First Nation Land Management Verification Requirement
Al Gross is the Verifier for the Fort Nelson First Nation.
The Verifier’s Role (Summary)
- An independent verifier is required to monitor and verify
- The Verifier is independent and neutral
“Verifying” the Land Code
A verifier’s key role is to verify that the First Nation’s Land Code meets the requirements of the FA and FNLMA.
Key requirements are:
· Accurate description of the reserve lands
· General rules for land use and occupancy
· Procedures for disposition or succession of reserve land interests
· General rules for revenues from natural resources
· Accountability requirements to membership for the management of money and land
· Procedure for making and publishing laws
· Conflict of interest rules for land management
· Dispute resolution for persons whose land interests may be affected by FN decisions
· General rules for the expropriation of reserve land
· General authorities for delegation of land administrative authority
· A procedure for amending the Code
“Verifying” the Vote Process and “Certifying” the Land Code
The verifier must also:
1) Confirm that the process the FN uses to acquire the consent of their eligible voters is consistent with the FA and FNLMA, mainly.
a) Each eligible voter must have the opportunity to vote freely.
b) Each eligible voter must have the opportunity to be informed about the land code and the FN’s Individual Transfer Agreement (IA) with Canada.
2) Confirm that the FN’s Community Ratification Process (CRP) is consistent with the FA and FNLMA.
3) Monitor the voting process and confirm the results of the vote in writing.
4) If the land Code and IA are approved by the FN’s eligible voters the verifier must “certify” the Code. The Code will then become an official law of the FN.
- Another role of the verifier is to make final decisions on any objections that either Canada or eligible voters may lodge about the ratification process.
- The verifier makes the final decision if there are disputes between the FN and Canada while the IA is being negotiated.
- The verifier has no authority to become involved in disputes about funding.
- The Verifier’s role is autonomous. The verifier’s opinions and actions are final
- While decisions by the Verifier are final, Canada or anyone directly affected by the decision may apply for judicial review if the Verifier exceeds his/her jurisdiction
- Throughout the process the FN and Canada keep the verifier fully informed. The verifier participates in meetings and other related events as required and will be present on voting day/days to monitor the voting procedure.