Pathways to Education Canada launches two new Program locations to help increase graduation rates for Indigenous youth

September 1, 2017

Pathways to Education Program™ will address the current state of inequity in educational outcomes for Indigenous youth

Toronto, Ontario (September 1, 2017) – Pathways to Education Canada is pleased to announce that they have partnered with Edmonton’s Canadian Native Friendship Centre (CNFC) and the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) to improve the high school graduation rates of Indigenous youth and to address inequity related to education and employment in the cities of Edmonton and Saskatoon.

Scheduled to launch in the 2017-2018 school year, CNFC and STC will deliver the award-winning Pathways Program – a combination of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one support – to Indigenous students living in Edmonton and Saskatoon, respectively.

According to Statistics Canada, the median income of Canada’s Indigenous population aged 25-64 is estimated to be $11,000 lower than their non-Indigenous counterparts, and reporting suggests this is directly linked to inequity in education opportunities for Indigenous students.

“Pathways is proud to work alongside our new partners to deliver a multi-year commitment to Indigenous youth and their families, all with the goal of increasing high school graduation rates,” says Sue Gillespie, President and CEO, Pathways to Education Canada. “With the launch of these two new Program locations in Edmonton and Saskatoon, Pathways is expanding our reach, increasing the number of youth who can benefit from the Pathways Program, and moving closer to our goal of building a Graduation Nation. Pathways acknowledges that every youth has the right to education and is proud to respond to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

Canadian Native Friendship Centre (CNFC)

Since 1962, CNFC has been offering after-school based family programs, junior and senior high school support, career planning, and job boards to Edmonton’s youth in Treaty Six Territory. Recognizing that everyone has the right to benefit from education, CNFC is pleased to begin delivering the Pathways Program to junior high school students in the 2017-2018 school year with the goal of facilitating effective educational supports in junior high schools for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) youth in collaboration with local educational institutions.

“Education is the key to self-sufficiency and self-determination for our people. We must engage their educational systems and make them our own. This project gives opportunity for community, educational institutions, and FNMI people to walk the road of knowledge sharing together,” says Ron Walker, Executive Director, CNFC

Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC)

STC will be the first host in Saskatchewan and the first Tribal Council in Canada to host the Pathways to Education Program.

STC is committed to educational equity, with one of five key strategies to increase Grade 12 graduation rates of STC members to meet or exceed the provincial average by 2020. With this focus, STC’s Education Unit and their existing partners are in a unique position to implement a mentorship and tutoring program for Indigenous students. STC believes every child is a gift and has a right to education, and are committed to working with Pathways to Education, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, Saskatoon Public Schools, and our community organizations to enhance a strong foundation to improve the graduation rates of all Indigenous students in the city of Saskatoon through a holistic model of education that addresses the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of each participating student.

“Our mutual goal of improving the graduation rates of Indigenous students in provincial schools and ultimately in our member First Nations is an opportunity to work together and share in the responsibility of educating Indigenous youth – as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Call to Action #7,” says Tribal Chief Felix Thomas, STC

Pathways Canada, CNFC, and STC acknowledge the Government of Canada’s continued support of the Pathways Program and Canada’s youth, and are grateful for their commitment to the expansion of the Pathways Program.

“Young people deserve a fair shot at success and our government will support them every step of the way,” says the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. “That’s why we are investing in the Pathways Program so it can expand its operations and help more young people, including Indigenous youth, to get the support they need to graduate from high school and build a future full of potential.”

For more than 15 years, Pathways to Education has recorded groundbreaking results. High school graduation rates have increased by an average of 85 per cent, and 74 per cent of all students who graduated from high school while in the Pathways Program have gone on to post-secondary education or training.

The Pathways Program provides students with weekly tutoring, flexible and personalized mentoring, financial incentives and scholarship funding, as well as advocacy to successfully engage the student and their family, school, program, and community. These supports come at no cost to the youth or their families.

The Pathways Program locations in Edmonton and Saskatoon will join 18 existing Pathways Program locations from coast to coast.


About Pathways to Education Canada –

Pathways to Education is a national, charitable organization working to make Canada a Graduation Nation. Partnering with dedicated community organizations, Pathways supports youth to graduate from high school and achieve their full potential. For over 15 years, our award-winning combination of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one supports has continued to successfully break the cycle of poverty through the power of education.

About the Canadian Native Friendship Centre –

The Canadian Native Friendship Centre (CNFC) was founded to help aboriginal newcomers to the city with referral services and social and recreational programs. It was, and remains, a gathering place for meetings, social events, and community gatherings. Today, CNFC continues to provide cultural, recreational, and social programming, and serves approximately 10,000 people annually through various programs, services, collaborations, and functions. CNFC is able to provide these services through the work of volunteers who expend approximately 5,000 hours on an annual basis.

About the Saskatoon Tribal Council –

Established in 1982, the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) improves the quality of life of Indigenous people through mutually beneficial partnerships with community organizations and industry. Opportunities for improved living are accessed through programs and services in education, health, safety, economic development, and financial investments in the broader community. Acting as a representative body for seven First Nations, STC delivers programs and services to those living in member communities and in the City of Saskatoon.

For more information, please contact:

Colleen Ryan
Director, Marketing and Communications
Pathways to Education Canada
Phone: 416 646 0123 x503
Email: [email protected]

Ron Walker
Executive Director
Canadian Native Friendship Centre
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 780 278 5003

Priscilla Wolf
Communications & Media Relations
Saskatoon Tribal Council
Phone: 306 380 3935
Email: [email protected]