First Nations Land Management Regime

First Nations may choose to opt out of 34 land-related sections of the Indian Act and develop their own land codes in order to govern reserve lands and resources—and take advantage of economic development opportunities. This option is made possible through the First Nations Land Management Regime, which transfers administration of land to a participating First Nation. This includes the authority to enact laws with respect to land, the environment, and most resources.

There are presently 94 First Nations operating under, or developing, their own land codes for operation under the First Nations Land Management Regime.

When and how did this option become available?

In 1991, a group of First Nation Chiefs approached AANDC with a proposal to allow First Nations to opt out of the Indian Act provisions which deal with land and resources. The Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management resulted from this proposal, which was signed by Canada and 14 First Nations in 1996, and then ratified in 1999 through the coming into force of the First Nations Land Management Act. First Nations who initially signed the Framework Agreement established the Lands Advisory Board and Resource Center to help them implement their own land management regimes.

What steps does my community need to take to participate?

  • The First Nation must submit a Band Council Resolution (to their AANDC Regional office or the Resource Center) expressing interest in joining the First Nations Management Regime.
  • The First Nation must also complete an Assessment Questionnaire (Fill & Print form (153 Kb)) and send it to their AANDC Regional Office.
  • Upon a positive assessment by the Department, a recommendation is made to the Minister to add the First Nation to the Framework Agreement via an adhesion document.
  • Once the adhesion document is signed by the Minister and the First Nation, the First Nation is added to the Schedule of the First Nations Land Management Act.
  • The First Nation must then enter into the Community Approval Process Plan, develop a land code and negotiate their Individual Agreement, (typically a two-year process).
  • After the land code and individual agreement are drafted, both must be brought to the First Nation community for a ratification vote.
  • With a successful ratification vote, the Minister will sign the Individual Agreement to transfer administration and control over the First Nation’s land and resources to the First Nation. At this point, the 34 sections of Indian Act which deal with land, resources, and environment no longer apply to that First Nation.

What funding is available?

Funding is available to support First Nations through the developmental phase, as well as with operational land management activities:

  • Developmental funding assists with the community’s approval process, development of the land code, and negotiation of the individual agreement.
  • Operational funding is determined through a formula, which is set out in the individual agreement.

Guidelines and Other Helpful Information

Success Stories