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The mission of the First Nations Gazette is to provide a comprehensive source for First Nation legislation in Canada, including laws, by-laws and codes, and to provide a public notification service for matters affecting First Nations.
The First Nations Gazette has five core objectives:
⦁ To enhance the recognition of First Nation legislation through notice and publication;
⦁ To provide a comprehensive source for First Nation legislation with free, online access;
⦁ To encourage consistency in First Nation legislation through adherence to a Style Guide;
⦁ To provide an online public notification service for Aboriginal matters; and
⦁ To keep the costs of publication to a minimum.
Origins of the First Nations Gazette
On June 15, 1987, the Statutory Instruments Regulations were amended to exempt all by-laws passed by Indian band councils under sections 81, 83 and 85.1 of the Indian Act from the examination, publication and registration requirements of the Statutory Instruments Act (meaning by-laws would not be registered in the Canada Gazette). However, First Nations would be responsible for taking reasonable steps to provide notice of any by-laws, and to provide any person the right to inspect the by-law and obtain a copy.
The First Nations Gazette was developed by the Indian Taxation Advisory Board – the predecessor to the First Nations Tax Commission - as a response to the growing need to provide public notice of First Nation legislation as First Nations increasingly exercise and expand their legislative jurisdiction. The vision for the Gazette was to provide official notice of and access to First Nation laws, particularly those dealing with property taxation matters. Since its inception, the First Nations Gazette has enabled those engaged with reserve lands to access the governing First Nation’s property taxation legislation.
The First Nations Gazette was officially launched on June 21, 1997 (Aboriginal Day), and its inaugural issue was published that year by the Indian Taxation Advisory Board with the support of the Native Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. The First Nations Gazette published 18 printed volumes, as well as occasional special editions, until its transition to an exclusively electronic publication in 2014.
First published in 2009, the online edition provides a searchable database of First Nation laws, by-laws, and codes published in the First Nations Gazette. It also provides an online source for sample local revenue and financial administration laws under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, sample section 83 Indian Act by-laws, First Nations Tax Commission Standards and Procedures, and First Nations Financial Management Board Standards.
In 2014, the First Nations Gazette transitioned to an exclusively electronic publication. While the Gazette is no longer being printed or distributed in hard copy format, it can be accessed, free of charge, on the First Nations Gazette website at www.fng.ca.
Public Notification Service
In 2012, the First Nations Gazette launched a public notification service for First Nations wishing to provide public notice of proposed annual tax rates on the First Nations Gazette website. Notice of annual tax rates is required for all First Nations taxing under either the First Nations Fiscal Management Act or section 83 of the Indian Act.
Starting in 2013, the public notification service was expanded to allow other governments (federal, territorial, provincial and municipal), institutions, corporations, law firms and individuals to use the First Nations Gazette public notification service.
Find out more about the Public Notification Service.
The First Nations Gazette Today
The First Nations Tax Commission is mandated, pursuant to section 34(2) of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, to publish the First Nations Gazette. The First Nations Tax Commission publishes the Gazette with the support of the Native Law Centre, and its publication is governed by an Editorial Board appointed by the Commission.
The First Nations Gazette is a dynamic source of information of First Nations law for First Nation governments, their members and the public. It has been well received and used in First Nation and legal circles, by the public and in the courts. Federal statutes have increasingly identified the First Nations Gazette as the official vehicle for notification and publication.
The First Nations Gazette is divided into three Parts:
Part I is the Public Notification Service. First Nation governments and others may post notices in the First Nations Gazette using this service.
Part II is the register of First Nation legislation. The legislation contained in Part II includes laws required by federal statute to be published in the First Nations Gazette, and other laws, by-laws and codes enacted by First Nations and submitted to the First Nations Gazette for publication. The legislation published in Part II can be accessed and downloaded individually through a searchable database, or can be viewed as a consolidated digital volume that is updated monthly. All legislation is published in the exact form in which it was submitted to the Gazette, in order to preserve its integrity.
Part III contains documents related to First Nation law-making, including standards, procedures, policies, sample laws and sample by-laws established by First Nations Fiscal Management Act Institutions, and First Nation government policies. The documents in Part III can be accessed and downloaded through a searchable database.
First Nations Gazette Style Guide
The First Nations Gazette Style Guide provides general guidelines for the preparation and drafting of First Nation laws and by-laws to be published in the First Nations Gazette. All sample laws and by-laws, policies, procedures, and standards established by the First Nations Tax Commission are formatted in accordance with the Style Guide prior to publication in the First Nations Gazette.
First Nations are encouraged to consult the Style Guide for information on all aspects of editorial style to ensure consistency and clarity in the drafting of First Nation laws and by-laws.