Fraser Forum

Own-source revenue: a non-government source of revenue for aboriginal communities

Printer-friendly version

Given Prime Minister Trudeau’s vows of a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Canada’s indigenous peoples, aboriginal issues will likely be a key element in the upcoming federal budget.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) recorded more than $7.9 billion spent in 2013/14, and many are calling for an increase in spending. However, it’s important to remember that government transfers are not the only way for aboriginal communities to generate revenue. In addition to federal government transfers, which has risen more than 800 per cent over the past six decades, all First Nation communities have the ability to generate own-source revenue (natural resource revenue, casino revenue, user fees for services, etc.). And many are doing so in large amounts.

For the first time, the public is able to see how these communities are raising their own-source revenue due to the introduction of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA). Signed into law in 2013, the FNFTA requires all bands to make their audited financial statements and salaries public.

Using data collected from 539 First Nations audited financial statements, a recent Fraser Institute study found that in 2013/14 alone, First Nations communities generated more than $3.3 billion in own-source revenue.

In fact, Tsuu T’ina Nation (southwest of Calgary), which recently honoured Prime Minister Trudeau with a headdress, generated the most own-source revenue—$113,068,892 in 2013/14. For Yale First Nation in southern British Columbia, their own-source revenue translated to more than $45,000 per member in 2013/14.

Natural resource revenue makes up a considerable share of own-source revenue for some communities. For example, in 2013/14, 188 communities reported having some type of natural resource-based income. Frog Lake First Nation (east of Edmonton) generated more than $45 million in natural resource revenue in one fiscal year, amounting to $14,000 per Frog Lake resident. With total revenue of approximately $61.5 million, almost three quarters of the community’s income came from natural resource revenue.

These communities, with their relatively large shares of own-source revenue, can serve as examples for other First Nations across Canada.

Top 10 Own-Source Revenue (OSR) Generating Communities (2013/14)

Community

OSR

Tsuu T'ina Nation (AB)

$113,068,892

Membertou (NS)

$105,235,596

Fort McKay First Nation (AB)

$67,359,641

Samson (AB)

$62,561,165

Squamish (BC)

$55,851,123

Chiniki (AB)

$52,343,677

Saint Mary's (NB)

$50,880,767

Frog Lake (AB)

$49,812,290

Enoch Cree Nation #440 (AB)

$49,287,191

Chippewas of Rama First Nation (ON)

$42,226,254

 

Top 10 Natural Resource-Revenue Generating Communities (2013/14)

Community

Natural Resource Revenue

Frog Lake (AB)

$45,626,175

Samson (AB)

$36,921,541

Lax Kw'alaams (BC)

$34,711,648

Chiniki (AB)

$21,664,034

Moose Cree First Nation (ON)

$15,418,700

Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam  (QC)

$12,679,215

Squamish (BC)

$10,642,193

Alexander (AB)

$9,628,133

Tataskweyak Cree Nation (MB)

$8,259,321

Yale First Nation (BC)

$7,471,437

 

 

 

Blog Category: