Thank you, Madam Chair.
Kwe Kwe. Tansi. Unusakut. Good day to you all.
Before I begin, I want to acknowledge our presence on the unceded territory of the Algonquin people. As well, I want to thank MP Schmale for the recent motion in the House to move things along. It's truly appreciated from this side of government.
Madam Chair and honourable committee members, thank you for inviting me today to provide an overview of Bill C-45, a legislation that would amend the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. The legislation, as you know, seeks to support indigenous self-determination and economic reconciliation.
The FNFMA supports communities in exercising jurisdiction of their financial management, property taxation and local revenues, and in financing infrastructure and economic developments. The proposed amendments to the legislation before the committee for study were co-developed by the first nations-led institutions established under the act: First Nations Tax Commission, First Nations Financial Management Board, and First Nations Finance Authority, in addition to the First Nations Infrastructure Institute's development board.
Since coming into force in 2006, the First Nations Fiscal Management Act has considerably increased the welfare as well as the economic and community development and self‑determination of over 350 participating first nations in the country.
As the leaders of the institutions told you on Monday, the amendments proposed in bill C‑45 seek to eliminate certain impediments to the economic development of indigenous communities with the goal of increasing the support and tools given to participating communities in the area of fiscal and infrastructure management.
The most important aspect of bill C‑45 is the fact that it creates a new entity, the First Nations Infrastructure Institute or FNII, which will help first nations and other interested indigenous groups, including Métis and Inuit partners, by providing them with the necessary tools, competencies and best practices to assert their jurisdiction in the area of infrastructure and asset management.
The Infrastructure Institute will help participating indigenous groups plan, acquire, own and manage infrastructure on their land.
You heard on Monday from Allan Claxton and Jason Calla of the first nations-led development board and technical working group for the First Nations Infrastructure Institute, or FNII. They have set up pilot projects across Canada that have helped to identify different service requirements to inform development of processes, standards and organizational designs for the FNII. It will, for example, support infrastructure services transfer to new indigenous organizations like the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority.
Another one of those pilot projects is with the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation in southern Ontario. Through this project, the first nation is developing a feasibility study, business case and procurement options for water and waste-water assets. They are also developing a financial model that incorporates First Nations Fiscal Management Act tools that can be used for cost recovery to support water and waste-water treatment projects and infrastructure projects, which are so crucial to economic development and to the well-being of their communities. The work is supporting Kettle and Stony Point's community vision for wealth creation, focusing on the creation of an economy for the community and its members to build housing, education and recreation spaces.
The establishment of the FNII and the success of Kettle and Stony Point are further supported by other amendments put forward in Bill C-45.
The First Nations Tax Commission's mandate would be modernized to better support first nations with their local revenue systems, to strengthen education and capacity supports, and to offer advice to self-governing first nations and other levels of government.
Meanwhile, the First Nations Financial Management Board, which helps first nations strengthen their local financial management regimes and borrow money, would see its mandate expanded so that they could offer services and certification standards to new clients, such as tribal councils and health or education authorities.
The last amendment I'd like to highlight would enhance data collection to enhance the institutions' capacity to support evidence-based planning and decision-making.
The amendments proposed in bill C‑45 are a tremendous opportunity for indigenous institutions to broaden and reinforce their mandates in order to reduce hurdles and improve access to capital and revenues, all the while supporting communities in their efforts to seek out and pursue economic development opportunities.
I look forward to answering your questions.
With that, I'm really looking forward to the questions from the committee.
Meegwetch. Thank you. Merci.