Government of Canada and the First Nations-led institutions under the Act highlight new proposed legislative amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act

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OTTAWA, ON, March 23, 2023 /CNW/ - Today, C.T. (Manny) Jules, Chief Commissioner of the First Nations Tax Commission Harold Calla, Executive Chair of the First Nations Financial Management Board; Ernie Daniels, President and CEO of the First Nations Finance Authority; Allan Claxton, Chair of the First Nations Infrastructure Institute Development Board; and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations; announced new proposed amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, which were introduced in Parliament on March 23, 2023. The proposed amendments to the legislation were co-developed by the three First Nations-led institutions established under the Act (First Nations Tax Commission, First Nations Financial Management Board, and First Nations Finance Authority), and the First Nations Infrastructure Institute Development Board and the Government of Canada.

The legislation seeks to advance Indigenous self-determination and economic reconciliation. Under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, First Nations can exercise jurisdiction over property taxation and financial management, and gain access to capital, which results in increasing their revenues, improved socio-economic conditions in their communities and opportunities to advance their visions of self-determination. Since the adoption of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, 342 First Nations have chosen to participate under the Act, leading to the creation of jobs, the development of new and sustainable sources of revenues, and an overall strengthening of First Nations economies.

The First Nations Tax Commission's mission is to assist First Nations governments in the exercise of their jurisdiction over local revenue systems, and to promote and support positive relationships between First Nations and their taxpayers. The First Nations Financial Management Board assists First Nations in strengthening their local financial management regimes to reflect their evolving needs and priorities to support good governance. The proposed amendments aim to expand and strengthen both mandates to reduce barriers and enhance access to capital and resources, to support communities as they explore and advance economic development opportunities.

In addition, the proposed amendments establish the First Nations Infrastructure Institute as a First Nations-led organization that will support interested First Nations and other Indigenous groups and organizations with the tools, capacity and best practices to support sustainable infrastructure and asset management.

The proposed amendments are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action 44, as they promote socio-economic development and advance economic reconciliation by strengthening Indigenous governance through institutional development. The Government of Canada and the First Nations-led institutions under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act will continue to work together to improve the support and tools provided to help First Nations strengthen their communities, build their economies and advance their visions of self-determination.

Quotes

"Over 150 years ago, First Nations were legislated out of the Canadian economy and federation. We have proven that optional First Nation-led legislation, supported by First Nation institutions, is a key step towards achieving practical economic reconciliation between First Nations and Canada. The FNFMA has been the most successful First Nation-led legislation in Canadian history. On behalf of the 342 participating First Nations, I welcome these important amendments to the FNFMA to include the creation of the First Nations Infrastructure Institute, and expand the institutional support for interested First Nations to renew their jurisdictions and economies."

C.T. (Manny) Jules 
Chief Commissioner, First Nations Tax Commission

"These amendments draw upon FNFMB's 15 years of experience serving First Nations. A critical mass of Nations looks to the FNFMA to support their efforts to implement their rights and title through optional programs and services. These important amendments respond to First Nations' calls to expand our mandate and create new supports through the First Nations Infrastructure Institute. We look forward to being able to work with Tribal Councils, Modern Treaty Nations, self-governing groups and Indigenous not-for-profit organizations. We hope to see speedy passage of these amendments through parliament, for the benefit of First Nations and all Canadians."

Harold Calla 
Executive Chair, First Nations Financial Management Board

"The First Nations Fiscal Management Act has been amended several times since it came into force in 2006. FNFA, FNFMB and FNTC and have been working with Canada over the past couple of years on the latest round of amendments, together with representatives from what will become the First Nations Infrastructure Institute (FNII). The amendments are an important precursor to expanding FNFA's client base to include Treaty and Self-Governing, Non-Profit Authorities that provide services to First Nations and Tribal Councils, among other strategic changes. The proposed amendments will have great positive impacts for First Nations."

Ernie Daniels 
President and CEO, First Nations Finance Authority

"We know that infrastructure needs are great across Canada, and we believe that working with FNII will support First Nations and Indigenous groups to advance their projects. This is the stuff I've dreamt about in my 20 years as Chief for my community, and I welcome these amendments."

Allan Claxton 
Chair, First Nations Infrastructure Institute Development Board

"These proposed amendments will support First Nations as they transition to self-government and explore opportunities for economic development. Addressing fundamental structures and affecting long-term change can take time, but it is the key to addressing priorities identified by Indigenous Peoples, such as closing the critical infrastructure gaps in their communities. Thank you to the First Nations Tax Commission, the First Nations Financial Management Board, the First Nations Finance Authority and the First Nations Infrastructure Institute Development Board for working with us on these important amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act."

The Honourable Marc Miller 
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • The First Nations Fiscal Management Act received Royal Assent on March 23, 2005, and came into force on April 1, 2006.

  • The First Nations Fiscal Management Act established three First Nations-led institutions (the First Nations Financial Management Board, the First Nations Tax Commission, and the First Nations Finance Authority) that support First Nations in strengthening their fiscal powers and financial administration capacity and systems to establish a strong foundation for good governance in their communities.

  • The First Nations Tax Commission is a shared-governance institution that oversees and streamlines the approval of property tax and local revenue laws of participating First Nations, builds administrative capacity through sample laws and accredited training, and supports the reconciliation of First Nations government and taxpayer interests.

  • The First Nations Financial Management Board is a shared-governance corporation that assists First Nations in strengthening their local financial management regimes and provides independent certification to support borrowing from the First Nations Finance Authority for First Nations' economic development.

  • The First Nations Finance Authority is a non-profit corporation that permits qualifying First Nations to work cooperatively in raising long-term private capital at preferred rates through the issuance of bonds, and also provides investment services to First Nations.

  • The First Nations Infrastructure Institute Development Board has engaged in discussions across the country on the concept of the First Nations Infrastructure Institute (FNII), the needs of communities and how a national First Nations-led institution could support existing and future regional organizations to improve infrastructure outcomes for First Nations.

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SOURCE Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

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View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2023/23/c1798.html