MONTREAL -- Most Quebec universities have taken steps to improve access to higher education for First Nations members, according to a new report from the Inter-university Co-operation Office (BCI).

The document draws a portrait of the actions implemented by the province's 19 universities to better serve and take into account the culture of Indigenous communities.

The measures are divided into five spheres: governance, education, student experience, research and services to the community.

The file on each individual university will be updated annually.

The report also listed 13 initiatives that it calls inspiring and innovative.

“We wanted to know where we were starting from,” said BCI leader Johanne Jean. “This portrait allows us to be inspired by what others do. There are great initiatives in all university establishments.”

Jean said she was surprised at how the universities went the extra mile after the study was launched.

Among the findings were that a large number of Quebec's universities offer courses or programs related to Indigenous studies and languages and that Indigenous personnel are present in the research activities of several institutions.

The report also mentioned various actions aimed at promoting a welcoming environment for students. It singled out the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Temiscamingue, which created a First Peoples Service.

“This report gives many leads. I think that the institutions will be able to draw on many initiatives,” said Jean. “We have a set of tools here.”

Jean added that the report will also be useful for Indigenous students and organizations.

“It can be useful for students who want to continue their studies. It can give them an idea of the type of welcome they can have and the programs that are offered to them, whether in teaching or in research.”

Quebec's universities count more than 2,000 Indigenous people among their students, or less than one per cent. However, that data is based on voluntary declarations and may be skewed.

The 80 page report will be presented at the next national reconciliation forum in September.