Canada prepared to battle over First Nations finances

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt is prepared to go to court over First Nations who have not complied with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt is prepared to go to court over First Nations who have not complied with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.

Yukon’s unsigned First Nations have until today to submit 2014-15 financial data.

“Let me be clear, our government will take action, according to the provisions of the law, against First Nation governments that do not follow the law,” Valcourt said in a statement Tuesday.

“Those First Nation band councils which fail to comply by the deadline will receive several formal reminders.

“Beginning Sept. 1, 2015, bands that have yet to comply with the law will see funding for non-essential services withheld. Further actions may include seeking court orders to compel compliance.”

The transparency act has been in place for about a year. According to the federal government, in the first year 98 per cent of First Nations complied and released financial information to the public.

In the Yukon, the Liard First Nation has so far ignored the new legal requirements. The First Nation in Watson Lake has not submitted any information for 2013-2014 or 2014-2015.

Calls to the First Nation about whether they are prepared to go to court over the issue were not returned.

Ottawa appointed a third party manager, Ganhada Management Group, to straighten out the First Nation’s finances back in late August.

All the other unsigned Yukon First Nations complied with the law last year. But as of this morning the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website didn’t have 2014-2015 information for any of them yet.

“The department publishes these documents as soon as possible after the First Nation has provided them or they are published,” the website says.

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