Statement - Taking The First Nations Financial Transparency Act One Step Further Toward Accountable and Transparent First Nation Governments

OTTAWA, July 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, issued the following statement today:

"First Nations, like all Canadians, deserve transparency and accountability from their elected officials. That is why the Government of Canada introduced the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which received Royal Assent in 2013. This Act is one example of how our Government is taking action to ensure First Nations have access to information detailing how public funds are spent in their communities. It also is a further step in our commitment to encourage transparency and accountability in First Nations governance, and does not increase reporting requirements.

July 29, 2014, will mark another important date on the road toward the goal of improved governance. In accordance with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, First Nations defined as Indian Bands under the Indian Act are now required to publish their audited consolidated financial statements and schedules of remuneration and expenses of Chiefs and Councillors on the Internet. This is consistent with generally accepted accounting rules that already apply to government-owned businesses across Canada, and reporting requirements for Members of Parliament under the Parliament of Canada Act and the Salaries Act.

First Nations community members will not have to request the information through Band offices, but still have the option to do so. With increased access to basic financial information, community members can make more informed decisions about the financial management and reporting of their elected officials.

It is important to note that this is not a new requirement and does not increase the reporting burden of First Nations. First Nations are already required to produce annual consolidated financial statements which are audited by independent accredited professional auditors and schedules of remuneration and expenses for Chiefs and Councillors, as part of their funding agreements with AANDC.

Work toward the government's goal of reducing the administrative burden is already well underway and we continue to make progress. The Act is also helping to encourage investment, economic development and growth, by creating a better environment for private sector investment, which strengthens the foundation necessary for the long-term prosperity in First Nation communities across the country.

First Nations that have yet to submit their audited consolidated financial statements and schedules of remuneration and expenses for Chiefs and Councillors are encouraged to submit the documents as soon as possible. My department will continue to post as the documents are received. "

Additional Links

First Nations Financial Transparency Act
Frequently Asked Questions: First Nations Financial Transparency Act
First Nations Profiles – Audited Consolidated Financial Statements and Schedule of Remuneration and Expenses
Reducing the Administrative Burden of First Nations
Questions and Answers Related to the First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA)

This statement is available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

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SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

For further information: Minister's Office, Erica Meekes, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, 819-953-1160