Semiahmoo First Nation land

Semiahmoo First Nation disputes financial-filing deadline

According to the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, 49 First Nations have yet to file required information.

The Semiahmoo First Nation is among dozens of First Nations facing sanctions by the federal government, after failing to file information detailing the band’s expenses and how much its officials get paid.

Under the First Nations Financial Transparency Act – which became law in March 2013 – the deadline for all First Nations to file the information with the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development was midnight Wednesday (Nov. 26).

As of this week, the Semiahmoo were listed as among 49 First Nations in Canada – out of 582 covered by the law – that had not complied. (The names of all non-compliant bands have been posted to the AANDC website, which is is said to be updated as the information comes in.)

However, band councillor Joanne Charles told Peace Arch News the Semiahmoo is working with the ministry and shouldn’t have been identified as non-compliant.

“We had till yesterday (Nov. 27),” Charles said Friday afternoon. “Our letter said on or before the 27th. We complied with what we needed to.”

As of Monday afternoon, the federal website still listed Semiahmoo documents as “not yet posted.”

According to the ministry, First Nations that don’t comply risk losing any non-essential funding the bands receive from the federal government, as well as any new, non-essential funding they may request.

Exactly how much funding is at stake for the Semiahmoo – with a registered population of 89 – is unclear.

According to the most recent financial document posted online, the band received a total of $225,792 in federal funding for the year ending March 31, 2006.

Semiahmoo is listed as one of 12 B.C. bands not to file by last week’s deadline.

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