Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council Logo

The Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council

is a quality assurance organization

The Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council (IAESC) is an Indigenous-controlled and governed Council, recognized under the Indigenous Institutes Act, 2017 and tasked with establishing quality assurance standards and benchmarks for programs delivered by the Indigenous Institutes pillar.

The Council uses a quality assurance process steered by its Indigenous Institutes Quality Assessment Board (IIQAB). Through a Memorandum of Understanding signed in August 2018, the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) is providing IAESC reference to its foundational accreditation process and access to its expertise.

The founding members of the Council include the late Delbert Horton, Pamela Toulouse, PhD, Bob Watts and Chair and Executive Director, Laurie Robinson. The current Board of Directors are Bob Watts, Annie Ashdown, Lora Tisi, and Laurie Robinson.

The Indigenous Institute Quality Assessment Board (IIQAB) founding members include Kali Storm, Laura Horton and Dan Roronhiakewen Longboat, PhD. IIQAB members currently include Laura Horton, T’hohahoken Michael Doxtater, PhD, and Kathy Absolon, PhD.

IAESC is a Not-for-profit corporation, pursuant to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, 2009.

Indigenous Institutes Act, 2017

The Indigenous Institutes Act, 2017 received royal assent on December 14, 2017.

This legislation recognizes Indigenous Institutes as a unique and complementary pillar of Ontario’s post-secondary education and training system; and an Indigenous controlled and governed Council.

On April 13, 2018, Ontario Regulation 239/18 recognized the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council as the Council and nine Indigenous Institutes for the purposes of the Act.

As the Council recognized in regulation, IAESC may:

  • Approve Indigenous Institutes to grant diplomas, certificates and degrees;
  • Establish a quality assessment board and quality assurance standards;
  • Make recommendations to the Ontario government regarding which Indigenous Institutes should be included to receive operating funding; and,
  • Approve Indigenous Institutes to use the term “university.”

Consultative Process

The following elements make up our consultative process:

  • The development of evidence-based research
  • Dialogue with Indigenous Institutes and communities
    • Including the development of outcome documents
  • Engagement with experts in Indigenous education, knowledge and language


The Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council (IAESC) solicits direction including information and knowledge from Indigenous Institutes, and the Nations and communities they serve, through dialogue.

A dialogue is…

an open and ongoing conversation between representatives from IAESC and representatives from Indigenous Institutes (often includes students, teaching and learning staff, community members, and knowledge keepers).

Why is dialogue important?

Dialogue helps ensure that the development, implementation, and integrity of quality assurance for the Indigenous Institutes pillar is guided by a consultative process that works to build consensus before decisions affecting Indigenous Institutes are made. As a non-political, arm’s-length, Indigenous-governed and controlled organization, dialogue sessions help IAESC develop an Indigenous quality assurance process reflective of Indigenous intellect and worldview. The process helps protect the interests of learners and aligns with the principles of consensus building articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007.

What is the process?

Indigenous Institutes are invited to a session with IAESC and they bring their representatives of their institutions and communities.

The session is recorded with the consent of participants, and a written transcription is prepared. A qualitative process is used to identify themes in the transcription data and the findings and data are summarized in an outcome document. The outcome document is then shared with Indigenous Institutes and it is used by IAESC to inform its work.

How is Indigenous Knowledge Protected?

The Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council (IAESC) is committed to the protection of Indigenous knowledge. All information shared with IAESC through dialogues is treated as protected Indigenous knowledge and can only be used or disclosed by IAESC with written consent from dialogue participants. Examples of Indigenous knowledge may include worldviews, knowledge, knowledge keeping and sharing, ways of knowing, doing, and being, teachings, protocols, ceremony, cultures, languages, principles and values, and traditions of Indigenous communities.

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