The First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) operates in the larger context of First Nation issues which goes beyond property tax.

The FNTC is concerned with reducing the barriers to economic development on First Nation lands, increasing investor certainty, and enabling First Nations to be part of their regional economies.

The FNTC is working to fill the institutional vacuum that has prevented First Nations from participating in the market economy and creating a national regulatory framework for First Nation tax systems that meets or beats the standards of provinces.

  • Mission

The mission of the FNTC is to help First Nation governments build and maintain fair and efficient property tax regimes and to ensure those First Nation communities, and their taxpayers alike, receive the maximum benefit from those systems.

It will achieve this mission by working with First Nations and stakeholders to:

  • Develop, implement, and enforce an appropriate regulatory framework
  • Identify education needs and develop and offer programs to meet those needs
  • Prevent and resolve disputes; and
  • Support economic development on First Nation lands, in part through services to, and coordination with, the two other First Nations fiscal institutions

Through an agreement with the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, the FNTC will provide advice regarding the approval of s. 83 by-laws and deliver services to First Nations exercising property tax jurisdiction under s. 83 of the Indian Act.

  • Mandate

Section 29 (s. 29) of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA) establishes the purposes of the First Nations Tax Commission:

The First Nations Tax Commission will:

  • Ensure the integrity of the system of First Nations real property taxation and promote a common approach to First Nations real property taxation nationwide, having regard to variations in provincial real property taxation systems
  • Ensure that the real property taxation systems of First Nations reconcile the interests of taxpayers with the responsibilities of chiefs and councils to govern the affairs of First Nations
  • Prevent, or provide for the timely resolution of, disputes in relation to the application of local revenue laws
  • Assist First Nations in the exercise of their jurisdiction over real property taxation on reserve lands and build capacity in first nations to administer their taxation systems
  • Develop training programs for First Nations real property tax administrators
  • Assist First Nations to achieve sustainable economic development through the generation of stable local revenues
  • Promote a transparent First Nations real property taxation regime that provides certainty to taxpayers
  • Promote understanding of the real property taxation systems of First Nations; and
  • Provide advice to the Minister regarding future development of the framework within which local revenue laws are made


  • Policy Objectives

The FNTC has the overall responsibility of maintaining the integrity of First Nation taxation.

Instrumental in that regard is the creation of national standards, procedures, and policies which govern how the Commission reviews and approves First Nation laws, and how the Commission approaches dispute prevention and resolution.

The Commission believes it is essential that it clearly articulates the policy objectives underlying FNTC standards, procedures and policies. The Commission’s policy approach provides First Nations, taxpayers and other interested parties with its policy rationale. The Commission hopes to promote understanding and facilitate the policy development process.

The policy objectives have been formulated by drawing from the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, particularly the Act’s Preamble and s. 29 which lists the Commission’s purposes.

The policy objectives are presented below:

  1. Support First Nation Jurisdiction. The Commission will protect and support First Nation tax jurisdiction by providing certainty and preserving the integrity of the First Nation local revenue system.
  2. Reconcile Interests. The Commission seeks to reconcile interests and create mutual benefits for First Nations governments and stakeholders in the First Nation tax system. To this end, the Commission seeks to achieve a First Nation tax system that prevents disputes before they arise, and effectively resolves them once they occur. The Commission advocates the use of strategies to improve taxpayer relations, and appropriate dispute resolution as an alternative to formal complaints or litigation.
  3. Promote Transparency. The Commission promotes transparency and clarity in the First Nation tax system. Transparency is a cornerstone in building a First Nation tax system that is credible, sustainable and supported by taxpayers.
  4. Support First Nations in Achieving Sustainable Economic Development. Stable local revenue, the infrastructure it affords, and a competitive investment climate are prerequisites for sustainable economic development. The Commission is committed to helping First Nations facilitate investments on their lands.
  5. Educate and Promote Understanding. Education and promoting understanding are key ingredients in securing a healthy and sustainable First Nation property tax system. The Commission is committed to building capacity amongst First Nations to enable them to better administer their property tax administrations.
  6. Promote Harmonization. The First Nation property tax system should be harmonized with its relevant provincial property tax system where possible. This creates certainty and transparency and promotes sustainable economic development.
  7. Foster Administrative Efficiencies. The Commission will work to achieve an efficient and a practicable First Nation property tax system.
  • Functions and Services

The FNTC delivers its services in accordance with service areas (also known as business lines) approved by the Commission.

The Commission’s approved business lines are as follows:

  1. Corporate Services. The objective of the Corporate Services area is to create an effective work environment for FNTC service areas, and operate the FNTC and its Secretariat in keeping with the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA) Part 2, Part 6, and the Corporate Plan. Corporate Services is also responsible for the management of the First Nations Gazette, and any special projects or initiatives that the FNTC undertakes.
  2. Policy Development. The objective of the Policy Development business line is to develop and implement, through a transparent policy development process, effective standards and policies. These policies and standards support sound administrative practices, and increase First Nation, taxpayer, and investor confidence in the integrity of the First Nation local revenue system.
  3. Law, By-law Review and Regulations. The objective of the Law, By-law Review, and Regulations business line is to support the FNTC’s law and by-law review responsibilities under both the FMA and an MOU* with the federal Minister of AANDC. Further, it supports FNTC’s advisory function in the development of FMA regulations that includes monitoring regulatory impacts and developing proposals.
  4. Education. The objective of the Education business line is to promote an understanding of the real property taxation systems of First Nations, develop training programs for First Nation real property tax administrators, and build capacity in First Nations to administer their taxation systems.
  5. Dispute Management. The objective of the Dispute Management business line is to prevent or provide for the timely resolution of disputes in relation to the application of local revenue laws and to provide support to First Nations in negotiations related to expanding tax jurisdiction and completing service agreements.
  6. Communications. The objective of the Communications business line is to promote understanding of the First Nation real property tax system and its potential to assist First Nations in their economic development.
  7. Such other service areas as approved by the Commission. Other Commission service areas that may be included in an approved Corporate Plan or otherwise approved by the Commission by way of a Commissioner Resolution.