Gitxaala at risk of losing federal funding as First Nations Financial Transparency Act deadline passes

The Gitxaala Nation is at risk of losing some federal funding after not filing documents required by the federal government.

As one of 53 First Nations bands across the country to not file documents required by the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, the Gitxaala Nation is at risk of losing some federal funding.

First Nations bands across the country had until Wednesday to file statements outlining the pay for Chief and councillors during the past fiscal year, but the Gitxaala and 11 other B.C. nations failed to do so. As a result, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt said the government will be taking action including withholding funding for non-essential programs, services and activities and withholding new or proposal-based non-essential program funding. However, Valcourt noted the direction has been given to avoid impacting “essential services that support band members”.

“The Act applies the same principles of transparency and accountability to First Nation governments that already exist for other governments in Canada and also helps to empower any person, including First Nation members, to hold governments accountable by seeking a Court Order for the publication of documents if the requirements of the Act are not fulfilled,” the minister said in a statement.

“With this Act, our Government has made financial information more accessible to First Nation members, which leads to more effective, transparent and accountable governance as well as stronger, more self-sufficient and prosperous communities.”

A representative from the Gitxaala Nation was not available for comment.