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History of the First Nations Gazette

The First Nations Gazette (the Gazette) has been supporting the legal voice of First Nations for 20 years, and continues in its role supporting the emerging voice of First Nation self-determination.

Laws and regulations that govern the daily lives of Canadians are published in the Canada Gazette. The role of the Canada Gazette is to provide access to these laws and regulations, to engage citizens and to assist the private sector in meeting legal requirements. However, in 1987, the Canada Gazette made a rule that excluded First Nation by-laws from its publication.

Around this same time, many First Nations were accessing new legislative options that enabled them to enact their own by-laws - such as property taxation by-laws. First Nations were required to take steps to provide notice of by-laws and provide copies of by-laws on their own, without access to a Gazette that provided this service with ease and consistency.

It was clear that First Nation governments wanted a gazette to fulfill the responsibility of informing their communities and citizens. This was becoming increasingly important as more and more First Nations were exercising and expanding their jurisdictions. The Indian Taxation Advisory Board – the predecessor to the First Nations Tax Commission – began to explore options for the creation of the Gazette.

The original vision for the Gazette, which holds true today, was to support First Nations in their need to provide public notice and to transfer information regarding First Nation legislation. On Aboriginal Day in 1997, the Gazette officially launched through a partnership between the Indian Taxation Advisory Board and the Native Law Centre. First Nations now had a voice for their laws which helped to enforce their jurisdiction on the land and to inform their citizens of their laws.

First Nation governments have been pushing forward, gaining access to more jurisdictions and powers. With more power comes more responsibilities. Responsibilities for transparency, for services, for information, for taxpayers. First Nations not only understand this, they want this. Gazette’s success and longevity in part due to its recognition that First Nations want to ensure there is a reliable and easily accessible source of legal information available. Most importantly, First Nations publish their laws in the Gazette to support the enforcement and governance of their laws. Because of this, First Nations have been driving the Gazette forward, requesting services that have led to many of Gazettes technical innovations.

The Gazette has grown and evolved with First Nations, achieving two decades of innovation and steady growth. It was originally published as a traditional printed book published semi-annually to the online, free, state-of-the-art database of today that is updated daily. The Gazette is a comprehensive source for First Nation legislation in Canada, including current and archived laws, by-laws and other enactments, as well as providing a public notification service for matters affecting First Nations. The public notification service is also used by other governments (federal, territorial, provincial and municipal), institutions, corporations, law firms and individuals.

The Gazette is proud to be widely used and accessed for the past 20 years by First Nation governments, First Nation members and citizens, the public, the courts and legal professionals. Gazette’s steady use helps to ensure the Gazette will remain adaptable and relevant. As First Nations continue to expand their jurisdiction and take on more responsibilities, the Gazette looks forward to a future of transforming to reflect this expanding landscape.

Timeline

1987: First Nation by-laws were exempted from publication in the Canada Gazette

On June 15, 1987, the Statutory Instruments Regulations are 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 no longer 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 or obtain a copy of a by-law.

1997: The Gazette officially launched

The First Nations Gazette is 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.

2007: Mandated under the FMA

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.

2009: First online edition available with searchable database

First published in 2009, the online edition provides a searchable database of First Nation laws, by-laws, and other enactments published in the First Nations Gazette. It also provides an online resource 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.

2012: The Gazette launched its public notification service

In 2012, the First Nations Gazette launches its 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 the First Nations Fiscal Management Act or section 83 of the Indian Act.

2013: Public notification service expanded

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 post notices relating to Aboriginal matters.

2014: FNG transitions to an electronic publication available free and online

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.

2015: the Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act includes Gazette option

The Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act is passed. As a result First Nations can bring their s. 81 and s. 85.1 by-laws into force by publishing them in the First Nations Gazette. Alternatively, they may post them on their own website or in a local newspaper. This provides First Nations with autonomy over the enactment and coming into force of by-laws and the day-to-day governance of their communities.

2016: Online access to s. 81 and s. 85.1 By-laws

The First Nations Gazette completed an intensive project, digitizing close to 3,000 First Nation by-laws, currently in force, and passed pursuant to s. 81 and s. 85.1 of the Indian Act. By-laws passed under s.81 provide powers to band councils for the governance of their communities while by-laws passed under s. 85.1 provide for the regulation of intoxicants.

Use the Name Search to verify a First Nation’s official name and look up variant names.

For consistency and ease of reference, the FNG website uses only the officially registered First Nation names and band numbers.

More information on band names and band name changes can be obtained from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

 

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