This year marks the 30th Anniversary that Bill C-115, better known as the “Kamloops Amendment”, received Royal Assent.
Our ancestors and leaders have fought hard for our jurisdiction. It is precious. We must assert it. We must protect it and we must continue to clear the path for others.
– Chief Commissioner Jules
This indigenous-led amendment to the Indian Act made it possible for First Nations to begin implementing property taxation, significantly increasing revenue options and expanding jurisdiction. While the step taken in 1988 is of historical significance, it is important to remember that the restoration of First Nation tax jurisdiction did not start there. In 1875, the Mohawks of Tyendinaga attempted to implement a property tax system but were turned down by the Department of Indian Affairs. Later, in 1927, the ability for First Nations to raise revenues was removed. Progress took a long time and and a lot of effort from many dedicated individuals.
In 1988, Bill C-115 created First Nation property tax jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of Canada stated in 1995 that First Nation tax jurisdiction was “an inherently governmental power”, and it wasn’t until 2005 that First Nations were able to formalize and expand their tax jurisdiction with the First Nations Fiscal Management Act.
Since that time, First Nation communities have generated over $1 Billion in cumulative tax revenues and have established new jurisdictions over revenues such as development cost charges, taxation for the provision of services and business activity taxes.
For more depth and insight, please see previous stories: