Government Reinstating Frozen Funding to Band Councils That Did Not Disclose Expenses under FNFTA

December 21, 2015

Government Reinstating Frozen Funding to Band Councils That Did Not Disclose Expenses under FNFTA

 

Owen Sound, ON – Larry Miller, Member of Parliament for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, is disappointed to learn that the Government will be reinstating transfer payments to band councils that did not publicly disclose the salaries of Chiefs and Band Councillors as was required by the First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA).

 

On December 18th, the Honourable Carolyn Bennet, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, announced that the Government will be reinstating all funds that were frozen for non-compliance with the FNFTA. Furthermore, the Minister announced that the Government is also halting compliance measures that would require bands to post financial information online.

 

As of the date of the announcement, 38 of 581 First Nations bands had yet to file the required financial information. The FNFTA is seen as an important measure for indigenous peoples living on reserves to hold their band leadership to account. For example, the FNFTA exposed financial information on Chief Ron Geisbrecht of the Kwikwetlem First Nation. The band learned that their Chief earned $914,000 that year which included an $800,000 bonus. The band is consequently taking legal action against Geisbrecht.

 

“The First Nations Financial Transparency Act is an important piece of legislation that our Government brought in to ensure that there was accountability and transparency surrounding funding that is to be used on reserves,” said Miller. “I am very disappointed that the Government is taking this course of action. Reinstating these frozen funds makes this legislation toothless.”

 

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