OTTAWA, ONTARIO (April 1, 2016) The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, along with Chief Commissioner of the First Nations Tax Commission, C.T. (Manny) Jules, Executive Chair of the First Nations Financial Management Board, Harold Calla, and Chief Executive Officer of the First Nations Finance Authority, Ernie Daniels, today announced changes to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FNFMA) which will make it simpler for First Nations to access the regime, implement property taxation and lever financing for community economic and social development.
The amendments not only clarify and simplify various processes under the Act, they ultimately make it easier for First Nations to opt-in to the legislation, strengthening the regime and improving the investment climate on-reserve.
These amendments stem from recommendations and consultations with the three First Nations-led institutions established under the legislation – the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC); the First Nations Financial Management Board (FNFMB); and the First Nations Finance Authority (FNFA) – as well as with First Nations scheduled to the Act, those interested in opting-in, taxpayers and other stakeholders.
- The Act has strong, sustained demand from First Nations wishing to participate in the regime. Currently, 177 First Nations have chosen to opt-in to the Act, with 86 collecting property tax, 62 having received FNFMB financial performance certification, and 52 accepted as FNFA borrowing members.
- First Nations participating in the FNFMA have over $481 million in own source revenues, and have used these revenues to support over $250 million in FNFA loans to build houses, a school, green energy projects, refinance existing debt and to help pay for new capital infrastructure.
- First Nations with property taxation jurisdiction under the FNFMA have collected over $250 million in property tax revenues, supporting vital services and infrastructure.
“Ensuring First Nations can exercise core government functions in the area of fiscal management is critical to their participation in the Canadian economy. These changes to the legislation provide a solid foundation for a nation-to-nation relationship in which First Nations can invest in community infrastructure and economic development projects and improve their socio-economic future.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P., Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
“Today’s announcement will mean even greater numbers of First Nations participating in the FMA, and perhaps more importantly, a greater number of First Nations systematically unshackling themselves from generations of government dependency. Whether judged by uptake, revenue-raised, or improved fiscal accountability, the FMA has been a complete game-changer for participating First Nation governments and their economies.”
C.T. (Manny) Jules, Chief Commissioner of the First Nations Tax Commission
“These amendments demonstrate that the FNFMA is a living piece of legislation that is being changed to reflect First Nations interests as the FMB proceeds with implementation across Canada”
Harold Calla, Executive Chair of the First Nations Financial Management Board
“The FNFA is extremely happy these important amendments to the FMA are being implemented. We are proud of the work we have done for First Nations borrowing under the FMA in the past four years and look forward to assisting many more First Nations realize economic success over the next decade.”
Ernie Daniels, CEO of the First Nations Finance Authority