The First Nations Tax Commission partnered with the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics to develop materials and deliver a workshop on November 8, 2016, in Saskatoon, SK. The workshop was designed to provide strategies for TLE First Nations to recover these lost fiscal benefits through full use of FMA tax powers and improved service agreements.
Forty participants attended the workshop, representing 14 communities. The workshop covered the unrealized potential of TLEs, the benefits of tax-based service agreements, asserting FMA tax jurisdiction, negotiating better service agreements, as well as the programs offered through the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics.
The workshop began with brief presentations from participating First Nations about their TLE processes, experiences, plans and progress. A discussion point during the workshop was: “Why aren’t all First Nations capturing fiscal benefits?” Responses included capacity, leadership, negative connotation of taxation and the time and effort involved in negotiated municipal service agreements.
Some participants noted villages and towns have minimal capacity while cities dwarf First Nation negotiating teams in capacity. There was general agreement that increased capacity support from the FNTC for municipal service agreements was a positive proposal.
FNTC Commissioner Lester Lafond spoke to the importance of asserting tax jurisdiction in support of improved service agreements and the history of the Saskatchewan TLE Framework agreement legislation. For TLEs in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, service agreements between First Nations and local governments must be completed before an Addition To Reserve (ATR) is finalized and the lands become the First Nation’s reserve lands.
Photo caption: Workshop participants at TLE workshop in Saskatoon, SK.