Glossary of Terms


A band is a body of Indians for whose collective use and benefit lands have been set apart or money is held by the Crown, or declared to be a band for the purposes of the Indian Act. A band may also be known as a First Nation. Each band has its own governing band council, usually consisting of one chief and several councillors. Community members choose the chief and councillors by election. The members of a band generally share common values, traditions and practices rooted in their ancestral heritage.

Band Council

This is the governing body for a band. It usually consists of a chief and councillors, who are elected for two or three-year terms (as established by the Indian Act or band custom) to carry out band business, which may include education; water, sewer and fire services; by-laws; community buildings; schools; roads; and other community businesses and services.

Canada Gazette

The Canada Gazette is the Government of Canada's "official newspaper" where the federal government publishes new laws and regulations, proposed regulations, decisions of administrative boards and an assortment of government notices. Private sector notices required by law to be published to inform the public also appear in the Canada Gazette.

Part I contains all public notices, official appointments and proposed regulations from the federal government, as well as other public notices from the private sector that are required to be published by a federal statute or by regulations. Part I is published every Saturday. Part II contains all regulations that have been enacted as well as other classes of statutory instruments, such as orders in council, orders and proclamations. Only government departments and agencies publish in Part II. Part II is published every other Wednesday.

Come into force

This term – usually referring to laws, regulations, policies, contracts, or agreements – describes how and when a legal document becomes effective.

Land Tenure Instruments

Land tenure instruments are binding legal agreements such as leases, permits and licences that spell out how the project lands will be used and by whom.

Regulatory Gap

A “regulatory gap” is the absence of adequate laws (including regulations and monitoring and enforcement systems) to govern an activity. Regulatory gaps occur on reserve lands where there is an absence of appropriate laws, applicable on reserve, to govern complex commercial or industrial activities.

A regulatory gap creates uncertainty respecting process, time and costs associated with a project, and can divert potential investors from First Nation reserve lands to off-reserve jurisdictions where an established and familiar regulatory framework exists.


A reserve is a tract of land, the legal title to which is held by the Crown, set apart for the use and benefit of an Indian band. Some bands have more than one reserve.


A group or set of individuals that has an interest in an issue, decision or outcome.  For example, a private sector business looking to create a commercial interest on a First Nation reserve is a stakeholder in advancing that project. The neighbouring municipality that would have to deal with the increased traffic to the reserve as a result of that project would also be a stakeholder. Stakeholders do not necessarily have a legal claim or basis to support their interest but may have moral influence over others, for example because of their experience, knowledge or relations.