Labrador Innu groups file human rights complaint for inadequate education funding

ST. JOHN’S, N.L.- Labrador’s two Innu First Nations have filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging Ottawa’s funding for Innu education in their communities is inadequate and discriminatory.

Sheshatshiu Innu Nation in central Labrador and Mushuau Innu First Nation in the north coast town of Natuashish allege federal funding for their kindergarten to Grade 12 students is not equitable to Innu children.

The Innu groups say the federal government, which is responsible for financing schools on First Nations territories, uses a financing model based heavily on provincial averages informed by urban populations.

The complaint filed June 14 says Ottawa doesn’t account for the high costs of service delivery in remote areas or the added costs of delivering specialized programs tailored to Innu students.

Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation says its local school board receives about $22 million a year for schools in Sheshatshiu and Natuashish, but the First Nation says about $28 million is needed just for operational and administrative costs.

Sheshatshiu Chief Eugene Hart said in an interview today that Labrador’s Innu groups have highlighted the funding gaps to federal politicians for years, but hesays nothing has changed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 20, 2022.


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