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

Act current to 2022-07-13 and last amended on 2022-06-10. Previous Versions

Obstruction of Elections

Marginal note:Prohibition

 A person must not intentionally obstruct an electoral officer or deputy electoral officer in the performance of their duties.

Marginal note:Prohibition

 A person must not, in a manner that this Act does not otherwise prohibit, intentionally obstruct the conduct of an election.

Term of Office

Marginal note:Term of office

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2) and section 29, the chief and councillors of a participating First Nation hold office for four years commencing at the expiry of the term of office of the chief and councillors that they replace.

  • Marginal note:Term of office ceases

    (2) A chief or councillor of a participating First Nation ceases to hold office if

    • (a) they are convicted of an indictable offence and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than 30 consecutive days;

    • (b) they are convicted of an offence under this Act;

    • (c) they die or resign from office;

    • (d) a court sets aside their election under subsection 35(1); or

    • (e) they are removed from office by means of a petition in accordance with the regulations.

Marginal note:Term of office after by-election

 A chief or councillor who is elected in a by-election held under section 25 holds office commencing on the date of their election for the remainder of the term of office that they were elected to fill.

Contested Elections

Marginal note:Means of contestation

 The validity of the election of the chief or a councillor of a participating First Nation may be contested only in accordance with sections 31 to 35.

Marginal note:Contestation of election

 An elector of a participating First Nation may, by application to a competent court, contest the election of the chief or a councillor of that First Nation on the ground that a contravention of a provision of this Act or the regulations is likely to have affected the result.

Marginal note:Time limit

 An application must be filed within 30 days after the day on which the results of the contested election were announced.

Marginal note:Competent courts

 The following courts are competent courts for the purpose of section 31:

  • (a) the Federal Court; and

  • (b) the superior court of a province in which one or more of the participating First Nation’s reserves are located.

Marginal note:Service of application

 An application must be served by the applicant on the electoral officer and all the candidates who participated in the contested election.

Marginal note:Court may set aside election

  •  (1) After hearing the application, the court may, if the ground referred to in section 31 is established, set aside the contested election.

  • Marginal note:Duties of court clerk

    (2) If the court sets aside an election, the clerk of the court must send a copy of the decision to the Minister.

Petition for Removal from Office

Marginal note:Prohibition

 A person must not

  • (a) provide money, goods, employment or other valuable consideration to another person for the purpose of obtaining their signature on a petition for the removal from office of a chief or councillor of a participating First Nation; or

  • (b) accept money, goods, employment or other valuable consideration in exchange for their signature on such a petition.

Offences

Marginal note:Offences

  •  (1) Every person is guilty of an offence who contravenes paragraph 16(a) or (b) or 17(a), section 22 or paragraph 36(a).

  • Marginal note:Offences to which an additional penalty applies

    (2) Every person is guilty of an offence who contravenes

    • (a) section 10; or

    • (b) section 12, paragraph 14(a), (c) or (e), 16(c), (e) or (f) or 20(d) or section 26 or 27.

  • Marginal note:Offences — subsections 13(2) and 21(2)

    (3) Every person who intentionally contravenes subsection 13(2) or 21(2) is guilty of an offence.

Marginal note:Offences

  •  (1) Every person is guilty of an offence who contravenes paragraph 16(d), 17(b), 19(b) or 36(b).

  • Marginal note:Strict liability offence

    (2) An electoral officer who fails to perform their duty under section 24 or an electoral officer or deputy electoral officer who fails to perform any of their duties under the regulations is guilty of an offence.

  • Marginal note:Due diligence defence

    (3) A person is not to be found guilty of an offence under subsection (2) if they establish that they exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.

  • Marginal note:Offences — paragraphs 14(b) and (d), 19(a) and 20(a) to (c)

    (4) Every person who intentionally contravenes any of paragraphs 14(b) and (d), 19(a) and 20(a) to (c) is guilty of an offence.

Penalties

Marginal note:Dual procedure

  •  (1) Every person who is guilty of an offence under section 37 is liable

    • (a) on conviction on indictment, to a fine of not more than $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years, or to both; or

    • (b) on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.

  • Marginal note:Summary conviction

    (2) Every person who is guilty of an offence under section 38 is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than three months, or to both.

Marginal note:Additional penalty

 Any person who is convicted of an offence under paragraph 37(2)(a), or any candidate who is convicted of an offence under paragraph 37(2)(b), in addition to any other punishment for that offence prescribed by this Act, is not eligible to be elected as chief or councillor of a participating First Nation during the five years after the date of conviction.

Regulations

Marginal note:Regulations

 The Governor in Council may make regulations with respect to elections, including regulations respecting

  • (a) the appointment, powers, duties and removal of electoral officers and deputy electoral officers;

  • (b) the requirement that electoral officers be certified, the certification process and the grounds for withdrawing certification;

  • (c) the manner of identifying electors of a participating First Nation;

  • (d) the manner in which candidates may be nominated;

  • (e) the imposition, by participating First Nations, of a fee on each candidate in accordance with section 11;

  • (f) the manner in which voting is to be carried out, including

    • (i) permitting the electoral officer to establish polling stations and advance polling stations,

    • (ii) procedures for obtaining and using mail-in ballots, and

    • (iii) the counting of votes;

  • (g) the removal from office of a chief or councillor of a participating First Nation by means of a petition, including

    • (i) the percentage of electors of that First Nation who must sign that petition, and

    • (ii) the period during which that petition is to be filed;

  • (h) the holding of by-elections; and

  • (i) anything else that by this Act is to be prescribed.

Removal from Schedule

Marginal note:Removing a participating First Nation from the schedule

  •  (1) If a participating First Nation’s council has provided to the Minister a proposed community election code and a resolution requesting that the name of that First Nation be removed from the schedule, the Minister may, by order, remove the name from the schedule if

    • (a) the code establishes a procedure for its amendment;

    • (b) the code and the request were approved by a majority of the votes cast in a secret vote in which a majority of the electors of that First Nation participated;

    • (c) the code has been published by that First Nation on a website maintained by or for it or in the First Nations Gazette; and

    • (d) there are no outstanding charges under this Act against any member of that First Nation.

  • Marginal note:Effective date of community election code

    (2) The community election code comes into force on the day on which the Minister’s order is made.

  • Marginal note:Amendments

    (3) Amendments to the community election code come into force on the day on which they are published by the First Nation on a website maintained by or for it or in the First Nations Gazette.

  • Marginal note:Statutory Instruments Act

    (4) The community election code is not subject to the Statutory Instruments Act.

  • Meaning of community election code

    (5) In this section, community election code means a written code that sets out rules regarding the election of the chief and councillors of a First Nation.

Consequential Amendment to the Indian Act

 [Amendment]

Coming into Force

Marginal note:Order in council

Footnote * The provisions of this Act come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.

 
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