FEDERAL REG

SOR/2016-237: Schedule to the First Nations Elections Act (Skownan) — Order Amending First Nations Elections Act

REGISTRATION OF FEDERAL REGULATION - VIA PART II OF THE GAZETTE

Registered
August 26, 2016


REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT (This statement is not part of the orders.) Issues The council of the Skownan First Nation, in Manitoba, adopted a resolution on June 27, 2016, requesting that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development add the name of the First Nation to the schedule to the First Nations Elections Act (the Act), and that the date of its first election under the A... (Click for more)


Published on August 26, 2016

Bill Summary

SOR/2016-237: Schedule to the First Nations Elections Act (Skownan) — Order Amending First Nations Elections Act

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT (This statement is not part of the orders.) Issues The council of the Skownan First Nation, in Manitoba, adopted a resolution on June 27, 2016, requesting that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development add the name of the First Nation to the schedule to the First Nations Elections Act (the Act), and that the date of its first election under the Act be fixed at November 3, 2016. Background Before the Act and the associated First Nations Elections Regulations (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. On August 6, 1952, the Skownan First Nation (known at the time as the Waterhen Band) was brought under the application of section 74 of the Indian Act. Thereafter, the First Nation’s chief and councillors were selected pursuant to the election provisions of the Indian Act and accompanying Indian Band Election Regulations. Consequently, the name of the First Nation appears on the Indian Bands Council Elections Order, made by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development by virtue of subsection 74(1) of the Indian Act. 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 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. 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. A First Nation wishing to hold its elections under the Act 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. If the First Nation holds its elections under the Indian Act, the name of the First Nation must also be removed from the Indian Bands Council Elections Order. Objective By choosing to hold its elections under the Act, the Skownan First Nation will especially benefit from its band council having a four-year term of office, and from election rules that offer a shorter election period, a robust process for the distribution of mail-in ballots and for the nomination of candidates, and the ability to hold advance polling stations to increase voter participation and reduce dependency on mail-in ballots. The cost of elections will also be reduced primarily due to elections being held every four years instead of every two years. The Skownan First Nation’s 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 The Order Amending the Indian Bands Council Elections Order (Skownan), made pursuant to subsection 74(1) of the Indian Act, removes the application of the election provisions of the Indian Act for the Skownan First Nation. The Order Amending the Schedule to the First Nations Elections Act (Skownan), made pursuant to section 3 of the First Nations Elections Act, adds the Skownan First Nation as a participating First Nation under the Act and fixes the date of the first election of the council at November 3, 2016. “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 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 Skownan First Nation with its members. The council of the Skownan First Nation has indicated that a consultation and engagement exercise was undertaken with community members during the months of April and May 2016 to consider the adoption of the First Nations Elections Act for the election of its chief and councillors. Rationale The Skownan First Nation is being removed from the application of the election provisions of the Indian Act and is being added to the schedule to the Act upon the request of the council of the First Nation, likely because it sees the Act as a better electoral option that will benefit the community as a whole. Implementation, enforcement and service standards There are no compliance and enforcement requirements and no implementation or ongoing costs 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 Skownan First Nation and the electoral officer appointed by the First Nation; 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 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 S.C. 2014, c. 5 Footnote b S.C. 2014, c. 5 Footnote 1 S.C. 2014, c. 5 Footnote 2 S.C. 2014, c. 5

This Bill does not amend any statutes.

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