OTTAWA, May 7, 2015 – Today in the House of Commons, the Harper Government introduced Bill C-59, which includes amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. The Act proposes amendments that would reduce red tape, better align the regime with provincial standards, streamline internal operations and enhance investor confidence. Amendments would clarify and simplify various processes under the Act, ultimately making it easier for First Nations to opt-in to the Act, strengthening the regime and creating a more certain business environment for investors. The introduction of these amendments stems from recommendations and consultations with the three First Nations-led institutions established under the legislation – the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC); the First Nations Financial Management Board (FNFMB); and the First Nations Finance Authority (FNFA) – as well as with First Nations scheduled to the Act and those interested in opting-in. The First Nations Fiscal Management Act has been very successful in improving economic opportunities and promoting greater self-sufficiency in First Nations communities who have opted-in and these amendments will contribute towards its continued success.
- The First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FNFMA) came into force on April 1, 2006 and is opt-in legislation. It allows communities to securitize their property tax and other source of revenues for long-term borrowing, provides an alternative to federal funding for financing infrastructure and economic development on reserve.
- First Nations that opt-in to the Act have access to the tools and services offered by the three First Nations-led institutions established under the legislation, namely; the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) which implements an on reserve real property tax regime; the First Nations Financial Management Board (FNFMB) who provides financial certification to First Nations; and the First Nations Finance Authority (FNFA), which provides First Nations access to long-term pooled borrowing on a basis similar to other governments in Canada.
- The Act has been very successful, with strong and sustained demand from First Nations to participate in the regime. Currently, 158 First Nations have chosen to opt-in to the Act, with 82 collecting property tax, 52 having received financial performance certification, and 44 accepted as borrowing members.
- To participate in the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, a First Nation must first request that it be added to the Schedule of the Act through a Band Council Resolution.
“Our Government is committed to helping enable First Nations to take full advantage of Canada’s economic prosperity—this is why I am so pleased that we are moving forward with amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. The proposed amendments for the opt-in legislation would reduce red tape, foster a strong and healthy investor’s climate and strengthen the regime. This is a clear demonstration of our Government’s commitment to working with First Nations to create the conditions that lead to jobs and economic development opportunities in Canada.” – Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
“Over the last ten years, we have witnessed more and more First Nations moving away from the transfer dependency model that has stagnated First Nation communities and economies. We fully expect that the legislative improvements will mean we can provide better services to more First Nations who are achieving greater self-sufficiency, improving accountability, and attracting private investment for their economies.” – C.T. (Manny) Jules, Chief Commissioner of the First Nations Tax Commission
“These amendments are an important step on the part of the Government of Canada to support the desire of First Nations to have the tools that enable better access to capital and improved accountability, and that improve the jurisdiction to raise revenues to create sustainable economies that benefit all Canadians.” – Harold Calla, Executive Chair of the First Nations Financial Management Board
“On behalf of FNFA‘s board of directors and the borrowing members we are extremely happy that these important amendments to FNFMA are being considered by this Government. We are also pleased with the assistance they provided throughout the process.” – Ernie Daniels, CEO of the First Nations Finance Authority