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Board Meetings


April 15, 2008


Legislative Authority:

Ontario Regulation 462/97 governs Native Representation on Boards of Educations.  This regulation provides for one Native Trustee to be appointed to Bluewater District School Board.  In order for Bluewater to have an additional Native Trustee representative appointed, 25 % of the student population would have to be comprised of First Nations students.


In 1995, Bruce County Board of Education agreed that a representative of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation would sit as a member of the board and be eligible to vote on issues related to secondary students only.  During the period prior to amalgamation of the Bruce County Board of Education and the Grey County Board of Education the Local Education Improvement Commission requested the support of the Education Improvement Commission in resolving the matter of the appointment of a second First Nation trustee.  However, there were no changes made to the legislation based on these requests.

Current Situation:

Presently Bluewater District School Board has a Native Trustee on the Board who was appointed by the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nations Band Council.  The attached letter accompanied by Band Council Resolution #943 dated March 26, 2008 has been received by the Board from Chief Ralph Akiwenzie of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Band Council, designating Gail Nadjiwon as their representative on the Board.  

Under Regulation 492/97 Bluewater is only allowed to appoint one First Nations representative to the Board.  Even in other jurisdictions with many more Bands and Treaty Agreements, where less than 25% of their students are First Nations, only one native trustee is appointed to represent the interests of all First Nations students.

In researching how other Boards appoint a native trustee, it has been determined that several formats are used.  Most common formats are:  

An established committee with native representation accepts applications from all the band councils and selects the successful candidate through an interview process for the same time period of an elected member (four years);
The Board accepts applications from the band councils and selects the successful candidate for the same time period of an elected member (four years); or that
The Board appoints a native trustee for a period of one year and the position rotates on an annual basis between or amongst the bands that have agreements with the Board.

Provincially an Aboriginal Education Office has been established with additional personnel at the regional level.  Through these offices there is a concerted effort to strengthen relationships with First Nations communities.


It is recognized that Bluewater District School Board needs a consistent First Nations presence at the Board table. A policy to determine how the appointment is made to the Board needs to be developed.    Currently a policy is being drafted, that proposes three alternate processes.  These alternatives will be presented to the Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee, the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nations Band Council and the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation Band Council for review and input.  It is hoped that one process for the selection of a Native trustee representative will be agreed to and a recommendation will be brought back to inform the development of a Policy.  The Policy Committee of the Board will review the draft policy and make a recommendation to the Board.  

Submitted to
For additonal information, please contact
Bluewater District School Board
Mary Anne Alton,
15 April 2008   
Director of Education   



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