The First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act amends the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act,which was developed in consultation with five partnering First Nations: Squamish Nation in British Columbia, Fort McKay First Nation and Tsuu T'ina Nation in Alberta, Carry the Kettle First Nation in Saskatchewan, and Fort William First Nation in Ontario. The First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act came into force on April 1, 2006.
The First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act is optional legislation triggered only at the request of a First Nation. Federal regulations developed under the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act apply only to a specific project and parcel of reserve land where there are gaps between federal and provincial regulations. It enables the federal government to replicate the necessary provincial laws and regulations to allow First Nations to move ahead with large-scale, complex commercial and industrial development projects on reserve. To be eligible, projects must identify a regulatory gap, have a commercial or industrial partner, and have a province willing to participate.
The First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act will allow interested First Nations to explore new economic development opportunities on reserve land through the development of commercial real estate. To date, such projects have been hindered by lower values for on-reserve properties due to differences in the property rights regime on and off reserve land.
The First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act supports the development of commercial real estate by addressing these barriers. Specifically, the bill would permit the registration of project lands in a system that replicates the provincial land titles or registry system. The First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act is optional legislation that would be available to First Nations across Canada who have a commercial or industrial proponent and a province willing to participate.
In the new Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, the Government of Canada committed to increasing economic opportunities for First Nations by, among other things, modernizing land management regimes and enhancing the value of Aboriginal assets by addressing legislative and regulatory barriers that hinder economic development. Commercial real estate development on First Nation reserve lands represents an opportunity for First Nations to further participate in the Canadian economy.