OTTAWA, ONTARIO (October 19, 2011) – The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, along with Chief Robert Louie, Chair of the First Nations Lands Advisory Board (LAB) and Chief Austin Bear, Chair of the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre Inc., today signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a new funding formula which paves the way for a successful reopening of the First Nations Land Management (FNLM) Regime. Budget 2011 committed to reallocating up to $20 million in funding over two years which will allow for new entrants into the regime.
“Our government is working with First Nations to support economic development opportunities,” said Minister Duncan. “Today’s announcement responds directly to interest from First Nations to participate in the FNLM Regime which will help strengthen economic opportunities and create jobs.”
The MOU was negotiated between the Government of Canada and the LAB – a body of 12 elected chiefs representing the FNLM First Nations and establishes a sustainable and stable funding formula for First Nations participating in the FNLM Regime. The MOU was signed at today’s Annual General Meeting of the LAB at which Chiefs ratified the funding formula. The next step for the two parties is to finalize a new, fair and transparent method of prioritizing First Nations who wish to enter the Regime, which is expected to occur in the near future.
“We have demonstrated that we can positively impact the quality of life for our members and residents, and we have a positive economic impact that reaches well beyond reserve boundaries,” said Chief Robert Louie, Chair of the LAB. “Canada is investing in First Nations and in turn First Nations are providing a huge return on that investment.”
The FNLM Regime is a key component of the federal government’s work to enhance the value of First Nation lands in partnership with the LAB and the FNLM First Nations. The First Nations Lands Management Act allows participating First Nations to opt out of the 34 land related sections of the Indian Act and to manage their land, resources and environment under their own land codes. This regime strengthens First Nations’ capacity for land management, supports economic development opportunities, and encourages job creation.
Improving economic opportunities for Aboriginal people is a priority for the Government of Canada. In June 2009, the Government of Canada released the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, which represents a fundamental change to how the federal government supports Aboriginal economic development. The Framework maximizes the impact of federal investments by strengthening entrepreneurship, enhancing the value of Aboriginal assets, forging new and effective partnerships to maximize economic development potential, developing Aboriginal human capital, and better focusing the role of the federal government.
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