruitment

Indigenous community partners will work collaboratively with VIU and Yukon College to identify and recruit students.

At VIU, $13.5 million in new funding will support 500 Indigenous students attending and completing their programs of study, while benefitting over 1,800 Indigenous students with on-campus and community services. Tuition assistance will match funding provided by partner Indigenous communities, while enhanced wrap-around supports will include dedicated Education Navigators who work on campuses and in communities helping Indigenous youth access pathways to postsecondary education. In addition, enhanced community partnerships will support and inspire youth from Qeq (toddler) through to high school, leading to improved retention and graduation rates.

At Yukon College, $4.6 million in new funding will enhance services for students and youths. Wrap-around supports include case managers and tutors who assist students in navigating academic and non-academic barriers to success; dedicated staff for youth managing the transition from care homes, treatment facilities or the justice system; and new online credit courses to better engage rural students in postsecondary education. In addition, the new Yukon Youth University will engage youth who are disconnected from K-12 education. These services will support current Yukon College students and will enable over 300 additional Indigenous students to achieve their education and life goals.

In the coming years, the RHF and Mastercard Foundation will continue to work collaboratively across Canada to mobilize and engage community organizations, school boards, the private sector and Canadians to gain lasting support and ensure program implementation. By working together as one community, we will demonstrate our commitment to the learning partnership.

The RHF and the Mastercard Foundation are presently committed to the success of the two inaugural partner institutions – Vancouver Island University and Yukon College – and their students. There is no plan at this time to extend support to other educational institutions.

For more information, please contact learningpartnerships [at] rhf-frh.ca.

MasterCard Foundation Logo
Rideau Hall Foundation
Vancouver Island University logo
Yukon College Logo