• FIRST NATIONS TAX COMMISSION: OVERVIEW

  • 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

  • FNTC: POLICY OBJECTIVES, FUNCTIONS & SERVICES

  • Policy Objectives

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Foster Administrative Efficiencies. The Commission will work to achieve an efficient and a practicable First Nation property tax system.

  • Functions and Services

In delivering on its mandate, vision and mission, the FNTC undertakes a comprehensive range of functions and services designed to meet the evolving interests, needs and circumstances of First Nations and their taxpayers. The aim of these functions and services is to ensure the integrity of the system of First Nation real property taxation, and to promote a common approach to First Nation real property taxation nationwide, having regard to variations in provincial real property taxation systems.

Regulatory Framework Development

Policy Development. Policy development includes the design, development and promotion of policies and standards.

Legislative Affairs and Legal Services. Legislative affairs and legal services include monitoring legal developments and rulings, analyzing and providing advice regarding legislative and regulatory processes, and supporting other legal initiatives.

Research and Innovation. Research and innovation activities include researching, exploring, testing and analyzing innovative approaches and mechanisms for the design, expansion and administration of First Nation tax systems.

Sample Laws and By-Laws. Sample law and by-law development includes developing and updating sample laws and by-laws, and providing related tools and advice.

Law/By-Law Review and Commission Approval/Recommendation. Law and by-law review include the review and approval by the Commission of First Nation local revenue laws under the FMA, and Commission review and provision of recommendations to the Minister on by-laws under section 83 of the Indian Act.

Protecting First Nation Jurisdiction: The FNTC protects First Nation tax jurisdiction in a number of ways, including by establishing standards, developing sample laws, supporting First Nation law development, supporting capacity development through education and training, engaging in outreach to First Nations and their taxpayers, providing dispute resolution services, and defending First Nation tax jurisdiction in judicial processes.

Promulgation and Registration

First Nations Gazette. The FNTC operates and maintains the First Nations Gazette, a free searchable database of First Nation laws, by-laws and other enactments published on the website www.fng.ca.

FMA and Section 83 Registries. The FNTC maintains and updates a registry of all approved local revenue laws and financial administration laws—as required under the FMA—and of all by-laws approved by the Minister under section 83 of the Indian Act.

First Nations Services

First Nation Law and By-Law Development. The FNTC provides advice and assistance to First Nations in their development and implementation of local revenue laws and by-laws.

Service Agreement Support. The FNTC provides support for the facilitation of service agreements between First Nations and local governments to advance implementation of property tax systems, additions to reserves, and treaty land entitlements.

Dispute Management and Negotiations. Dispute management includes support for negotiations relating to the implementation of First Nation property taxation and support for resolution of disputes in relation to the application of local revenue laws.

Engagement and Capacity Building

Communications and Outreach. Communications and outreach include engagement activities and the development of products and materials to promote the understanding of First Nation real property taxation systems.

Education, Training and Accreditation. Education, training and accreditation activities include the development and delivery of specialized training and formal certification for First Nation government staff in implementing FMA jurisdictions that lead to greater economic growth, investments, revenues and employment for First Nation communities.

Commission Operations

Commission Support. Commission support includes provision of ongoing advice, logistical support and services for the Commission and its Committees.

Corporate Services. Corporate services include the provision of planning, financial/accounting, personnel, administrative, legal, office facility, technology management, contracting and other support services to the Commission and the FNTC.

International Respect and Collaboration. The FMA—and the institutional support provided by the FNTC—has been recognized in New Zealand, Australia and the United States as a model to implement Indigenous jurisdiction and improve socio-economic outcomes for Indigenous peoples.