Understanding the FMA Notice Requirements

All local revenue laws (e.g. laws enacted under section 5(1) of the FMA) enacted under the FMA are subject to public notice requirements, except delegation laws.  The specific requirements that apply vary depending on the type of local revenue law the First Nation intends to enact.

 There are two sources for the specific notice requirements that will apply:

  •  Sections 6 and 7 of the FMA, and

  • The Commission Standards Respecting Notices Relating to Local Revenue Laws, 2018.

Section 6 and 7 FMA

Section 6 of the FMA requires a First Nation to notice of a proposed law at least 30 days before the law is enacted by Chief and Council.  The First Nation creates a “section 6 notice” that:

  •  describes the proposed law,

  • states where a copy of the law can be obtained,

  • invite representations regarding the proposed law to be made, in writing, to the council within the 30 day period, and

  • if the council is to review the law at a meeting, state the time and place of the meeting.

 The First Nation must

  •  publish the section 6 notice in the First Nations Gazette,

  • post the section 6 notice in a public place on the reserve, and

  • send or email the section 6 notice to the Commission.

 After the 30 day notice period, Chief and Council can then enact the law, but they must first consider any representations that were made to them in writing or at a meeting held to review the law.

Section 7 then provides for a further process that applies if the First Nation received written representations under the section 6 process.  If written representations were received, the First Nation must

  •  provide a copy of the enacted law to each person who made a written representation on the law, and

  • invite those persons to make written representations to the Commission within 30 days after the day on which they receive a copy of the law.

In reviewing the law for approval, the Commission will first consider any representations made to it under section 7.

The requirements in section 6 and 7 of the FMA do not apply to all local revenue laws.  These requirements apply only to

  • property tax laws,

  • property assessment laws,

  • development cost charges laws,

  • service tax laws,

  • business activity tax laws,

  • property transfer tax laws,

  • fee laws, and

  • taxpayer representation to council to laws.

The Commission Standards Respecting Notices Relating to Local Revenue Laws, 2018

The Commission Standards Respecting Notices Relating to Local Revenue Laws, 2018 (the “Notice Standards”) create notification requirements that apply when a First Nation is making a local revenue law under the FMA.  The requirements created by the Notice Standards

  •  are in addition to the requirements set out in sections 6 and 7 of the FMA,

  • create different requirements for different types of local revenue laws, and

  • apply to making a new law and to amending or repealing an existing law.  

exemptions from notice requirements

Under section 6(2) of the FMA, a First Nation can ask the Commission for an exemption from the notice requirements of section 6 for an amendment to an existing law.  If the Commission exempts the First Nation from the notice requirements in section 6 of the FMA for that amending law, the First Nation is automatically exempted from the requirements in the Notice Standards.  No additional exemption request is required.

Compliance with notice requirements

Every First Nation needs to comply with sections 6 and 7 of the FMA and the applicable parts of the Notice Standards when making a law under section 5(1) of the FMA.  When a First Nation submits a law for review and approval to the Commission, the Commission will confirm that the First Nation complied with the Notice Standards as part of its review of the law.