First Nations Governance

Ratcliff & Company LLP has over 40 years of experience in providing governance-related services to First Nations. We know that there is strong evidence that communities’ success depends in part on strong governments and administrations that have clear and efficient processes that are transparent and accessible. We provide legal advice in support of these goals. In our First Nations Governance Practice, we provide advice both to Bands under the Indian Act and to Nations that have implemented treaties on the range of matters that arise in governance:

  • Development and drafting of laws, regulations, policies and by-laws
  • Government procedure
  • Structure and relationships between aboriginal governments, their administrations and their businesses
  • Employment matters and human rights issues
  • Structuring independent decision-making bodies within First Nations (review boards, administrative tribunals)
  • Privacy and access to information
  • Elections

We provide advice in relation to and draft bylaws under the Indian Act, and laws under the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act.  In fact, our lawyers were heavily involved in the development of the First Nation Fiscal and Statistical Management Act and the regulations relating to the Financial Management Board. We also have extensive experience with the First Nations Land Management Act and have prepared land codes under that Act for several First Nations.  We also have an extensive background in First Nation property taxation and service agreements with local governments.

Ratcliff & Company LLP has also been involved in creation of a regulation under the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act. This regulation will establish a development regime that incorporates Provincial law to establish a registry that parallels the Provincial land title system and that replicates the Strata Property Act and other Provincial law. The system permitted by this regulation would allow a First Nation to grant leasehold strata interests that are almost identical to those created under the Provincial land title system and could facilitate condominium and strata development and the financing of those developments.