Proposed Standards for First Nation Development Cost Charges Laws, 2019
Standards established by the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) reflect best practices in property taxation, and are designed to support First Nation economic growth, First Nation jurisdiction, harmonization, and the interests of all stakeholders in the First Nation property tax system.
Under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (the “Act”), the FNTC reviews and approves laws. Section 35(1)(a) of the Act gives the FNTC the authority to establish standards, not inconsistent with the regulations, respecting the form and content of local revenue laws. The standards established by the FNTC are additional requirements and, together with the Act and its associated regulations, form the regulatory framework governing First Nation taxation under the Act.
As a matter of policy, the FNTC seeks public input prior to introducing or significantly amending its Standards. This input is critical in developing standards that are acceptable and effective for participating First Nations and their taxpayers.
In March 2019, the FNTC approved proposed changes to the Standards for Development Cost Charges (DCC) Laws for the purposes of seeking public input. Development cost charges laws are First Nation local revenue laws made under subparagraph 5.(1)(a)(v) of the Act, and are paid by developers and used to offset the costs associated with the provision, expansion, construction, or alteration of capital infrastructure for new development. DCCs are one-time charges on developers, and are payable at the time when development is approved. The DCC amounts are collected by the First Nation, placed in a DCC reserve fund, and must be used for capital infrastructure costs consistent with the First Nation’s capital plan.
The proposed Standards would replace the existing Standards and would include the following changes:
- Removing the Council resolution requirement for the appointment of the administrator (section 1), other changes clarify administrator’s duties/requirements;
- Providing greater clarity of the development cost charges classes (section 3.1);
- New provisions in section 3 to improve clarity as to how DCCs can be established and levied to meet service agreement requirements with adjacent jurisdictions;
- Removing the requirement (previously section 3.5) that the Law must establish DCCs “that reflect Council considered, in the long term capital plan,”issues of future land use, how works and services are phased, and the provision of park and recreation land;
- Replacing “building permit” with “building approval” to reflect current First Nation systems and practices; and
- Ensuring in section 7.2 that the Law includes reference to the First Nation’s law, by-law, policy or procedure that sets out the application procedure for obtaining building approval, subdivision approval, or development approval. The DCC payment must be made at the time of approval.
The FNTC is seeking public input in respect of these proposed Standards. If you wish to learn more about the proposed changes, please contact the FNTC at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (250) 828-9857. Electronic versions of the proposed Standards (changes are highlighted in red) are available by clicking the link below:
Please direct your written comments on or before June 4, 2019 to:
First Nations Tax Commission
321-345 Chief Alex Thomas Way
Telephone: (250) 828-9857
Fax: (250) 828-9858