Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) recently announced 10-year grant funding that would be made available to First Nations as early as April 1, 2019 if the First Nation provides a written request and meets eligibility requirements, which were co-developed with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Financial Management Board (FMB).
To be eligible for the 10-year grant, a First Nation must have in place a financial administration law (First Nations Fiscal Management Act) or by-law (Indian Act). If the First Nation chooses to pass a financial administration by-law, the bylaw must obtain Ministerial approval. The same standards for a financial administration law or by-law will apply.
The FNTC is currently solely responsible for providing advice to the Minister on the approval of all s. 83 Indian Act by-laws under the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). However, given the new requirement, the FNTC is working to transfer the specific responsibility for financial administration by-laws to the FMB. The FMB would become responsible for setting standards and policies for all financial management bylaws, developing a sample by-law that fully complies with these standards, reviewing all financial administration by-laws submitted by First Nations, and recommending ministerial approval of these by-laws. FNTC will continue to support the policy, review and recommendation requirements for taxation under s.83 Indian Act.
In August 2018, FNTC and FMB met to discuss the issues around the transfer of responsibility to be finalized by the end of the year. This would include an amendment to the current FNTC MOU and the drafting of a separate FMB INAC MOU that deals with ministerial recommendations for the approval of financial administration by-laws. Under the new arrangement, financial administration bylaws would continue to be registered by the FNTC and published in the First Nations Gazette.
Work continues to ensure First Nations that currently have enacted financial administration by-laws under s.83 are supported and informed in advance of the transition of
these by-laws to the FMB.