Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), there were 214 first nations that provided a written expression of interest by the July 13, 2018 deadline. As of October 15, 2018, a total of 252 first nations had submitted a written expression of interest.
With regard to (b), the First Nations Financial Management Board has not yet completed its assessment of the first nations who sent in an expression of interest.
With regard to (c), the breakdown of eligible first nations by province or territory is not yet known. The number of first nations who expressed interest in the 10-year grant is distributed by province or territory as follows: Alberta, 17; British Columbia, 88; Manitoba, 30; New Brunswick, 8; Newfoundland and Labrador, 3; Nova Scotia, 11; Northwest Territories, 2; Ontario, 45; Prince Edward Island, 2; Quebec, 14; Saskatchewan, 32.
With regard to (d), under the 10-year grant, measures for accountability to first nation members are codified in the financial administration law, FAL, or financial administration bylaw, FAB, of the first nation and reinforced in the funding agreement. First nations must enact and maintain a FAL or FAB in order to be eligible and to maintain eligibility for a 10-year grant.
Under a FAL/FAB, the first nation must have a policy for first nation information or involvement. The council must establish such a policy and/or procedures or give directions respecting the means by which members of the first nation must be informed about or involved in consideration of the following: the annual budget; the multi-year financial plan; and budget deficits or extraordinary expenditures. Additionally, the council must post a public notice of each council meeting when each of the following is presented for approval: the multi-year financial plan; the annual budget; and amendments to the annual budget. Members of the first nation may attend that part of the council meeting when the matters referred to in the above are being considered.
With regard to (e), under the 10-year grant compliance measures are replaced by practices that strengthen first nations governance and empower first nation citizens to hold their leaders accountable. This includes ongoing monitoring of the co-developed eligibility criteria for 10-year grants by the First Nation Financial Management Board. This monitoring would include an assessment of the adequacy of reporting to band members as per the reporting provisions codified in the first nation’s financial administration law, FAL, or financial administration bylaw, FAB. On an annual basis, the First Nations Financial Management Board will report the results of their assessment of eligibility criteria to ISC. ISC will support the first nations to remediate any issues related to maintaining eligibility for 10-year grant, including the reporting mechanisms for accountability.
With regard to (f), from October 11 to November 20, 2017, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, INAC, and the AFN met on nine occasions with first nations leaders and technical experts around the country to seek their input on options to address predictability of funding, sufficient funding for program delivery, and mutual accountability. The feedback from participants on their priorities and major concerns were considered and reflected in the report entitled, “A new approach: Co-development of a new fiscal relationship between Canada and First Nation”. The Assembly of First Nations presented this report to all first nations chiefs in attendance at Assembly of First Nations’ special chiefs assembly in Ottawa, on December 6, 2017. Department of Indigenous Services Canada officials continue with ongoing co-development work related to the 10-year grant with both the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Financial Management Board. Beginning in January 2018, Indigenous Services Canada staff participated in a number of information sessions across many regions to provide first nations participants with more information about the grant.