Indigenous demographics meets provincial fiscal reality

For the fourth year in a row Maclean’s presents its year-end Chartapalooza, your guide to making sense of the economy in the year ahead: The 91 most important economic charts to watch in 2018. Tulo Centre's Dr. Andre Le Dressay's chart (seen below) was included. 


"This chart is intended to show how two indigenous demographic facts are colliding with a looming Canadian fiscal reality. First, the indigenous population has grown 4.5 times faster than the rest of Canada in the last 10 years. Second, the indigenous labor force has grown 6.9 times faster over the same period. This contrast with the parliamentary budget office’s projection of an unstainable (for most provinces) 124 percentage increase in total provincial deficits over the next 20 years. This means first that the fiscal sustainability of Canada’s future social programs is rather dependent on the future productivity of the indigenous labor force. Second it means that the any increase in federal transfers to indigenous governments to catch up to national service standards is probably not fiscally sustainable given the future fiscal requirements of the provinces. As my colleague Greg Richard said, Canada can soon no longer afford to run the lives of indigenous people. Perhaps 2018 could be the indigenous policy fiscal tipping point for Canada. If this is correct than Canada should support a more jurisdiction based fiscal relationship with indigenous governments characterized by a connection between more independent indigenous fiscal powers and responsibilities. And Canada should shift more responsibilities to indigenous led institutions and governments over education, health, infrastructure, children and other services."

Hashtag Contest: Traditional Economies


Social Media contest in effect from 11/16/2017 to 11/30/2017. First Nations had economies prior to contact. Tell us about your community's traditional economies for a chance to win a $100 Best Buy gift card! 

Follow the Tulo Centre and tag us in your post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win! Increase your chances of winning by posting on each platform or by posting multiple times! Each post counts as an entry. Each tag (tag your family and friends) also counts as an extra entry. Bonus entries as well for posting photos (2 entries) and videos (5 entries). 


Webinar: Changes are coming to FMB’s Financial Performance Standards

Webinar – Changes are coming to FMB’s Financial Performance Standards
Date: November 22, 2017
Time: 10AM-11AM PST

Cost: Free


The First Nations Financial Management Board (“FMB”) is updating their Financial Performance Standards and has released an Exposure Draft outlining the proposed changes. This webinar is your chance to hear about the key features of the Exposure Draft and find out how you can have your say.
The Financial Performance Standards are the framework used by the FMB to assess First Nations’ financial performance and ultimately, their eligibility for Financial Performance Certification. The FMB recently completed a comprehensive review of its Financial Performance Standards with a particular focus on the ratios used in the assessment of financial performance. The Exposure Draft and the changes being proposed are the result of this review. The webinar will provide participants with an overview of the Financial Performance Standards, the changes being proposed in the Exposure Draft and the reasons for those changes.

The FMB is seeking your feedback on this Exposure Draft prior to amending its Financial Performance Standards. This input is critical in developing standards that are relevant to First Nations and responsive to their needs. Learn how you can provide your comments to the FMB during the webinar.

Please visit the Standard Setting page of FMB’s website to download a copy of the Exposure Draft and proposed changes to the C2 – Financial Performance Standards. An online questionnaire can be used to submit feedback.

Who should attend? This webinar is open to everyone and will be of particular interest to First Nations seeking a Financial Performance Certificate from the FMB, as well as those First Nations who have already received Financial Performance Certification from the FMB and are considering re-certification in the future. The webinar will also be of interest to First Nations’ advisors, auditors and financial institutions.

Podcast: Alliance For Renewing Indigenous Economies

In the past year, the Tulo Centre has been working with the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre at the University of Canterbury. Recently a delegation came from New Zealand to meet with the Tulo Centre to discuss the formalization of a working relationship between the two research centres. The Tulo Centre is pleased to bring you this conversation where Manny Jules, Te Maire Tau, Darren Russell and Rinito Davis discuss the creation of the Alliance for Renewing Indigenous Economies and the concept of Indigenous jurisdiction.

