The First Nations Infrastructure Institute marked an important milestone toward its official formation with the introduction March 23 of amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. Some amendments will formally establish the institute under the Act as a First Nations-led organization that will support interested First Nations and other Indigenous groups and organizations with the tools, capacity and best practices to support sustainable infrastructure and asset management.
“We know that infrastructure needs are great across Canada, and we believe that working with FNII will support First Nations and Indigenous groups to advance their projects,” said Allan Claxton, Chair of the First Nations Infrastructure Institute Development Board. “This is the stuff I’ve dreamt about in my 20 years as Chief for my community.”
The Institute’s Development Board has held discussions across the country about the concept of the First Nations Infrastructure Institute, the needs of communities, and how a national First Nations-led institution could support existing and future regional organizations improve infrastructure outcomes for First Nations.
With the input from these discussions, the Development Board helped develop the proposed amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act that will establish the Institute. There are also amendments co-developed by the Government of Canada and the three 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 creating the First Nations Infrastructure Institute, the amendments aim to expand and strengthen the mandates of the First Nations Tax Commission and the First Nations Financial Management Board to reduce barriers and enhance access to capital and resources, and to support communities as they explore and advance economic development opportunities.
The First Nations Infrastructure Institute is already providing services to interested First Nations and other Indigenous organizations. It does so with administrative support from the First Nations Tax Commission, the guidance of the interim Development Board, and the work of a technical team of advisors. Following its formal creation, the Institute will appoint a Board of Directors and hire staff members.
Organizations that want to explore how FNII might work with them are invited to book an introductory workshop – in person or online – by emailing email@example.com or calling toll-free 1-855-682-3682.
Services are free and First Nations do not need to be “scheduled” – that is, formally participating in the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. FNII’s services are available to any Indigenous organization in Canada.
Behind the scenes: Allan Claxton, Chair of the First Nations Infrastructure Institute Development Board (left) and Harold Calla, Executive Chair, First Nations Financial Management Board, participate in a virtual consultation session about proposed amendments to the First Nations Fiscal Management Act.
The First Nations Fiscal Management Act seeks to advance Indigenous self-determination and economic reconciliation. Under the Act, First Nations can exercise jurisdiction over property taxation and financial management, and gain access to capital, which results in increasing their revenues, improved socio-economic conditions in their communities and opportunities to advance their visions of self-determination. Since the adoption of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, 342 First Nations have chosen to participate under the Act, leading to the creation of jobs, the development of new and sustainable sources of revenues, and an overall strengthening of First Nations economies.
The First Nations Tax Commission assists First Nations governments in exercising their jurisdiction over local revenue systems and promoting and supporting positive relationships between First Nations and their taxpayers.
The First Nations Financial Management Board assists First Nations in strengthening their local financial management regimes to support good governance.
The First Nations Finance Authority provides First Nation governments with investment options, capital planning advice, and access to long-term loans with preferable interest rates.