FEDERAL REG

SOR/2016-1: Indian Bands Council Elections Order (George Gordon, Red Pheasant and Pabineau First Nations) — Order Amending Indian Act

REGISTRATION OF FEDERAL REGULATION - VIA PART II OF THE GAZETTE

Registered
January 8, 2016


REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT (This statement is not part of the orders.) Issues A First Nation governed by the Indian Act wishing to hold its elections under the First Nations Elections Act (the Act) and the associated First Nations Elections Regulations (the Regulations) must be added to the schedule to the Act. Paragraph 3(1)(a) of the Act states that the Minister of Indian Affairs and ... (Click for more)


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Published on January 8, 2016

Bill Summary

SOR/2016-1: Indian Bands Council Elections Order (George Gordon, Red Pheasant and Pabineau First Nations) — Order Amending Indian Act

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT (This statement is not part of the orders.) Issues A First Nation governed by the Indian Act wishing to hold its elections under the First Nations Elections Act (the Act) and the associated First Nations Elections Regulations (the Regulations) must be added to the schedule to the Act. Paragraph 3(1)(a) of the Act states that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development may, by order, add the name of a First Nation to the schedule if that First Nation’s council has provided a resolution requesting that the First Nation be added to the schedule. Background Before the Act and the Regulations came into force on April 2, 2015, First Nations governed by the Indian Act selected their leadership under the election provisions of the Indian Act and associated Indian Band Election Regulations or according to their own community or custom leadership selection system. The Act offers an alternative election system born out of a consensus among First Nations — who hold their elections under the Indian Act and the Indian Band Election Regulations — that this electoral system contains several weaknesses that act as a barrier to strong First Nations governments. To address the commonly agreed upon weaknesses, the Act and the Regulations were developed from recommendations provided by First Nations organizations after an extensive engagement process with First Nations leaders, governance experts and community members across Canada. The Act and the Regulations provide a robust election system with rules and procedures for the electoral process similar to those found in federal and provincial election laws. A First Nation holding elections under the Indian Act can seek a change to its electoral system and opt into the Act and the Regulations. By virtue of subsection 74(1) of the Indian Act, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development can amend the Indian Bands Council Elections Order so that the electoral provisions of the Indian Act no longer apply to a particular First Nation. Section 3 of the Act provides the power to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to add, by order, the name of a First Nation to the schedule to the Act. Objective Three First Nations, George Gordon First Nation and Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan, and Pabineau First Nation in New Brunswick, have requested, by resolutions of their council, to be removed from the election regime of the Indian Act and to be added to the schedule to the Act. By choosing to hold their elections under the Act, these First Nations will especially benefit from a shorter election period, a robust process for the distribution of mail-in ballots and for the nomination of candidates, and an overall reduction in the costs of elections. First Nations’ leaders elected under the Act and the Regulations will be better positioned to make solid business investments, carry out long-term planning and build relationships, leading to increased economic development and job creation for the community. Description A First Nation is added to the schedule to the Act by order of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, made pursuant to section 3 of the Act. After holding community discussions and consultations, the council of a First Nation signals its decision to opt into the Act by adopting a band council resolution asking the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to add the name of the First Nation to the schedule to the Act. A First Nation added to the schedule must be removed from the election regime of the Indian Act, by means of an order of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development made pursuant to subsection 74(1) of the Indian Act. A First Nation that chooses to hold its elections under the Act will benefit from a shorter election period, a more robust process for the nomination of candidates and the distribution of mail-in ballots, and the ability to hold advance polling stations where that is considered to be warranted to increase voter participation and reduce dependency on mail-in ballots. Under the Regulations, an electoral officer must be certified by virtue of having successfully completed a training program approved by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development on the responsibilities of the electoral officer under the Act and the Regulations. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada will collaborate with First Nations and First Nations organizations to ensure that there is a sufficient number of certified electoral officers available to conduct elections under the Act. Several current electoral officers attended a training session to receive their certification. First Nations who are opting into the Act can also request that staff members, appointed by First Nations councils, receive the training and certification. Those staff members would then be able to conduct elections under the Act. “One-for-One” Rule The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to these orders , as they do not result in any administrative costs or savings to business. Small business lens The small business lens does not apply to these orders, as they do not result in any costs for small business. Consultation Given that opting into the First Nations Elections Act is made at the request of a First Nation, it is not considered necessary to undertake consultations over and above those already conducted by the First Nations with their members. Rationale The Act is designed as an optional legislative scheme that provides a robust election system for willing and interested First Nations. The Act does not change the Indian Act election system and First Nations can continue to hold their elections under the Indian Act if they wish. Similarly, First Nations that hold their elections under their own community or custom election code can continue to do so. The band councils of the George Gordon First Nation, Red Pheasant First Nation and Pabineau First Nation each adopted a resolution stating that the council of the First Nation undertook consultations and engagement with community members to consider the adoption of the Act, that the Act presents a better electoral option for the First Nation and that the name of the First Nation should be added to the schedule to the Act. The resolution of each of these First Nations also provided a date on which the respective First Nation would like to hold its first election under the Act, which must be fixed in the Order made pursuant to section 3 of the Act. The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development no longer deems it advisable for the good government of the George Gordon First Nation, Red Pheasant First Nation and Pabineau First Nation that their respective band council be selected by elections held in accordance with the Indian Act. Therefore, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has made the Order Amending the Indian Bands Council Elections Order (George Gordon, Red Pheasant and Pabineau First Nations) pursuant to subsection 74(1) of the Indian Act; and made the Order Amending the Schedule to the First Nations Elections Act (George Gordon, Red Pheasant and Pabineau First Nations) pursuant to section 3 of the First Nations Elections Act. Implementation, enforcement and service standards There are no compliance and enforcement requirement and no implementation or ongoing cost which can be directly associated with adding First Nations to the schedule to the Act. In compliance with the Act and the Regulations, the conduct of elections and disputes arising from them are the responsibility of the First Nations and the electoral officers appointed by the First Nations; however, the Act provides that an election can be contested by application to a federal or provincial court. The offences and penalties provided in the Act — which are enforced by local law enforcement and prosecuted by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada — will deter questionable election activities, such as vote buying, bribery and voter intimidation. Under the Act, the courts are able to impose fines and terms of imprisonment on persons found guilty of an offence. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, in conjunction with First Nations organizations, will pursue ongoing consultations with First Nations and electoral officers who have conducted elections under the Act and the Regulations to identify any potential gaps or issues. Contact Marc Boivin Acting Director Governance Policy and Implementation Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada 10 Wellington Street, 8th Floor Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H4 Telephone: 819-994-6735 Fax: 819-953-3855 Email: [email protected] Footnote a R.S., c. I-5 Footnote b S.C. 2014, c. 5 Footnote c R.S., c. I-5 Footnote d S.C. 2014, c. 5 Footnote e R.S., c. I-5 Footnote f S.C. 2014, c. 5 Footnote g S.C. 2014, c. 5 Footnote h R.S., c. I-5 Footnote i R.S., c. I-5 Footnote 1 SOR/97-138

This Bill does not amend any statutes.

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