Sue Ellis, Finance Supervisor, Akisqnuk First Nation.

Why did you sign up to take the Certificate in First Nation Taxation Administration Program?

The role of tax administrator fell into my lap after our Sr. Finance Officer left. I didn’t know what I was doing the first year and am so thankful for all the help that I received from Nicole Casimel at TAS, Marie Potvin and Tracey Simon at FNTC. I could NOT have done it without these ladies’ help. So for others out there that are thrown into the role, there is so much help available from the First Nations institutions…USE IT! That’s what they are there for.

What are your thoughts on the program and your biggest takeaway? 

  • There is help out there! Take advantage of all the expertise to better your First Nation.
  • The first class laid out the foundation of why First Nations are where they are, which is very eye opening from an outsider’s perspective.
  • There are many opportunities on the horizon for First Nations to exert their jurisdictions and start collecting more of their own revenues. There were many laws that we worked through and now I have my own templates, briefing notes, and notices already done for when those opportunities arise in my community. Thanks for preparing us in advance!
  • Share information with other First Nation communities and stop trying to re-invent the wheel. It’s great to hear about where other communities are from starting out with no laws, to those that have numerous ones already in place and are having successes.
  • The Tulo Centre has great instructors that are super knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. Also, they were very entertaining, down to earth and understanding.

How will your First Nation benefit from you having this certificate? 

If there are new opportunities that our First Nation pursues, I will have the confidence and knowledge to address the taxation perspectives. I will also have more confidence to speak up about future developments, ask questions and disagree with the project if I don’t think that it is financially feasible.

Any final thoughts? 

If possible, every First Nation should have one of their staff attend this course as it teaches them not only about the taxation opportunities, it allows them to meet people from other First Nations to share ideas and knowledge, which is truly valuable. It also shows them what is available for help and maybe it will get them thinking about ways they can help their First Nation with new economic opportunities and how important it is to plan for the future. Thank you so much!

Sue Ellis (far left) shown above with her classmates in front of Thompson Rivers University.