Moderated by Kory Wilson, Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships at BCIT, and joined by panelists Alexia McKinnon of SFU’s Beedie School of Business Indigenous Business Program Director, Upper Nicola Band Chief Harvey McLeod, & @Celeste Haldane, Chief Commissioner, BC Treaty Commission. Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s Indigenous Opportunities Forum November 2, 2021.
How does the First Nations Financial Management Board support Indigenous communities?
By Geordie Hungerford
One way to seize financial opportunities or access to capital and capacity is through financial readiness.
It’s really a good news story that some may not know about. It’s about First Nations financial readiness, and First Nations building our capacity to manage financial governance and administration on world class standards. That allows First Nations to borrow at competitive rates, build their infrastructure for growth, and prepare for development.
FMB supports First Nations in developing a certification processes and implementation of good governance and finance practices since 2006. We are a First Nations led non-profit organization that provides services free to First Nations, and we only provide these services when we are asked by First Nations clients. We are independent of the Crown, but funded by the federal government.
We put First Nations governments on the same playing field as other governments and public institutions across Canada. We work with First Nations to pass financial administration laws, who then undergo some training modules which allows First Nations to reach financial performance and management levels at international levels that we are then able to certify.
We also assist First Nations in the development, implementation, and improvement of financial relations with financial institutions, business partners and other governments to enable their economic and social development.
Of the approximately six hundred Indian Bands in Canada, we are working with just over half of those Bands across the country. Currently, there are 235 with a Financial Administration Law, 192 with a Financial Performance Certificate, and 51 with a Financial Management Systems Certificate, and we are working with about 317 Bands.
Our work leads to results. Clients that are certified with our Financial Management Systems Certificates saw an increase of 65% in their own-source revenues over a five-year period.
This proves that First Nations are taking control of their financial management and administration and ability to borrow, making them ready to work with businesses as partners.