Three main components an operational First Nation should look to formalize when starting up their Land Governance office:

✓ Strategic Workplan
✓ Operational Budget
✓ Land Governance office Requirements

STRATEGIC WORK PLAN

  • Template to be updated, collect samples, workshop designed
  • Successful strategic plans involve organizational approach incl. (C&C, Dept Managers, Staff, etc.) and links to other plans in the organization (CCP-Strategic Plan – Operational Plan)
  • Seabirds process as an example — Annual strategy meeting with Council and members
    • Strategies are reviewed quarterly in line with quarterly budgets
    • Community consultation happens twice annually
    • Community members can provide comments or concerns at any time
    • C&C create strategic plan, Managers report progress to CEO monthly
  • Ties into budget
  • The People
    • natural leaders (advice)
    • Traditional Government structures
    • Matriarchal systems
    • Customs/clans
    • Traditional knowledge
    • Knowledge holders
    • Values
    • Language
    • Modern vs. contemporary
    • Community dynamics

The following checklist provides an overview of the base activities that should be considered for an operational Land Governance office start up. It is recommended to identify timelines, staff and resources, and to track consideration, challenges and delays that may occur during implementation. You can download the full excel workplan from our website (www.labrc.com) which can be modified to suit your First Nation’s specific needs.

1. Set up of the Land Governance office

⃞ Purchase office furniture and equipment
⃞ Prepare job description, post job and hire Lands Assistant, as needed
⃞ Create and maintain a standard system of filing
⃞ Set up the office for the lands assistant and purchase equipment
⃞ Provide orientation of Land Governance office to Assistant within two weeks of start date (i.e. security codes, computer log in, voice mail set up, mail boxes, overview of the organization, office policy manual and appropriate admin forms are completed, regular office procedures)
⃞ Create initial budget and consolidated workplan
⃞ Create and maintain an electronic lands inventory of all the FN Lands; train other lands staff to update and maintain data base
⃞ Create a lands webpage and maintain on an as needed basis (ongoing)
⃞ Develop annual budget and consolidated work plan for next fiscal year
⃞ Create registry fees, as approved by Chief & Council and notify law and notary offices
⃞ Create Lands Registry forms and have approved by Chief & Council
⃞ Connect with and develop relationship with local municipality; work together on future projects and/or service agreements
⃞ Ensure the lands staff and lands committee are covered with liability insurance
⃞ Consider branding all of these materials to be cohesive and professional moving forward (Law, Policy, Website, Forms, etc)

2. Supervise the staff within the Land Governance office – Lands Assistant

⃞ Assist and give advice to the Lands Assistant on individual projects
⃞ Provide training to the lands assistant in the area of estates, granting of interests/land rights (QC) (including leases) and licences, and individual land holdings
⃞ Maintain budgets for lands staff and review budget on a monthly basis
⃞ Ensure lands assistant is connected to the FNLRS and provide training
⃞ Conduct staff evaluations, both probationary and regular annual evaluations, based on individual performance work plans
⃞ Hold regular team meetings

3. Creation of operational Lands Committee (LCC) in accordance with Land Code

⃞ Ensure Chief & Council establish committee in accordance with Land Code
⃞ Develop Terms of Reference (TOR) as outlined in Land Code
⃞ Ensure Committee signs TOR & Oath
⃞ Develop Workplan, Budget and Meeting Schedule

4. Carry out the core functions and responsibilities under the Land Code

⃞ Ensure the following tasks are completed and registered in the FNLRS: individual land holdings; granting of interests/land rights (QC) (including leases) and licences (including monitoring and compliance); lands research and encumbrance/charge (QC) checks; land estates; and other land issues, as requiredAssist membership and council with drafting necessary BCRs, completing land transfers/allotment forms, etc.
⃞ Promote the Land Governance office to local realtors, lawyers, bankers and developers via workshops, brochures, website, participating on boards, and trade shows/display booths
⃞ Produce annual report for next fiscal year
⃞ Law Development plan; including Matrimonial Real Property, Indemnity & Immunity Law, Property Development Laws, Zoning Law, Business Permit Law and others based on priority of Chief and Council