For more information on the Alliance: 

BC Workshop: Expanding FMA Tax Systems to Support a Jurisdiction Based Fiscal Relationship


Expanding FMA Tax Systems to Support a Jurisdiction Based Fiscal Relationship
Feb 15th, 2018 - Vancouver, BC

The workshop presented by the Tulo Centre and the First Nations Tax Commission focuses on expanding FMA tax systems to support a jurisdiction based fiscal relationship. It will discuss how the fiscal relationship impacts the independence of First Nation jurisdictions. Key topics covered include:

  • History of First Nation fiscal relationship
  • Problems with the current First Nation fiscal relationship
  • Proposals to improve the fiscal relationship
  • Opportunities to expand First Nation tax jurisdiction
    • FMA tax options
    • Resource taxes
    • Cannabis and Tobacco taxes
    • FNGST
  • A Jurisdiction Based Fiscal Relationship Proposal
  • Requirement and opportunities for a new fiscal relationship

This workshop is designed for First Nations and others interested in expanding their tax jurisdictions and working towards a jurisdiction based fiscal relationship. It may also be of interested to those participating in the AFN and INAC discussions about a new fiscal relationship.

Limited travel assistance available.

For more information or to register, please contact:

Lindsay Risling
250-828-9857 or toll-free 1-855-682-3682

Workshop: Implementing FMA Taxation Systems in Mik'maq and Maliseet Nations


Implementing FMA Taxation Systems in Mik'maq and Maliseet Nations
Jan 25th, 2018 - Halifax, NS

This workshop presented by the First Nations Tax Commission and the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics focuses on implementing First Nation Fiscal Management Act (FMA) taxation systems in Mik’maq and Maliseet Nations. The following topics will be covered:

  • Property Tax Jurisdictions
  • First Nations Fiscal Management Act
  • Sales Tax
  • Cannabis Tax
  • Tobacco Tax
  • Aboriginal Resource Tax
  • Taxation and New Fiscal Relationships.

This workshop is designed for First Nations currently taxing or interested in taxing in Mik’maq and Maliseet Nations. It will be an opportunity to discuss strategies to overcome challenges to implement tax jurisdiction, ensure the new fiscal relationship meets the requirements of First Nations and learn of new tax jurisdiction opportunities.

Limited travel assistance available.

For more information or to register, please contact:

Lindsay Risling
250-828-9857 or toll-free 1-855-682-3682

Register for the upcoming FNTAA 24th Annual National Forum

Each year the First Nations Tax Administrators Association (FNTAA) hosts an annual national forum on First Nation property taxation and related topics, which provides First Nation tax administrators an opportunity to stay informed in a field that is constantly changing.

This year’s forum is hosted by the Tsuu T’ina Nation at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino in Calgary, Alberta on October 3 and 4, 2017.

Conference delegates will enjoy an annual golf tournament and dinner reception, which will provide valuable networking opportunities with colleagues and professionals.

Workshops will cover the following topics:

  • Taxation 101
  • Tax Administration System (TAS) overview
  • Assessment Board Review process
  • How Lands and Taxation are connected
  • Using Property Tax for Economic Development
  • First Nation Success Stories

The forum will also include presentations from BC Assessment, the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics, the First Nations Finance Authority, the First Nations Financial Management Board and the First Nations Tax Commission.

The FNTAA Annual General Meeting and Board of Directors elections are also held each year at the forum and attendance also meets the professional development requirement for Certified First Nations Tax Administrator.

This forum is great for tax administrators, finance officers, lands managers, administrators, First Nation elected leadership, and lawyers and consultants who work with First Nations with property tax systems in place.

