Thank you. I'm here to speak to clauses 385 to 414 regarding the First Nations Fiscal Management Act changes in front of you.
This act came into effect in 2006 and has established a strong framework for first nations who opted into the regime to implement taxation and fiscal management and to access long-term financing to meet their economic development and infrastructure needs. There are three first nation institutions that operate under this act. We refer to these as the fiscal institutions. They include the First Nations Financial Management Board, the First Nations Finance Authority and the First Nations Tax Commission.
This act, like the First Nations Land Management Act, is optional. However, more than one-third of first nations across the country have chosen to exercise their fiscal powers under this regime. That's 239 first nations and soon to be 266 first nations.
These amendments are mainly administrative but they are important to the continued evolution of the regime. These were developed in partnership with our first nation fiscal institutions in order to improve their daily operations and respond to the needs of their member first nations.
Budget 2018 committed an additional $50 million over five years, with $11 million ongoing for these institutions to expand their operations nationally. These changes will help them do so.
I would like to give you a few concrete examples of what these amendments will achieve.
There are bijural concerns with the current act. This means that there are inconsistencies between the civil law and common law concepts that speak to rights and interests on reserve lands. These must be addressed in order to ensure national consistency, particularly as we implement in Quebec.
There is a need to strengthen the liability protections for the institutions and their staff as their work continues to evolve. For example, the financial management board is partnering with the Assembly of First Nations and the government to develop a new fiscal relationship. We need to ensure that this work is included.
There is a need for regulations for taxation on lands that are shared by more than one first nation. We refer to these as joint reserves. First nations under this regime want to be able to tax these lands. These amendments will help them do that.
To continue to evolve the regime, there is also a need for regulations to enable aggregate indigenous organizations delivering public services to be able to access the regime to meet their infrastructure needs. For example, the First Nation Health Authority in British Columbia, which delivers health services to all the first nations in that province, has asked for access to the regime for this purpose.
Finally, these amendments will enable first nations under this regime to access their Indian monies upon a successful vote by their communities. These are monies held by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of first nations.
In summary, this regime is optional and first nation-led. These amendments are mostly administrative. They are clarifying language, addressing operational issues for the fiscal institutions and their members, and expanding access to those who have asked for access to the regime.
I'm open for questions.