How Witset First Nation honored its commitment to transparency and accountability to members and partners
On March 27, 2020, Witset First Nation (WFN) received a Financial Management System (FMS) Certificate from the First Nations Financial Management Board (FMB). This means their finance and administrative governance practices now meet FMB Standards which are based on internationally recognized standards of financial management.
About Witset First Nation:
Originally named ‘Kyah Wiget ('Old Village'), Witset is a Witsuwit’en village in the heart of northwest British Columbia, located on the side of the Wetzin Kwah (also known as the Bulkley River). Witset (previously known as Moricetown) is home to approximately 661 on-reserve members, 1129 off-reserve members with a total population of 1790 people and is located 30 km west of Smithers and 32 km east of Hazelton, BC.
Respecting its mandate and mission of "Serving our community with pride, providing services and programs to enhance the development of our Nation.", WFN offers many services to its members including employment assistance, social development as well as housing and lands. The WFN is also committed to transparency and accountability and takes very seriously its obligation to its members and those they are working with. The WFN Band demonstrated how they honor this commitment by obtaining their FMS Certification from the FMB and thereby ensured they meet internationally recognized standards of accountability and transparency.
On their journey towards FMS Certification, the Nation developed a Financial Administration Law (FAL) and received a Financial Performance Certificate that allowed the Nation to become a borrowing member of the First Nations Finance Authority. To achieve FMS certification, the Nation began working closely with the FMB staff to bring their FAL to life.
“Witset First Nation, in achieving the Financial Management System Certificate will create opportunities for our Nation to thrive and move forward towards self-reliance. While the process was rigorous, we could not have done it without the consistent support of the Financial Management Board and staff. We thank them for that!” - WFN
The FMB acknowledges the strong leadership of WFN Chief and council and the dedication of their staff, which have been a pleasure and an honor to work with. WFN demonstrate it is important for First Nations communities to take the necessary steps to increase transparency of their government. The FMS certification provides the proper financial practices from the community to the council to the staff.
The Financial Management Board is a First Nations-led nonprofit organization that supports First Nations in developing sound finance and administrative governance practices. The FMB was created under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA) in 2006. Services offered are at no cost to First Nations. For more information on all products and services, visit fnfmb.com
Working with FMB and seeking FMS certification provides several benefits including:
- Increased transparency and accountability to members and future business partners
- Building skillset and reputation for strong finance and administrative governance practices
- Provides council members and staff the tools they need to better manage the Nation’s finances
- Increased stability and continuity through finance and governance practices
- Improved risk management
First Nations Financial Management Board
Harold Calla, Executive Chair
Witset First Nation
Lucy Gagnon, Executive Director
250-847-2133 Local 230