The First Nation Applied Economics (FNAE) program and its students are leaders in understanding how markets work on Indigenous lands. Graduates of this program are prepared to manage high level economic development projects.  

The Tulo Centre, along with the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) and Thompson Rivers University (TRU), have created a working relationship to develop an accredited certificate program in First Nation Applied Economics.

The First Nation Applied Economics Certificate provides foundational knowledge and skills to assist in the development of First Nation economic infrastructure, in particular the residential and commercial developments. 

The program will be of interest to people in First Nation economic development roles; those doing business with First Nations; and local, provincial or federal government employees involved with First Nation development.

 Upon successful completion of this program, students are able to:

  • Apply basic microeconomic and macroeconomic principles to problems in First Nation economic development.
  • Discuss issues in First Nation economics as they relate to market failure and poverty.
  • Conduct an economic feasibility and impact analysis of a development project on First Nation lands.
  • Design and execute a successful residential and commercial property development plan.
  • Promote and facilitate investment activity on First Nations lands by reducing the high transaction costs associated with private and public investment.
  • Prepare and present reports relating to investment proposals.

Learning Options

The First Nation Applied Economic Certificate is a joint initiative of the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics, the First Nations Tax Commission and Thompson Rivers University (TRU).  

These courses are offered as one-week intensive seminars and are led by an experienced Tulo Centre instructor. Class sizes are small and students benefit greatly from extensive interaction with their instructor and other students who share the common goal of promoting economic development on First Nation lands.  


 To be admitted to the program, students  are recommended to have:

  • C+ or better in Principles of Mathematics 11 or MATH 0510 or MATH 0523 or equivalent
  • English 12/English 12 First Peoples with a minimum of 73% (within the last 5 years); or level 5 on the compositions section of the Language Proficiency Index (LPI), with all other categories of the LPI at a minimum of 70% (within the last 2 years); or satisfactory completion of the TRU English Assessment (ACCUPLACER) at the university entrance level; or completion of ENGL 0600 or ENGL 0061 with a grade of C+ or better; or completion of ESAL 0570 and ESAL 0580 with a grade of C+ or better
  • Basic computer literacy with exposure to word processing and spreadsheet application software

Students who do not meet the requirements can be admitted on a conditional basis.  They can enroll in ECON 1221 or APEC 2640 while at the same time upgrading their math, English and/or computer skills.

Students can upgrade their math skills by taking MATH 0510 (campus) or MATH 0523 (distance); their English skills by taking ENGL 0600 (campus) or ENGL 0061 (distance); or their computing skills by taking COMP 040 and COMP 050 (campus) or MIST 2610 (distance).  Equivalents courses from other colleges or universities can be substituted, but students should contact a program advisor before enrolling to ensure they are equivalent.

Certificate Requirements

  1. ECON 1221: Introduction to Basic Economics
  2. APEC 2630: Issues in Aboriginal Economics
  3. ENGL 1101or CMNS 1811 or ENGL 1021
    • Introduction to University Writing or
    • Business, Professional and Academic Composition or
    • Composition and Indigenous Literature in Canada
  4. APEC 2640: Residential and Commercial Development on First Nations Lands
  5. APEC 2650: Investment Facilitation on First Nation Lands
  6. APEC 2660: Resource Development on First Nation Lands
  7. APEC 2670: First Nation Fiscal Relationship and Economic Development
  8. APEC 2700: Economic Feasibility and Impact Analysis on First Nations Lands

Course Descriptions 

Issues in Aboriginal Economics (APEC 2630)

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the First Nations’ economic issues. Examples of the types of issues that will be covered are: 1) what are the economic reasons for First Nations’ poverty? 2) why are there so many incidents of market failures within First Nations? 3) is there an economic rationale for implementing First Nations’ rights and title? and 4) is a third order of government economically feasible for First Nations? This course will benefit the student interested in First Nations’ issues, the student interested in working with First Nations, and any student interested in international trade or business ventures where indigenous interests may be involved. 
Pre-requisite: ECON 122 or ECON 190 or ECON 195 (grades of C- or better), or permission of the instructor 

Residential and Commercial Development on First Nation Lands (APEC 2640)

Students examine residential and commercial development on First Nation lands, using the Indian Act, the First Nation Fiscal Management Act (FMA), and the First Nation Land Management Act (FNLMA). Some of the legal, administrative, and financing infrastructure gaps in the Indian Act that inhibit residential and commercial development are highlighted, and strategies to overcome these legal barriers are explored. Topics include investment on First Nation lands; First Nation property rights; land management and development on First Nations lands; and a case study in First Nations development negotiations.
Pre-requisites: None 

Investment Facilitation on First Nation Lands (APEC 2650)

Students study the interests of public and private investors and what can be done to attract investment  on First Nation lands. Given that is it four to six times more expensive to facilitate investment for First Nation projects, emphasis is placed on solutions to reduce investment
transaction costs. Topics include transaction costs and economic growth; the legal and administrative framework to facilitate investment; building infrastructure; and creating an
investment facilitation work plan.
Pre-requisite: ECON 122  or ECON 1221
Co-requisite: APEC 2630  


In this course students will examine the fiscal and economic impacts on First Nations of existing or proposed resource projects within their territories. It also covers how First Nations can successfully negotiate agreements and mediate disputes to maximize the benefit of these agreements for their communities. Topics include an introduction to resource economics; fiscal and economic impacts of resource projects; environmental review of resource projects; and resource project interest-based negotiation and dispute resolution. The course incorporates examples and case studies of actual First Nation resource agreements and disputes. It culminates in a First Nation resource project negotiation simulation and role play. 
Pre-requisite: APEC 165 or APEC 166 or APEC 264 or APEC 265


Students will examine how current First Nation fiscal relationships limit economic growth and development in their communities and the changes that can be made to current public finance policies and systems to address this concern. Students will be introduced to the key knowledge and skills necessary to participate in negotiating a new First Nation fiscal relationship and to help successfully implement it in their communities. Topics include public finance in Canada; the history of the First Nation fiscal relationship; problems with the First Nation fiscal relationship; options to improve the First Nation fiscal relationship; and First Nation and other government public finance and fiscal interests. The capstone of the course is a First Nation fiscal relations negotiation simulation and role play. 
Pre-requisite: ECON 1220 or both ECON 1900 and ECON 1950

Economic Feasibility and Impact Analysis on First Nation Lands (APEC 2700)

Students examine cost–benefit analysis and how it can be used to evaluate the economic
feasibility and impact of investments on First Nations lands. Knowledge and skills relating to the
time value of money and basic statistical concepts will be developed. Topics include the investment climate and economic strategies; fiscal benefits estimates; estimating economic impacts of  investment; cost-benefit analysis fundamentals; and presentation of a cost-benefit assessment.
Pre-requisite: Grades of C+ or better in Math 11 or Applications of Math 12, or MATH 051, or equivalent; ECON 122 (grade of C- or better) or ECON 190 or ECON 195 (grade of C- or better)