Press Release of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Ottawa, Ontario - on December 10, 2009, the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, introduced the First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act that will enable First Nations across Canada to develop commercial real estate on reserve land.
"On-reserve commercial real estate has the potential to generate significant revenue for some First Nations, but such projects have been hampered by differences in property rights on and off a reserve," said Minister Strahl. "This bill will remove those barriers so that First Nations can begin to take advantage of these economic development opportunities on reserve land."
The First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act amends the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act, which was developed in consultation with five partnering First Nations: Squamish Nation in British Columbia, Fort McKay First Nation and Tsuu T'ina Nation in Alberta, Carry the Kettle First Nation in Saskatchewan, and Fort William First Nation in Ontario. The First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act came into force on April 1, 2006. The First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act would permit the registration of on-reserve commercial real estate developments in a system that replicates the provincial land titles or registry system. This would help make the value of on-reserve properties, including housing, stores, offices, and other buildings, comparable to equivalent properties off reserve land. The First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act is optional legislation that will be available to First Nations across Canada, however in order for this legislation to be applied, a First Nation group would need to have a commercial or industrial proponent and a province willing to participate.