The constitutional recognition of the duty of consult with First Nations communities has resulted in major economic development opportunities. First Nations across Canada are aggressively seeking investors and industry partners to build better communities. In order to create an attractive investment climate, First Nations need a governance infrastructure that provides confidence for any investment partners.
Most First Nations governance models are built on these pillars:
- Culture & Traditions
- Election Process & Accountability of Leaders
- Land & Resources
- Finance Administration
The First Nations Financial and Statistical Management Act (“FSMA”) is the alternative to the Indian Act. The FSMA allows First Nation governments to build on existing structures by establishing financial administration laws. This is a marked change from the “by-law” Indian Act rules. First Nations who transition to the FSMA reap these benefits:
- Band governance based on financial administration laws
- Adoption of national standards created by First Nations for First Nations, supported by the First Nations Financial Management Board
- Ability to create a property tax jurisdiction on equal footing with municipalities and provincial governments through the First Nations Tax Commission
- Ability to raise long-term capital infrastructure funding at wholesale rates through the First Nations Finance Authority
- Provide a legal framework to maintain strong governance over successive leadership changes
The ability to maintain a strong and predictable governance infrastructure is critical to long-run sustainability. The challenge is to develop a governance model that provides trust and accountability in leaders and managers. The FSMA enables First Nations governments to meet the competitive challenges for economic independence.
2Badgers financial professionals are experienced in facilitating change and can help in the transition process. Implementing FSMA is a large undertaking that requires support and sponsorship at the Chief and Council level, and support of the Band members. Working with the Band community based team, 2Badgers can lead the project, provide the knowledge to inform and educate, support the change process and work on behalf of the Band with the Financial Management Board. Together, we can help build a strong First Nations community.