New legislative changes improve First Nations access to lands and financial resources

New legislative changes will support self-determination for First Nations communities and provide better access to lands and financial resources. The Government of Canada is committed to the recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights.

The approval of Bill C-86 brings important:

It also creates new legislation:

These changes, which received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018 will:

Changes to the First Nations Land Management Act

The First Nations Land Management Act, which reflects changes to the Framework Agreement on First Nations Land Management, allows First Nations to opt out of 40 sections of the Indian Act relating to land management. This enables First Nations to develop their own laws about land use, environment and natural resources and to take advantage of economic development opportunities with their new land management authorities.

New changes in effect

  • First piece of federal legislation enacted to reference Canada's endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • First Nations have greater control of their monies when their land code comes into force.
  • First Nations can now manage jointly held reserves under land code.
  • Employees of First Nations with land codes in force now have protections in legislation, such as limiting personal liability in the conduct of their duties.
  • First Nations communities have greater control over the voting process to approve their land code.

Expected results

  • an increased number of First Nations that opt-in to First Nations land management
  • enhanced self-determination for signatory First Nations
  • greater administrative efficiencies and streamlining
  • addresses some of the concerns expressed by First Nations and organizations
  • strengthens the relationship between Canada and First Nations and advances federal reconciliation efforts

Changes to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act

This optional legislation provides First Nations with national institutional support and tools to strengthen the fiscal governance of their communities and build their economies. This includes a framework to exercise jurisdiction in local taxation and financial management that also provides access to long-term financing at preferred rates.

New changes in effect

  • Institutional authorities are clarified and liability protections for First Nations fiscal institutions are strengthened.
  • Regulatory authority for taxation on joint reserves is now addressed.
  • First Nations can access certain services offered by the Financial Management Board without being scheduled to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act.
  • The First Nations Finance Authority can provide its investment services to a broader clientele.
  • First Nations have increased flexibility regarding the replenishment of the debt reserve fund.
  • Indigenous organizations delivering public services, such as health or education services, can access this support.
  • First Nations may access and manage their Indian moneys after a successful vote by their communities.

Expected results

  • increase the number of First Nations financial performance certifications
  • increase the number of borrowing members
  • increase the number of property-taxing First Nations and annual First Nations property tax revenues
  • enable more First Nations to transition out of default management

Addition of Lands to Reserves and Reserve Creation Act

This new legislation, which came into force on August 27, 2019 facilitates the setting apart of reserve land for the use and benefit of First Nations and the addition of land to reserves.

New legislation

  • All First Nations will have access to the same procedural tools currently available in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
  • All Additions to Reserve will be approved by Ministerial Order rather than by Governor in Council.
  • All First Nations will have the option to designate or zone the land prior to transfer and facilitate the transfer of third-party interests, through the issuance of leases or permits, prior to the lands being added. This will increase viable economic development opportunities in First Nations communities.

Expected results

  • an increase in economic development opportunities through increased access to lands and resources
  • a streamlined process by providing additional procedural tools to create reserve land
  • more timely decisions through streamlined process

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