Working Together for Stronger, More Accountable and Transparent First Nation Governments – First Nations Elections Act comes into force

TRURO, NS, April 10, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ – The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, announced the coming into force of the First Nations Elections Act. Any First Nation wishing to opt into the First Nations Elections Act can now begin to do so.

Minister Valcourt made the announcement at Millbrook First Nation in Truro, Nova Scotia, along with Atlantic Policy Council of First Nations Chiefs Executive Director John Paul, Co-Chair Chief Robert Gloade, and other First Nations leaders.

The Act will help First Nations create the political stability necessary for solid business investments, long term planning and relationship building that will lead to increased economic development and job creation for First Nations communities.

First Nations that opt into the new electoral system will have access to modern electoral provisions including:

  • A four year term of office;
  • A robust process for the nomination of candidates;
  • Penalties for defined offences;
  • A common election day for interested First Nations; and
  • Removal of the Minister’s role in receiving, investigating and deciding on election appeals.

The First Nations Election Act is optional. After having consulted with their communities, First Nations can opt into the Act by providing a band council resolution to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

Quick Facts

  • The Act was drafted based on recommendations provided by First Nations organizations for a strong legislated alternative for First Nations elections.
  • The Atlantic Policy Council played a lead role in developing and engaging on the accompanying regulations.
  • The First Nations Elections Act does not change the Indian Act election system and First Nations can continue to hold their elections under the Indian Act if they wish. Similarly, First Nations that hold their elections under their own community or custom election code can continue to do so.
  • The Government of Canada also secured the passage of the First Nation Financial Transparency Act which also aims to create strong, transparent and accountable First Nation governments.


“This Act delivers on a commitment, in partnership with First Nations in Canada, to set the conditions for strong, accountable and transparent governments. By opting into the new system, First Nations can benefit from the political stability required for long-term planning to attract business investments that lead to increased economic development and job growth. This is a step forward for First Nations and all of Canada.”

Bernard Valcourt
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

“Today’s announcement is a clear demonstration of our Government’s commitment to creating the conditions for prosperous First Nation communities. First Nations now have the choice of opting into the new system that will help create more accountability and political stability by providing advantages such as more robust nomination processes and longer terms in office.”

Scott Armstrong
Member of Parliament for Cumberland‑Colchester‑Musquodoboit Valley

“Governance and the selection of leaders for a First Nation community is the most important decision any community person will make in their life. Measures like the First Nations Elections Act allow us to improve the process and strengthen our governance and make a better future.”

John Paul
Executive Director, Atlantic Policy Council of First Nations Chiefs

“The new Act allows a real opportunity for change and improvement for our First Nations communities.”

Chief Robert Gloade
Co-Chair, Atlantic Policy Council of First Nations Chiefs
Millbrook First Nation

“This great collaborative effort to make the First Nations Election Act a reality took a great deal of work and now that it is done, it gives all our First Nations a real opportunity to improve governance and the election process.”

Chief George Ginnish
Co-Chair, Atlantic Policy Council of First Nations Chiefs
Eel Ground First Nation

“Today is an exciting day for First Nations. This Act is nine years in the making and today I am so pleased that is has become a reality. The provisions of this Act will create stable and credible governance systems, allow First Nations to move forward on important initiatives, and create the necessary social and economic changes that will improve the quality of life for their membership.”

Chief Ron Evans
Norway House Cree Nation

SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada