First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act

First Nations can work with provinces and the Government of Canada on the development of federal regulations that support large-scale or complex projects on reserve lands.

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About First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act

The First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA) is an effective tool in addressing regulatory gaps for projects taking place on reserve lands, which can be a significant barrier to economic development.

Regulatory gaps exist where provincial regulatory regimes that relate to a proposed land use do not apply to reserve lands, and existing federal laws that apply to reserve lands do not fully address that particular commercial or industrial development.

FNCIDA gives the federal government the ability to create a regulatory regime that clarifies and simplifies the rules for controlling an on-reserve project that is complex in nature. Regulations developed using the act ensure that environmental, health and safety, and other impacts of commercial and industrial developments are effectively managed throughout the life of the project.

Regulations are a First Nation-driven, opt-in option available to support on-reserve economic opportunities.

How it works

FNCIDA allows provincial laws and regulations to be incorporated by reference into federal regulations for large-scale or complex projects on reserves.

Regulations apply only to specified reserve lands as requested by the First Nation.

A cooperation agreement between Canada, the First Nation, and the relevant province details the roles and responsibilities of the parties in the ongoing administration and enforcement of the FNCIDA regulations.

This approach helps bridge the gaps between federal, provincial and First Nation laws, increasing regulatory certainty, predictability, and enforceability.

Benefits of FNCIDA

Since its inception, six regulations have been developed using FNCIDA and have supported major economic projects across Canada such as the Fort William First Nation's sawmill.

The most recent FNCIDA regulations are the Squamish Nation Residential Tenancy Regulations (2023). These regulations adapt British Columbia's residential tenancy rules for application to the Sen̓áḵw multi-tower residential development and new Hiy̓ám Housing affordable housing developments on Squamish Nation reserve lands.

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