CASA, along with First Nations organizations and stakeholders in the post-secondary sector, has long advocated for expanding funding to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP). This program provides funding to First Nations and Inuit communities, who in turn provide funding to eligible students so that they can attend school. Regrettably, the program was subject to a 2% funding growth cap for nearly 20 years, and while the population of Indigenous youth grew 30% between 2004 and 2014, funding for the PSSSP increased by only 13% over the same period. This left behind a backlog of individuals who were eligible for and yet unable to access post-secondary education – a basic treaty right.
In Budget 2017, CASA was pleased to see government lift the 2% cap on the PSSSP and start making good on their commitment to provide post-secondary education to First Nations and Inuit peoples in Canada. Though $90 million is not enough to address the entire backlog of those waiting to begin their studies, it is certainly a promising start.