Indigenous-focused Pro-D Day for
Public School Teachers

Starting in the 2019/2020 school year, school districts will be required to provide an Indigenous-focused professional development day to all teachers in BC public schools. Approximately 43,000 teachers in all 60 school districts will be involved in this new professional development day. This initiative is a direct result of the BC Tripartite Education Agreement (BCTEA) signed by the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), the Government of BC and the Government of Canada in 2018.

Section of BCTEA 4.17 states the following:

Commencing in the 2019/20 school year, and for the duration of this Agreement, British Columbia will ensure not less than one non-instructional day per school year is focused on enhancing First Nation student learning outcomes.

The BC Ministry of Education has advised superintendents of this new requirement, which is set out in the School Calendar Regulations as follows:

In each of the 2019/2020, 2020/21, 2021/2022. and 2022/2023 school years, a board must schedule at least one non-instructional day for the purpose of providing teachers with an opportunity to participate in discussions and activities that focus on both of the following:

(a) enhancing Indigenous student achievement;

(b) integrating Indigenous world views and perspectives into learning environments

(School Calendar Regulations, s. 8(2))

The Indigenous-focused professional development day is a very positive step towards addressing the gap in educational outcomes between First Nation students and non-First Nation students, and represents an opportunity for building relationships and advancing reconciliation, consistent with both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The new Indigenous-focused professional development day is also directly linked to the newly-added Standard 9 of the Professional Standards for BC EducatorsThe Professional Standards were developed by the BC Teachers’ Council and they outline the conduct and competence requirements for an individual to maintain a BC teaching certificate of qualification, as well as guide teacher education and ongoing professional growth. Standard 9 addresses the role of educators in the truth, reconciliation, and healing process and carries with it the expectation that educators will commit to integrating the worldviews, cultures, and histories of Indigenous peoples into BC learning environments. 

We want to ensure that this opportunity is as impactful as possible. To this end, it is important that local First Nations be involved in all aspects of the planning of this professional development opportunity, so that curriculum, materials, and learning  teachers receive meaningfully reflects the cultures, values, languages, and traditions of local First Nations.

While it is the responsibility of school districts to take initiative in reaching out to First Nations, we also suggest that First Nations be proactive in contacting their senior school district leadership about this non-instructional day to discuss how they can be involved in the planning.

Suggested Next Steps for First Nations

  1. Update your Chief and Council and education authorities about this opportunity.
  2. Contact the school district superintendent to discuss how you will collaborate in the planning process.
  3. Recommend appropriate speakers, activities, resources, and protocols.
  4. Emphasize First Nations student achievement as a key focus of the non-instructional day, and use current data to inform this discussion with the school district (see reports below).
  5. After the non-instructional day, review how successful it was and follow up as appropriate with the school district.
  6. Continue discussions with senior school district leadership throughout the school year about future non-instructional days and other priorities of your First Nation. 

Related Resources

Regional Sessions

The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) invites you to our annual Regional Sessions to engage in dialogue on First Nations education priorities, initiatives and concerns. Regional Sessions are an opportunity to learn more about our work and the work of our partners, including BCTEA initiatives.  Travel is reimbursable for up to two representatives per BC First Nations community to attend their nearest (or most economical) session.

Kelowna, Oct. 3-4, 2019

Kamloops, Oct. 22-23, 2019

Cranbrook, Nov. 19-20, 2019

Prince George, Dec. 9-10, 2019

Vancouver, Dec. 12-13, 2019

Nanaimo, Jan. 9-10, 2020

Prince Rupert, Jan. 23-24, 2020


Details and Registration

Feedback and Support

Are there other steps or ideas you have relating to the Indigenous-focused professional development day for teachers? Please let us know. We would like to hear from you!

Your stories of successes and challenges over the school year are helpful in informing the way forward.

Please send your ideas and questions to

The BC Tripartite Education Agreement: Supporting First Nation Student Success (BCTEA), signed on July 1, 2018 by the First Nations Education Steering Committee, Canada, and British Columbia, and witnessed in support of the execution of the agreement by the First Nations Schools Association (FNSA), is intended to promote systemic shifts and collective efforts that will support improved educational outcomes of all First Nation students in British Columbia.


Learn more about BCTEA


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