First Nations Elections Act (S.C. 2014, c. 5)

Assented to 2014-04-11

First Nations Elections Act

S.C. 2014, c. 5

Assented to 2014-04-11

An Act respecting the election and term of office of chiefs and councillors of certain First Nations and the composition of council of those First Nations

SUMMARY

This enactment establishes a regime, alternative to the one under the Indian Act, to govern the election of chiefs and councillors of certain First Nations. Among other things, the regime

  • (a) provides that chiefs and councillors hold office for four years;

  • (b) provides that the election of a chief or councillor may be contested before a competent court; and

  • (c) sets out offences and penalties in relation to the election of a chief or councillor.

This enactment also allows First Nations to withdraw from the regime by adopting a written code that sets out the rules regarding the election of the members of their council.

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

SHORT TITLE

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the First Nations Elections Act.

INTERPRETATION

Marginal note:Definitions

 The following definitions apply in this Act.

“council”

« conseil »

“council” has the meaning assigned by the definition “council of the band” in subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act.

“deputy electoral officer”

« président d’élection adjoint »

“deputy electoral officer” means a person so appointed in accordance with the regulations.

“election”

« élection »

“election” means the election of the chief and councillors of a participating First Nation, including by way of a by-election.

“elector”

« électeur »

“elector” means a person who is registered on a Band List, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act, and

  • (a) in relation to an election, is 18 years of age or older on the day of the election;

  • (b) in relation to a petition to remove from office a chief or councillor, was 18 years of age or older on the day of the election of that chief or councillor;

  • (c) in relation to a nomination referred to in section 9, is 18 years of age or older on the day of the nomination; or

  • (d) in relation to a vote on a proposed community election code referred to in paragraph 42(1)(b), is 18 years of age or older on the day of the vote.

“electoral officer”

« président d’élection »

“electoral officer” means a person so appointed in accordance with the regulations.

“First Nation”

« première nation »

“First Nation” has the meaning assigned by the definition “band” in subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act.

“mail-in ballot”

« bulletin de vote postal »

“mail-in ballot” means a ballot that is sent to an elector by mail or otherwise provided to an elector other than at a polling station.

“member”

« membre »

“member”, in relation to a participating First Nation, means a person whose name appears, or who is entitled to have their name appear, on the Band List maintained for that First Nation under section 8 of the Indian Act.

“Minister”

« ministre »

“Minister” means the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

“nomination meeting”

« assemblée de mise en candidature »

“nomination meeting” means a meeting held for the purpose of nominating candidates for an election.

“participating First Nation”

« première nation participante »

“participating First Nation” means a First Nation that is named in the schedule.

“reserve”

« réserve »

“reserve” has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act.

ADDING TO THE SCHEDULE

Marginal note:Order
  •  (1) The Minister may, by order, add the name of a First Nation to the schedule if

    • (a) that First Nation’s council has provided to the Minister a resolution requesting that the First Nation be added to the schedule;

    • (b) the Minister is satisfied that a protracted leadership dispute has significantly compromised governance of that First Nation; or

    • (c) the Governor in Council has set aside an election of the Chief and councillors of that First Nation under section 79 of the Indian Act on a report of the Minister that there was corrupt practice in connection with that election.

  • Marginal note:Contents of the order

    (2) The order must specify the date of the first election for the First Nation in respect of which the order is made.

  • Marginal note:Effect of order on term of office

    (3) The chief and councillors of a First Nation in respect of which an order is made who hold office on the day on which the order is made continue to hold office until the day of the first election and cease to hold office on that day.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (4) Subsection 7(1) does not apply to the council that is in office on the day on which the order is made.

Marginal note:Change of name

 In the event of a change to the name of a participating First Nation, the Minister may, by order, amend the schedule to reflect the change.

ELECTION DATES

Marginal note:First election

 The date of a first election must not be later than,

  • (a) in the case of a First Nation whose name is added to the schedule under paragraph 3(1)(a),

    • (i) the day on which, but for the making of the Minister’s order, the term of office of its chief and councillors would have expired, or

    • (ii) if that First Nation’s council has requested in their resolution the establishment of a common election date with five or more other First Nations whose councils have made a similar request, one year after the earliest day on which, but for the order, the term of office of the chief and councillors of any one of those First Nations would have expired; and

  • (b) in the case of a First Nation whose name is added to the schedule under paragraph 3(1)(b) or (c), six months after the day on which the order is made.

Marginal note:Subsequent elections

 Subsequent elections, other than by-elections, must be held within the period of 30 days before the day on which the term of office of the incumbent chief and councillors expires.

COUNCIL

Marginal note:Composition
  •  (1) The council of a participating First Nation is to consist of one chief and, for every 100 members of that First Nation, one councillor, but the number of councillors is not to be less than two or more than 12.

  • Marginal note:Reduction  — number of councillors

    (2) Despite subsection (1), the council may, by resolution, reduce the number of councillor positions but to not less than two. The reduction is applicable as of the next election that is not a by-election.

Marginal note:Statutory Instruments Act

 The resolution referred to in subsection 7(2) is not subject to the Statutory Instruments Act.

CANDIDATES

Marginal note:Eligibility
  •  (1) Only an elector of a participating First Nation is eligible to be nominated as a candidate for the position of chief or councillor of that First Nation.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (2) An elector is not to be nominated as a candidate for the position of chief and the position of councillor in the same election.

  • Marginal note:Nomination

    (3) An elector becomes a candidate only if

    • (a) their nomination is moved and seconded, in the manner prescribed by regulation, by other electors of the First Nation;

    • (b) they provide their consent to be a candidate; and

    • (c) the fee imposed on them under section 11, if any, is remitted.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (4) An elector must not nominate more than one candidate for each position to be filled.

Marginal note:Prohibition

 A person must not, in connection with an election, consent to be a candidate knowing that they are not eligible to be a candidate.

Marginal note:Candidacy fee

 Participating First Nations may, if authorized to do so by regulation, impose a fee of up to $250 on each candidate in an election, to be refunded if the candidate receives more than five per cent of the total votes cast.

Marginal note:Prohibition

 A person must not, in connection with an election,

  • (a) by intimidation or duress, attempt to influence another person to

    • (i) nominate or refrain from nominating a particular candidate,

    • (ii) accept or decline a nomination, or

    • (iii) withdraw as a candidate;

  • (b) act, or incite another person to act, in a disorderly manner, with the intention of disrupting the conduct of a nomination meeting; or

  • (c) knowingly publish a false statement that a candidate is withdrawing or has withdrawn their candidacy.

Marginal note:Order to leave
  •  (1) An electoral officer or deputy electoral officer may order a person to leave a nomination meeting if the person is committing an offence under this Act that threatens the maintenance of order at the meeting, or if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the person has done so.

  • Marginal note:Obligation

    (2) A person to whom an order is given under subsection (1) must obey it without delay.

 
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