5. Hold LMAC meetings and Chief and Council

⃞ Meet with the LMAC and Chief and Council as scheduled

6. Knowledge Sharing

⃞ Work with LABRC and Land Code First Nations on networking and best practices

7. Wills and Estates

⃞ Coordinate workshops for Wills and Estates

8. Professional Development

⃞ Participate in Lands related workshops, courses and training sessions (e.g. Regional RC groups, FNA4LM)

9. Phase 2 of Environmental Assessment (EA)

⃞ Ensure INAC completes Phase 2 of ESA’s (if required)

10. Complete outstanding survey and boundary issues

⃞ Work with NRCAN on Research and reviewing boundaries (if required)

11. Environmental Management

⃞ Ensure all new projects undergo an environmental assessment as outlined in the Individual Agreement
⃞ Develop and implement an Environmental Management Plan
⃞ Develop and implement an Emergency Preparedness Plan

12. Land Code Review

⃞ Review land code on an annual basis for potential amendments including updated clauses from other land codes or the LABRC

13. Other

⃞ Review annual workplan

OPERATIONAL BUDGET

The FNLMRC has developed a sample budget for Tiers 1 to 3, including a sample surplus budget to assist First Nations in preparing for their transitional funding.

  • Strategic planning, budgeting & HR – Workshop / PPT (finance, auditors, etc)
    carry over for new MOU funding structure
  • Annual reporting requirements – sample to include registered transactions, LAC meetings, $$, updated workplan, current land revenue and any expenditures; other …
  •  OFF Data collection – develop and include as a request for submission on annual basis // revise sample budget to include feedback from sessions … work further with Sandra
  • FAL, some FN have included in their Land Codes … FMB resource link
  • Making sure unexpended monies are carried forward by Finance — contact RC Support Technician or Sandra for advice under current MOU and projected MOU….
  • Internal processes – project your real costs to support carry over to fund your office, LAC & strategic workplan // show carry over examples for planned projects (law marathon, survey updates, etc.)// educating auditors that this is allowed under FNLM$$

LANDS OFFICE REQUIREMENTS

The following checklist sets out the Land Governance office requirements under a Land Code:
(*Note: cross reference with the Strategic Workplan)

