ONTARIO NATIVE EDUCATION COUNSELLING ASSOCIATION

P.O. Box 220, 37A Reserve Road, Naughton, Ontario, P0M 2M0 Phone: (705) 692-2999 Fax: (705) 692-9988 Email: oneca@oneca.com Website: www.oneca.com
July 9, 2013 Ms. Joanne Wilkinson Regional Director General Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H4 Dear Ms. Wilkinson: On July 15, 2013 the new Education Information System for post- secondary reporting will be implemented by AANDC. AANDC has informed First Nations that failure to meet the deadline can result in financial hold back for post-secondary funding. Members of ONECA have stated that they do not feel they have been adequately consulted nor prepared to implement the new guidelines and that the system they are expected to report under is flawed and that the information being requested is unreasonable. The system is not sufficiently developed to make this a seamless reporting for First Nations. The Education Information System (EIS) has been promoted since early 2010 and several versions of the system have been introduced and modified. AANDC with the Chiefs of Ontario undertook a two day planning session in Thunder Bay in March 2010 and in Toronto in November 2010. The regional sessions were held for the purpose of obtaining feedback on the development of the First Nation Education Information System. The reporting system that AANDC has produced contains significant deficiencies and was not in any state that First Nations could provide adequate and detailed response to the reporting system. The Post -Secondary report is part of an overall education information system that will include elementary secondary and special education which will be compiled into a single national system that is web based. The new EIS system is estimated to cost 27 million over 5 years based on 2010 predictions. It was expected that First Nations would develop their own student information data systems through the new First Nations School Success Program Funding. There were two specific early consultation processes with a system that was still undergoing development and First Nations presented their feedback, documented concerns and were to develop a strategy to discuss an internal preparatory dialogue for Ontario First Nation communities. First Nations have not been adequately consulted to determine that the information requested is within the preview of the First Nation to meet all the information requested. Instead AANDC has directed its staff to advise First Nations to supply the report by July 15, 2013 or risk having funding disrupted. We fully agree that it is critical to have accurate reports that reflect and give a true picture of what is being expended within the postsecondary program, however we cannot ascertain the relevance of some of the information that is required, nor are we confident that the information is necessary if the main goal is to collect data on expenditures. One of the main concerns expressed by First Nations is, that the information being requested may infringe on the privacy act and that students’ information is not being protected or shared between government departments without obtaining privacy authorization on the use of this information. Although this concern has been expressed since the onset it has yet to be addressed. We have prepared a comprehensive list of concerns and recommendations that have been put forward by First Nations in Ontario regarding the new guidelines and hope that AANDC will address these concerns and provide a reasonable extension to respond and provide adequate training on a reliable information system that has been debugged of deficiencies. AANDC must realize that many First Nations are under resourced by and will require additional resources to meet the current EIS reporting system. It is reasonable and necessary to make adjustments to the system before of these guidelines thus to protect student information and extensions should be provided to all first nations without penalty while AANDC does a comprehensive review of the systems functionality and responds to the feedback from the information sessions. We look forward to your immediate response. Respectfully, Roger Chum President.

Attachment: Concerns and Recommendations Regarding the AANDC Post-Secondary Reporting Guidelines July 2013

CONCERNS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE AANDC POST SECONDARY REPORTING GUIDELINES Re: AANDC Post Secondary Reporting Guidelines and Deadlines It has been brought to our attention by many of our members that the new reporting guidelines for the post secondary student support program are flawed and the deadline to submit 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 is a monumental task if it is to be completed by the deadline of July 15, 2013. The feedback we have received so far on the guidelines are as follows: 1. If INAC only wants to know how much is being spent per student then there is easier ways of presenting this information.  It is  unnecessary to report by semester because it usually doesn’t fluctuate enough to justify the additional time and energy spent on  reporting.  On average First Nations are spending twice as much time completing the reports by completing them on a semester  by semester basis.  2. The deadlines are unacceptable.  The program was to be implemented in March 2012 in order to give enough time to complete  the reporting.  The new reporting instructions booklet also reflects that the start would be March 2012 (page 4) however there  has been a 16month lapse from March 2012 to July 2013 and reports are to be completed in four weeks.  Instructions were not  presented to First Nations until May 2013 and were not available on the website until such time.  Some First Nations have  upwards of 400 students and have limited staff to transfer the data for all students within the timeframe.    3. The application deadlines occur at a bad time.  The AMBE Post Secondary Program has an application deadline and all sponsor  letters are due to the college.  4. The fall intake for Post Secondary occurs at the same time the reporting is due.  5. First Nations are indicating that the system is significantly flawed and they are having a high degree of difficulty figuring out the  system.  We have communities reporting that they have spent 20 hours trouble shooting the EIS forms because of issues.    6. Reports from communities indicate that because of the volume of information being requested, once they have completed the  task, they were then required to split the pdf’s into several forms and send in the report because the EIS system cannot handle  the volume.  7. Some First Nations who HAVE staff totally dedicated to this reporting have indicated that it has taken months to prepare this  report, but all First Nations are not all as fortunate to have a Records Manager who’s main job is data base management.  Often  the reporting role falls on the desk of the Education Director, Counsellors or if you are lucky there may be an education assistant  within the office to help with reporting.  8. The reporting guidelines allows and asks for information beyond the fiscal year, therefore the information being reported is not a  true picture of what is being spent within the fiscal year.  9. There are grave concerns regarding the freedom of information and privacy act, in relation to the information that is being  requested in the reporting guidelines.  10. The reporting document does not take into account own source revenue that is being contributed by the First Nation, therefore  does not truly reflect the amount of funding that is being targeted towards post secondary.  How should these students who are  being supported through own source revenue be reported?  Should they be reported as deferred students, not funded, or funded  from other source?  11. During the second training session facilitated by Shelly Fife she indicated to the group that the reports were only to reflect from  September 2012‐ April 2013, which will not give an accurate picture of what was actually spent because it does not take into  account those students who were funded from April 2012 to September 2012.     Some of the recommendations that have been put forward to rectify the problems include the following:    1. Prior to reporting the First Nations must be assured that the information being provided to AANDC does not impede on students  rights and the privacy act.  2. The information gathered will not be used or shared with other government agencies or other organizations.  3. That the system be reviewed and that the recommendations set forward by the participants of the on‐line meetings be  implemented and concerns be addressed prior to implementation of the system.  4. That the deadline be extended until October to allow First Nations the opportunity to prepare the required reports.      

July 2013-Ltr to Joanne Wilkinson. RDG-AANDC

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