To learn more and to register, please visit

Tulo student profile: Jesse James, class of 2017 valedictorian

Shxw’ow’hamel First Nation’s tax administrator Jesse James was in the 2015/2016 cohort for the Certificate in First Nation Tax Administration and graduated from the program earlier this month. Three years ago, Jesse was hired by Shxw’ow’hamel as the band administrator and as the organization transitioned, he also began serving as the tax administrator. Jesse is a member of Peguis First Nation in Manitoba and has lived in BC for most of his life. Jesse was chosen by his fellow classmates as valedictorian for their cohort and delivered a speech at Tulo’s graduation dinner.

Recently Clearing the Path had the opportunity to sit down with Jesse to learn more about his experience as a tax administrator and as a student at the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics.

How did you first learn about the Tulo Centre and its programs?

The program description came across my desk and really interested me. When I started at Shxw’ow’hamel, we were transitioning from taxing using section 83 by-laws to taxation under the FMA. At the time, I didn’t fully understand how the tax system works or why we did things a certain way, so I jumped at the opportunity to strengthen my knowledge in that area.

It worked out great because all the course material I was working on, had just completed, or was preparing to do was all falling in-line with how our transition to the FMA was progressing at Shxw’ow’hamel.

How does your experience at Tulo relate to your work at Shxw’ow’hamel?

Understanding how the laws are made, and understanding the benefits of a budget-based tax system as opposed to using reference jurisdiction was invaluable. With a budget-based system, you have to actually think about the services you will be providing ahead of time rather than figuring out expenditures after the revenues start coming in. I learned more about how to think more like a government, and it was definitely helpful to be able to ask questions of the instructors who have an incredible depth of experience and expertise.

Through the courses, I began to see how taxes can be used to benefit, support and fund initiatives the community wants. You’re creating own-source revenue and your own laws to expend funds in ways that best serve your community. It allows the community to decide how they want to spend their money and where they want to focus their priorities. Just by having that, it provides a stronger sense of community and inclusiveness. At Shxw’ow’hamel, there’s a really good sense of community so having this system in place builds on that.

You are currently working toward earning a Certificate in First Nation Applied Economics. What made you want to pursue another certificate through the Tulo Centre?

The quality of instruction is great and I like the way the curriculum is presented. Tulo’s cohort model is community-minded and that seems to work well. You get a lot from the instructor but you also get a lot from the students in the class too. Everyone shares best practices and the lessons learned, both good and bad. When we can bring that knowledge back home, that makes all of our communities better.

There were students in our class from all areas of Canada, and you can really see the similarities even though we’re separated by provinces and legislation. The issues we face and the successes we have are so similar and to be able to rely on a whole group going through the same process, doing assignments and sending out an email or picking up the phone, it really helps to have that initial support. You want to see each other do well, so you’re going to reach out and give the support, offer and in some cases, seek support. It really works.

The Tulo programs showed me there’s a lot of different ways you can create own source revenue through development cost charges or having small developments. Currently Shxw’ow’hamel doesn’t have any residential leaseholds but if we did, we’d have to set that up in advance and it’s nice to have the theory behind it. By immediately applying the theoretical knowledge we’ve learned – I’ve been able to participate in some conversations with my fellow classmates on opportunities and issues they’re going through in their communities – it is so helpful in expanding my own understanding.

Shxw’ow’hamel is a proponent of two key FNTC initiatives: the Aboriginal Resource Tax and the Indigenous Land Title Initiative. Why does Shxw’ow’hamel support these initiatives?

We’re definitely interested in seeing both initiatives go forward. With the ART, I understand it’s been a concept for a while now so we are trying to gain momentum within the group of proponents and hopefully for all First Nations in Canada. It’s just one other source of revenue for First Nation governments and it’s going to make our economies stronger and more flexible.

It’s critical to our success to have own source revenue to do what you want on your land or to purchase more land. With setting up a land registry system through ILTI, we need First Nations exercising their jurisdiction in either taxation or land ownership, that’s the bottom line.

We’ve got momentum now, we just need to keep pushing forward.

In the News: Zuckerberg meets Native American poverty


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg visited the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana last weekend, and took to Facebook to shed light on how federal policies have failed Native Americans with the current state of reservation economies. READ MORE