OTTAWA, ONTARIO (March 23, 2005) – The First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act (Bill C-20) received Royal Assent today. The legislation, which establishes four First Nation-led institutions, received all-party support in the House of Commons and the Senate.“This is an important milestone for First Nations and Canada,” said Chief Strater Crowfoot, Indian Taxation Advisory Board Chairman.  “With the passage of this legislation – with all party support – Parliament has recognized the importance of improving the First Nation investment climate and infrastructure. The legislation will also strengthen taxpayer relations.“

With the passage of  Bill C-20, the current Indian Taxation Advisory Board (ITAB) will evolve into the First Nations Tax Commission. The Commission will assume ITAB functions under section 83 of the Indian Act and will be responsible for regulatory oversight for First Nation property tax under the legislation. Bill C-20 also provides, for participating First Nations, stronger enforcement powers, mechanisms to improve property tax payer relations, and access to the full range of benefits offered through the legislation.

Today, more than 20% of the First Nations in Canada collect property taxes, generating more than $44 million in revenue.“For current and future First Nation property tax authorities, this is an important step beyond the Indian Act and a critical improvement to the First Nation property tax system.  Today, these First Nations have a choice and new institutions to support economic growth”, said Chief Crowfoot.