Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for more information about the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management or Land Governance.
Click each of the sections below for more details about a specific topic or download the full versions.
- FAQ! Answers to common questions about the Framework Agreement
- Myths & Facts! – The Truth about the Framework Agreement
- Myths & Facts! – White Paper 2.0 Edition – En Français
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Photo credit Daniel M. Millette
Myths & Facts! The truth about the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management
Yes, this is true.
Despite governance challenges of Operational First Nations, none have indicated a willingness to go back. For some First Nations, the land code has become part of broader self-government arrangements.
No, the FAFNLM is a self-government agreement that was sought, developed and negotiated by First Nations. It was signed by 13 First Nations and Canada in 1996. Despite the insistence of some, there is no connection to Canada’s Treaty Policy, Inherent Right Policy or proposed Framework for Indigenous rights.
- This agreement eliminates the colonial Indian Act lands system and blocks interference from federal and provincial governments and does not affect Aboriginal or treaty rights. See section 1.3 and 1.6 of the FAFNLM.
- First Nations decide how to exercise self-government over their reserve lands with no “termination”, “extinguishment”, “municipalization” or “fee simple” creation of reserve lands. See section 4.1.1 of the FAFNLM.
- Unlike the Indian Act, First Nation developed, and approved land codes are not subject to Federal approval or veto. See section 7.3 of the FAFNLM.
FNLMA’s function is to provide federal ratification of the FAFNLM. See section 49.1 of the FAFNLM.
No, Provinces are not party to the FAFNLM and do not gain or assume any rights, obligations or authority as a result. There is no change to the title or status of Reserve Lands, they remain under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act of 1867. See section 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 of the FAFNLM.
No. Municipalities are creations of provincial law and subject to Provincial legislation. First Nations do not gain provincial status as municipalities under the FAFNLM. First Nations that have approved and implemented their land codes enjoy the ability to pass laws according to their own rules. Municipalities can only pass bylaws according to provincial statutes. Unlike a Municipality, First Nation Land Codes specify that the authority to govern flows from the Creator to the people and from the people to the Chief & Council. See section the WHEREAS clause on page 2 and section 18.1 of the FAFNLM.
No, the FAFNLM is a government to government agreement that is being implemented by First Nations and Canada according to its terms and conditions. It was sought, developed, negotiated and driven by First Nations who were looking to exit the land management provisions of the Indian Act on their own terms. Signatory First Nations are supported by the Lands Advisory Board which is a First Nation organization, and whose members are elected by *Operational First Nation councils. See page 2 and section 38 of the FAFNLM.
* An operational First Nation is a signatory to the FAFNLM whose members have approved a land code through ratification vote
Canada cannot unilaterally change the Land Management Framework Agreement or impose changes by federal law to the FNLMA without the explicit agreement of Operational First Nations. In November of 2018, Operational First Nations supported narrow provisions within C-86 which reflected previously agreed to changes to the FAFNLM. See section 57 of the FAFNLM.
No, this is incorrect.
The First Nation Land Management Act (FNLMA) only ratifies the Framework Agreement on First Nations Land Management (Framework Agreement).
The Framework Agreement is the guiding document that is actively being implemented by First Nations and Canada. First Nations sign the Framework Agreement, ratify the Framework Agreement through a community vote and implement the Framework Agreement through their land codes.
No, neither document can or does affect eligibility for, or relinquishment of, Indian Status or Band Membership.
No. Municipalities are creations of provincial law and subject to Provincial legislation.
First Nations are not brought under provincial authority or made municipalities under the Framework Agreement.
No. There is no such document. First Nations do not come under the jurisdiction of provinces through this process.
No. Aboriginal and treaty rights are not affected by the Framework Agreement. According to the Supreme Court, reserve lands are already subject to Aboriginal Title. First Nation rights to make Aboriginal Title claims to unceded or traditional lands are not changed.
No. In fact, land surrenders are prohibited under the Framework Agreement. First Nations reassert control over their reserve lands and resources, and in no way surrender any rights or title.
As a matter of law, no document could possibly be construed as a surrender of reserve lands without express words and a clear intention to that effect. No such wording or intention appears or has ever appeared in the Framework Agreement.
No. The Framework Agreement forbids the creation of such title. First Nation Lands continue to retain the same protections as “Lands Reserved for the Indians” under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. The First Nations Lands Advisory Board and the First Nations which have signed the Framework Agreement are strongly opposed to turning reserve lands into fee simple lands and passed a resolution in 2010 stating that.
No. See above. No in fact the opposite occurs as follows:
- Lands retain section 91(24) status as defined by the Constitution Act
- Surrender for sale of reserve land is prohibited
- Expropriation of land by the province is prohibited
- Expropriation of land by the federal Crown is very restricted to a national public purpose, for as short a time as possible, with a reversion to reserve status after the use is over. In addition, other land of equal size and value is given reserve status. This results in an overall larger reserve.
No. The Framework Agreement was negotiated and completed before the creation of Canada’s Inherent Right Policy.
No, nothing in the Framework Agreement imposes any requirement for taxes
No, there are many First Nations that have been operating under their own land codes for more than 22 years now. 83 First Nations in Canada have developed, approved and implemented their own land codes. A wealth of information is freely available on the labrc.com website and the websites of most Operational First Nations.
A number of independent KPMG studies have documented and measured the benefits as experienced by operational First Nations to the Framework Agreement. These studies are also available on the labrc.com website.
No, it is a nation to nation agreement that is being implemented by First Nations and Canada.
The Framework Agreement was a specific arrangement sought, developed and driven by First Nations as an alternative to the Indian Act lands provisions. The Framework Agreement cannot be changed without First Nations consent or support.
No. The main purpose of the land code is to establish mandatory community participation processes for the development and approval of laws over reserve lands and resources.
The land code and its proposed law-making approach as well as other proposed rules must be agreed to by eligible voters on and off reserve in a ratification vote before it can be implemented. There is no requirement that “all their laws” be developed in advance of a ratification vote and this would be an impossible task since the voters cannot know then what “all their laws” will ultimately be.
No. Indian Act RLEMP training is not required or viewed as a prerequisite to a First Nation exerting its inherent right to govern its lands and resources according to their own traditions, laws or policies either before signing the Framework Agreement or before bringing a Land Code into force.
The Resource Centre does provide practical and experiential Framework Agreement and Land Code specific training modules for land, resource and environmental governance for signatory First Nations, but these are also not mandatory or a prerequisite.