Nearly ten years after the passage of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA), the case to bring about much needed legislative changes was made directly to Parliamentarians at the March 12th meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. The Standing Committee, which is studying ways to improve First Nation access to capital, heard from each of the three First Nation fiscal institutions supporting changes that would make the FMA easier for First Nations to join, improve efficiencies, and strengthen investor confidence.
FNTC Chief Commissioner C.T. (Manny) Jules cited the FMA’s ten year track record as a proven access to capital and why Committee members should support legislative change, “In 2005, it was passed by Parliament with all party support. Today close to 150 First Nations, 25% of all First Nations in Canada use this legislation. They have raised over $220 million in local revenues and issued a $90 million debenture. More than 50 First Nations have received financial management certification. Over 100 First Nation students have taken university accredited courses to use this legislation. More First Nations want to join, even some originally opposed to the legislation. This is an access to capital change that has worked.”
Both Mr. Ernie Daniels (President/CEO, First Nations Finance Authority) and Mr. Harold Calla (Executive Chair, First Nations Financial Management Board) emphasized the important role FMA debenture financing can have in improving First Nation infrastructure, financial management, and economic growth. Mr. Calla called for “all party support” to facilitate the passage of legislation before June 2015.
The forty-three legislative proposals build on the 2012 Report to Parliament issued by the Minster of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and reflect recommendations made by First Nations, First Nations institutions, and other stakeholders in improving the operational performance of the FMA.