(near Belleville) FNTI offers a very successful BSW
program, in conjunction with Ryerson University, and is set to
launch a similar MSW partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University.
But both these programs, in fact potentially all programs at FNTI,
could be closed down due to federal government funding cuts.
The federal government claims the province is responsible for
post-secondary education, while the province reminds the federal
government of their national responsibility for First Nations
programs, including education.
Further information is available in a Toronto Star editorial by
Carol Goar at:
http://www.thestar.com/comment/columnists/article/300740 and on
FNTI's website at
As social workers, we are very concerned about these looming funding
First, these cuts by the federal government represent yet another
step in the dismantling of our social safety net in Canada, already
seen in cuts to health prevention and women’s issues and the
elimination of the Court Challenges program, to name a few. Second,
these cuts have a direct negative impact on our First Nations
communities, which continue to be plagued by inaction on the part of
our federal government with respect to issues such as housing,
economic development and sanitation. Third, these cuts diminish the
capacity for First Nations members to access and succeed in social
work education and in turn to provide social work services in their
Our Code of Ethics (2005) reminds us of our commitment to the
pursuit of social justice. We call upon our social work colleagues
to take action now and demand that our federal government maintain
funding to FNTI.
First, send a letter to The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of
Indian Affairs and Northern Development. A sample letter is
provided below. You can send your letter by mail (no postage
required), by email:
Strahl.C@parl.gc.ca or by fax: (613) 944-9376.
Second, send a copy of your letter to your own Member of
Parliament. You can find your MP information online by entering
your postal code at:
Third, if you have not received a response 10 days after sending
your letters, contact Mr Strahl’s office and the office of your MP,
their response. You also may want to request a meeting with your MP
at their constituency office.
Thank-you for your quick response to this call for action.
The Honourable Chuck Strahl,
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and
Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians
House of Commons
Room 100, Justice Building
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
I am writing to express deep concern about the impending closure of
the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) due to extreme funding
cuts by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).
Located on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in southern Ontario, FNTI is
a pioneer in community based education delivery and adult education
methods. FNTI offers some of the most successful degree, diploma and
certificate programs in Ontario for Indigenous people, in
partnership with provincially recognized colleges and universities.
Included within these is the Bachelor of Social Work degree offered
in partnership with the Ryerson University School of Social Work and
the planned launch of the Master of Social Work degree in
partnership with the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier
University. With over 2000 graduates, almost 400 Indigenous students
per year, and a history of successful program development and
delivery throughout Ontario, FNTI has contributed significantly to
reducing the post-secondary attainment gap and increasing Indigenous
human resource capacity.
Your government has a stated goal of improving First Nations
education and socio-economic conditions. How better to demonstrate
this commitment than to support a program that is a leader in
Indigenous education, a significant
economic contributor and the second largest employer
in the community? By all measures, FNTI is a great success story –
and not just because of its 90% graduate employment rate. Often
coming from communities suffering from the effects of poverty,
unsafe drinking water, substandard housing and a host of social
problems, Indigenous students are accessing and completing
post-secondary education programs, returning to serve their
communities, and becoming role models in the process. Rather than
cutting their funding, why not celebrate the successes of the
longest-standing Aboriginal post-secondary institution in Ontario,
and look at ways to facilitate the delivery of similar programs
across the country?
FNTI students, staff, community members and the public at large
await a positive intervention from your office. I urge you to take
all necessary measures to ensure that FNTI is provided with stable
and ongoing funding to support the continuation and growth of this
I look forward to your response.
cc. local Member of Parliament