Protection of First Nation Land

Preserving the quantity and quality of existing First Nation lands is a fundamental principle of the Framework Agreement. Some aspects of this principle are summarized below.

Taxation and Seizure under Legal Process:   The current exemption of reserve lands, and personal property situated on-reserve, will continue under the relevant provisions of the Indian Act.

Environmental Protection: A First Nation will have the power to make environmental laws. Further agreements are expected between First Nations and Canada for funding these laws and for harmonization with other provincial and federal environmental laws.

Voluntary Exchange of Lands:  A First Nation may decide that it is advantageous to exchange some of its First Nation land for other lands. Provision can be made in its Land Code for a procedure to negotiate and approve such exchanges. An exchange of land cannot occur without the consent of the First Nation community.

No Provincial Expropriation:  Under the Framework Agreement there can be no expropriation of First Nation land by a provincial or municipal government or agency.

Restricted Federal Expropriation: Canada’s power to expropriate First Nation land is restricted. That power can only be exercised with Cabinet approval and only when the expropriation is justified and necessary for a federal public purpose that serves the national interest. Compensation must include provision for equivalent lands so that the land base of the First Nation is not diminished.

Enforcement:  The First Nation will have full power to enforce its land and environmental laws and may enter into further agreements with other jurisdictions to assist in such enforcement. A First Nation can appoint its own Justice of the Peace to try offences created under a Land Code or a First Nation law, and can appoint its own prosecutor. First Nation laws may make provisions for search and seizure, fines, imprisonment, restitution, community service or alternate means for achieving compliance with its laws.