Non-essential federal funds withheld from Semiahmoo First Nation

Ministry officials say no plans at this time to take the band to court over unfiled documents.

As the next deadline for First Nations to file expense and remuneration information approaches, Semiahmoo First Nation remains one of 12 bands in Canada that have yet to comply with the initial demand last fall.

However, officials with the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development say they have no plans at this time to take the band to court over the matter.

“We are only withholding funding for non-essential programs, services and activities until the band complies,” a ministry spokesperson said by email Tuesday.

“Please contact the First Nation directly for more information.”

Semiahmoo councillor Joanne Charles told Peace Arch News in November that the band had “complied with what we needed to” by the stipulated deadline.

Charles could not be reached for additional comment this week.

The Semiahmoo were among 582 First Nations who were given until midnight last Nov. 26 to file the details, as mandated by the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.

The act became law in March 2013, and documents that are filed as required are posted to the ministry website – as are the names of non-compliant bands.

The next deadline is July 29.

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