The FNTC is continuing work to enable treaty First Nations to participate in First Nations Finance Authority (FNFA) pooled borrowing under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA). Treaty First Nations in British Columbia need the ability to levy property taxes and fund infrastructure in a manner similar to other First Nations and local governments. The current treaty approach to property taxation provides for First Nations to levy property taxes on non-members under “tax coordination” agreements with the Province, and does not enable participation in the provincial pooled borrowing regime.
The FMA provides First Nations with a regulatory framework to support First Nation taxation through broad local revenue powers, institutional support, and a pooled borrowing regime. However, for treaty First Nations, the FMA is only accessible through a regulation under s.141 of the Act.
There are five primary benefits to enabling First Nations to continue to use the FMA post-Treaty, including:
- Taxing First Nations can continue to use their existing taxation systems
- First Nations can continue to access FMA fiscal powers to exercise their tax jurisdiction
- First Nations can continue to access the financial administration law-making tools under the FMA
- First Nations can continue to access FNFA pooled borrowing
- First Nations can continue to receive support from the FMA institutions
The FNTC supports those First Nations currently in Treaty negotiations that are interested in pursuing an FMA post-Treaty option. It is an option that would enable First Nations to directly exercise the full FMA scope of local revenue law-making powers and would simplify access the FNFA pooled borrowing regime. First Nations could have a seamless transition to Treaty for property taxation, and continue to benefit from the institutional support provided under the FMA framework.
In July 2016, the FNTC participated in a meeting to discuss advancing a s. 141 regulation for First Nations already in Treaty with representatives from Canada, the Province, the fiscal institutions (FNFA, FMB and FNTC), and some Treaty First Nations.
The federal and provincial governments are committed to completing a regulation quickly and to move forward with enabling Treaty First Nations to borrow from the FNFA. All parties are working together to continue work on this matter.
The FNTC is currently undertaking a review of past regulatory work and will identify a preferred approach for the regulation.