• August 1, 2014 10:13 PM
  • - Legal

Message sent on behalf of Chief Bryce Williams, Tsawwassen First Nation

TSAWWASSEN, BC, Aug. 1, 2014 /CNW/ -

Dear Editor,

In an article published on August 1st regarding salaries for Chief and Councillors of Indian Act First Nations, the Vancouver Sun stated that "First Nations with comprehensive self-government agreements or treaties, such as the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN), aren't required to post the financial information online".  That statement requires some additional explanation.

Under the Tsawwassen Final Agreement, TFN has jurisdiction with respect to its financial management. TFN's Government Organization Act, which is posted online as with all Tsawwassen Laws, sets out a process for salary determination and annual increases.  Our twelve elected Legislators, who meet in two month-long sessions per year, receive a $7,500 stipend per annum. Our four Executive Council members, who meet weekly and have various other duties of elected officials, receive a salary based on an independent report completed in 2009, which is required by the Act to compare responsibilities with 'persons having similar authority and responsibility elsewhere in British Columbia'. Those rates are adjusted annually based on a schedule to that Act, which relies on CPI from the previous year.  In the last fiscal year, the salary for Executive Council was $26,834, and the salary for the Chief was $68,926, in addition to their stipend as members of the Tsawwassen Legislature. As a small community, we allow TFN Government staff to also serve as elected official. Where that is the case, based on a recommendation in the 2009 independent report, we reduce the elected salary by 50% to reflect the dual role, and maintain the same staff salary. TFN's Government has asked for an updated independent report on salaries, after 5 years of self-government. That report is currently underway and due to be reported to the Legislature – in a public meeting – in the fall of 2014.

We also have an economic development corporation, which is a separate legal entity governed by a Board of Directors, appointed by Executive Council.  I serve on the Board, as well as one other member of Executive Council.  We receive a per-meeting honorarium of $300.  To date, I have not accepted that honorarium. 

TFN's annual audit includes a separate schedule of actual salaries, remuneration, and other benefits, including expenses, received by our Chief and Executive Council.  This schedule is included with the complete audited financial statements that are provided to every TFN Member as part of our Annual Report on TFN Government, by mail and at our Annual General Meeting.  Further, we post a summary of our financial statements on our website as part of the publication of the Annual Report.  

TFN is absolutely committed to transparency to our Members.  Our Treaty, which restored self-government to TFN after over 150 years of Indian Act authority, restored accountability linkages to their appropriate place: our Members, who elect us, and whom we are proud to represent. Our Laws, Regulations, and Policies give full and meaningful effect to that commitment. 

Hay čxʷ q̓a
Thank You

Chief Bryce Williams

SOURCE Tsawwassen First Nation

For further information: Tanya Corbet, Tsawwassen First Nation, Office: 604-948-5205, Email: tcorbet@tsawwassenfirstnation.com