KAMLOOPS, BRITISH COLUMBIA (April 22, 2015) The First Nations Tax Commission welcomes the announcement in the federal Budget 2015 that the federal government will be moving forward with amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA). Enacted in 2005 by Parliament with all-party support, the FMA provides 147 participating First Nations with revenue raising powers like property taxation, improved financial management, and access to low-cost long term financing for community needs and economic growth. This has translated into over $220 million raised in property tax, over 50 new financial management systems, and a $90 million debenture. The amendments are intended to address inefficiencies, streamline First Nation access to the FMA so that more First Nations can participate, and improve investor confidence in the legislation.
The First Nations Tax Commission, along with the First Nations Finance Authority and the First Nations Financial Management Board, have been seeking amendments to the legislation since 2009. The need for change was reflected in the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development’s Report to Parliament on the Legislative Review of the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act – March 2012. Key stakeholder groups like the First Nations Tax Administrators Association, the Canadian Property Tax Association and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association have endorsed the much needed improvements to the FMA proposed by the Commission.
FNTC Chief Commissioner C.T. (Manny) Jules welcomed the government’s announcement. “Over the last ten years, we have witnessed more and more First Nations moving away from the transfer dependency model that has stagnated First Nation communities and economies. We fully expect that the legislative improvements will mean we can provide better services to more First Nations who are achieving greater self-sufficiency, improving accountability, and attracting private investment for their economies.”
The First Nations Tax Commission is a shared governance organization established in 2005 under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA). Based in Kamloops, BC, the FNTC provides direct regulatory oversight for First Nation property taxation under the FMA, and an advisory function for First Nation property taxation under the Indian Act. Its principal functions include: working with First Nations to develop their property tax jurisdiction, reviewing and approving First Nation laws made under the FMA, and reviewing and recommending for Ministerial approval First Nation by-laws made under section 83 of the Indian Act.