First Nations Land Management

Budget 2018 proposes to invest $143.5 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, and $19 million per year ongoing to support First Nations participation under the First Nations Land Management Act.

First Nations Land Management (FNLM) allows First Nations to opt out of 32 sections of the Indian Act relating to land management. First Nations can then develop their own laws about land use, the environment and natural resources and take advantage of economic development opportunities with their new land management powers.

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About the program

In 1991, a group of First Nation Chiefs approached the Government of Canada with a proposal to opt out of 32 provisions in the Indian Act on land and resources. As a result of this proposal, the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management was negotiated by 14 First Nations and Canada in 1996, and later ratified in 1999 by the First Nations Land Management Act. The Framework Agreement led to the establishment of the Lands Advisory Board and Resource Center to assist the 14 First Nations in implementing their own land management. Under First Nations Land Management (FNLM), land administration is transferred to First Nations once their land codes come into effect. This includes the authority to enact laws with respect to land, the environment, and resources. Once a First Nation has joined FNLM, it is able to receive two types of funding:

First Nations operating within FNLM are not able to return to Indian Act land management.

As of January 2016, 95 First Nations have entered FNLM and are either developing or operating under their own land codes.

Who can apply?

Any First Nation with lands reserved for Indians within the meaning of section 91(24) of the Constitution Act of 1867 can apply.


There is no deadline to join FNLM. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis.

How to apply?

  1. The First Nation submits a Band Council Resolution to the regional INAC office or to the Lands Advisory Board and Resource Centre, expressing interest in joining FNLM.
  2. The First Nation completes and submits an Assessment Questionnaire to the regional office.
  3. INAC reviews applications and identifies successful candidates with the help of the Lands Advisory Board Resource Center. If a First Nation is successful, INAC makes a recommendation to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs that the First Nation be added to the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management through an adhesion document.
  4. Once both the Minister and the First Nation have signed the adhesion document, the First Nation is added to the Schedule of the First Nations Land Management Act.
  5. The First Nation then enters the developmental phase by signing an implementation document. The implementation document outlines developmental activities such as drafting a land code, negotiating an individual agreement with Canada, holding community consultations, and a ratification vote.
  6. The First Nation community approves the land code and individual agreement by a ratification vote.
  7. Once a land code and individual agreement have been approved by the First Nation membership, the Minister will sign the individual agreement, transferring the control and administration of the First Nation's land and resources over to the First Nation. The 32 sections of the Indian Act dealing with land, resources and environment no longer apply to that First Nation.

Once the land code is in effect, the First Nation is considered operational under First Nations Land Management and has management authority and law-making powers over its reserve lands.

At the request of the First Nation, the Lands Advisory Board and Resource Center assists First Nations in implementing changes to their land and resource management. Natural Resources Canada provides a description of the lands that will come under the management of a community's land code.

For a detailed description of FNLM, see A Guide for First Nations in the First Nations Land Management Regime.

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