The FNTC undertook a video project profiling First Nations to celebrate their successes in using property taxation to build their economies and generate revenues. The intent was to revisit the past 25 years of First Nation property taxation in Canada and allow First Nations themselves to share how property taxation has impacted their community and what it means to them.
Background on community property taxation.
Campbell River Indian Band has 800 band members. We got about 350 of them living on reserve, for population size anyway. And then we’re located right in downtown Campbell River, so we’re adjacent right to the city of Campbell River. And then we own 275 acres I believe, fifty of which are leased right now.
When was taxation implemented and what is the amount of revenues collected?
The year that taxation was implemented, we did it in 2003 here through the Indian Act. And in 2011, I started in 2009, and then in 2011 we joined the FSMA. And as for revenues; in 2003 when it first started there was about $200,000 in revenues here. Then in 2004 to 2009 the band averaged about $825,000 a year. And then I think it was 2010-11 it went up to $1.4 million and then 2012 till now with all the development we have we’re averaging about $2.1 million a year in taxation revenue.
What does property tax mean to you?
Property tax means to me, basically, establishing your tax jurisdiction to cover your own interest in your land. It creates economic development opportunities for your band and it basically just provides a basic tool for governance on your lands.
Why did your First Nation get involved in collecting property tax?
They got started basically to increase our economic development opportunities. They definitely wanted to provide their own source revenue to fund programs that aren’t funded by the government, and they just wanted to establish their own governance and taxation jurisdiction.
How has property tax supported economic development in your community?
Property tax has supported economic development here because it finances all our local programs and services. It basically has been improving all of our local community infrastructure and the services around here, which in turn have increased our economic development because it’s basically been a good place to do business. Basically why people have been coming to do business on Campbell River Band lands.