  1.  Prepare a budget for the Land Governance office/office based on funding agreement (first two years of transitional funding (EMP) of $75,000.00) and own source revenue;
  2. Have an office space equipped with a computer, printer/scanner (ScanSnap), digital camera, hand held GPS, plotter (optional), internet access and appropriate software;
  3. Office furniture (desk, chair, file cabinet – fireproof if budget permits) and office supplies;
  4. Hire the staff – a Land Governance Director and/or Land Governance Officer/Lands Clerk (need job descriptions);
  5. Obtain qualified Legal Counsel (contact the LABRC for information);
  6. Have copies of the First Nation’s: Land Code, Individual Agreement, Outstanding Issues List, Land Use Plans/Comprehensive Community Plans (if applicable), Development Plan, Economic Development Plan, Legal Land Description Report, Lands Manual, Bylaws, Netlands Reports, Parcel Abstract Reports, Lawful Possessors Report, and Evidence of Title Reports available for staff;
  7. Have Chief and Council appoint the Lands Committee based on the Terms of Reference outlined in the Land Code or the First Nation Policy;
  8. Most land codes give an option for a lands registry system, either the First Nation designs their own or they choose to use the First Nations Lands Registry System (FNLRS). If the First Nation chooses the FNLRS they need to obtain access for the lands staff or have staff obtain access on their own. The FNLRS is housed in Ottawa and is maintained by INAC staff. The FNLRS is identical to the Indian Lands Registry System (ILRS) except once a document is sent in for registration it receives a registry number so registration is instantaneous. The FNLRS is completely web based which means no hard copies are sent to INAC, they are electronically transmitted. Most First Nations have chosen to use the FNLRS because it’s inexpensive (it’s free) and relatively easy to use. In addition, the law offices (and notary offices) are familiar with this registry system. To obtain a Log-on and Password request from INAC HQ, call 1-866-795-6465 and let them know who you are, which First Nation you are the Land Governance Director for, and that you are requesting First Nation full access;
    1. Website for FNLRS https://pa-ap.aadnc-INAC.gc.ca/Citrix/XenApp/auth/login.aspx (New link to come)
    2. If the First Nation chooses to use the FNLRS they should do it officially by a BCR/Law – register this BCR/Law in the FNLRS.
    3. Obtain training on how to use the FNLRS. INAC will hopefully give a mini web-based training session or LABRC staff may be able to give a training session.
    4. Chief and Council appoint the Land Governance Director (use job title rather than the person’s name or if no manager, the Land Governance Officer) to be their Lands Registrar officially by BCR or Law (register this in the FNLRS)
    5. If there are pre-existing leases and/or subleases on the reserve, have Chief and Council decide if they will be the approving body for any new assignments of these -pre-existing leases and/or subleases, mortgages/hypothecs (QC) or cancellations of subleases/leases. If they choose not to, they can delegate this to the Land Governance Director (or if no manager, the Land Governance Officer). Chief and Council should also do this officially by BCR or Law and register it in the FNLRS.
    6. If there are pre-existing registered leases/subleases, these must be registered on the FNLRS immediately.
  9. Develop an annual or long term work plan based on Land Code, for the Lands Department and Lands Committee. This could be prepared in coordination with Chief and Council. If a Band Council has adopted a law in accordance with the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (S.C. 2013, c. 20), it can replace it with a law in accordance with the Framework Agreement. Laws are created as needed in accordance with the First Nation Land Code;
  10. Have a current map/plan of each of the reserves;
    1. Google Earth NRCAN Overlay – http://clss.nrcan.gc.ca/googledata-donneesgoogle-eng.php
    2. NRCAN for all individual lots/parcels/plans – http://clss.nrcan.gc.ca/advancedplansearch-rechercheplanavance-eng.phpBy having this plan the Land Governance Director/Officer can identify where all of the registered instruments are located. It’s a great way to get to know the reserves.
  11. The creation of the appropriate registry forms, checklists and fee schedules for entry into the FNLRS should be developed and approved by Chief and Council, approval should be by BCR or Law. The Westbank First Nation website, Tzeachten First Nation website and Tsleil-Waututh First Nation website are all great resources to find these types of forms. These forms/checklists can be tailored for each First Nation. The First Nation will need to determine if they will be charging for the land registrations. Most of the FNLM First Nations do charge for this service. In B.C. the First Nations try to be consistent with each other and these fee schedules are normally available on the individual FNLM First Nations website or upon request. Once the registry forms and fee schedule are ready for use they should be sent to all of the local law, notary offices and real estate boards;
      1. Tzeachten First Nation website: http://www.tzeachten.ca/
      2. Tsleil-Waututh First Nation website: http://www.twnation.ca/
      3. Westbank First Nation website: http://www.wfn.ca/
  12. If the First Nation has certificate of possessions (CP’s) they will need to set up a spreadsheet/database for any new allotments, transfers etc. as the First Nation is responsible for issuing new CP’s after the transfers and allotments are completed. In addition, if the First Nation is issuing new CP’s they will need to design their CP (Tzeachten used INAC’s format so that it’s familiar to the members – the only difference is that it is not set up on legal size paper. The new spreadsheet/database should have information such as: the CP number (a numbering system needs to be created), name of CP holder, legal description, interest/land right (QC) and type of tenure (if more than one CP holder on the lot). Because INAC does not generate CP numbers for new CP’s once a First Nation is under their land code, it’s necessary for the First Nation to create their own numbering system so they can track their CP’s. When the allotment is registered in the FNLRS the new CP number can be added in the remarks field. It’s a good idea to do up an allotment law or policy;
  13. Design a filing system for the Land Governance office (this could vary depending on the number of CP’s, registered leases/permits, number of reserves, and number of bands -i.e. SAY group);
  14. Knowledge of how to do an encumbrance/charge (QC) check or land status report will be necessary as INAC no longer provides this for any new band housing or land developments (e.g., leases, permits, allotments, easements/servitudes (QC), mortgages/hypothecs(QC), etc.). INAC and LABRC can train staff on how to do an encumbrance/charge (QC) check and land status report; and
  15. Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) of the reserves should be available for the Land Governance Director/Officer to review. If there is a need for a Phase 2 ESA, it will be outlined in the Phase 1 ESA. INAC funds the Phase 2 ESA projects.
  16. Identify deadlines and requirements for any specific laws within the Land Code. (i.e. Spousal Property Law, Land Use Law, etc.). Refer to the Land Code for law development requirements.