August, 2019. The Board of Directors of CASWE-ACFTS would like to update members on a decision taken regarding the National Indigenous Accreditation Board’s (NIAB, created in 1995 as the First Nations Accreditation Board) request to enter an Agreement between the NIAB and CASWE-ACFTS on mutual recognition of accredited degrees. As you may recall, the First Nations Adult Higher Education Consortium (FNAHEC, formed in 1997) reached out to the Association’s Board of Accreditation in 2005 to begin a dialogue and consultation process. Meetings between representatives from both Associations were held over the years with a commitment from the CASWE-ACFTS Board in 2013 to review the NIAB standards’ document when it became available. In May 2016 CASWE-ACFTS and NIAB signed an Agreement in Principle that affirmed a commitment by both organization to undertake a collaborative process to support the development of an agreement of mutual recognition. In 2019 NIAB circulated the Accreditation Handbook document to the Board. At June 25th, 2019 Board of Directors’ meeting, the Directors of the Board agreed to enter into an agreement with NIAB on mutual degree recognition. This decision was taken based on a variety of information received, including NIAB’s document Accreditation Handbook: Appendix I Wisdom-Based Practices and Responsibilities for Social Work Education Programs, meetings with NIAB representatives, and feedback received from various groups and members. The Board recognizes the originality and work that is reflected in the Wisdom-Based Practices and Responsibilities document, particularly its reflection of national education standards while rooted in an Indigenous knowledge system. A key element is that this documents reflects a social work education program developed by Indigenous peoples, accredited by Indigenous bodies, and delivered by Indigenous institutions. While some concerns have been raised about the lack of a document regarding the process for accreditation, NIAB has assured the Board that a rigorous process is in place and that a document will be provided shortly. As part of the Board’s decision, the Board has committed to ongoing dialogue and meetings with NIAB. The ED and I have been tasked by the Board to work with NIAB to draft the agreement. As part of this process, the Board has also approved that graduates of a NIAB program be considered for admittance to CASWE-ACFTS MSW programs. The Board of Directors believes this decision is beneficial to the Association, its members and is consistent with the Association’s commitment to change and work towards reconciliation.
Stéphane Grenier, President CASWE-ACFTS
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue