ST. ANDREWS (CNB) -- Deputy ministers of aboriginal affairs from Atlantic Canada will meet in St. Andrews on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 9 and 10. Ed Doherty, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, made the announcement today.

Doherty said the meeting will enable the deputy ministers and senior officials from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador to discuss important issues of mutual concern.

"This is an opportunity to learn about best practices, success stories and the challenges facing the other Atlantic Provinces, and perhaps gain a new perspective on the issues at an inter-provincial level," Doherty said. "There may be areas that offer a chance to co-operate on Aboriginal issues."

The meeting begins informally on Wednesday evening with a meet-and-greet, followed by discussions on a variety of issues such as education, economic development, federal co-operation and regional initiatives.

"Engaging in a regular dialogue will be beneficial for our respective departments," Doherty said. "Anything we can do to strengthen our relationship and improve the level of co-operation on issues that affect First Nations communities is a step in the right direction."

There are 38 First Nations communities in Atlantic Canada, which includes 25 Mi'kmaq, six Maliseet, five Inuit and two Innu.