Lhieidli T’enneh Nation was certified by Financial Management Board on Mar 30, 2021 as the 46th First nation across Canada and 26th in the Province of British Columbia. There are more than 630 First Nations in Canada and 198 First Nations in the Province of British Columbia.
An amendment to the Indian Act, known as the Kamloops Amendment, makes it possible for the First Nations to collect property taxes from reserve lands. As a national initiative by Assembly of First Nations (AFN), a legislation was created known as, Fisrt Nations Fiscal management Act (FMA) established three institutions to work with in the following areas:
The road to strong finance and governance practices begins with developing a Financial Administration Law (FAL). A FAL provisions that support sound financial management.
A Financial Management System (FMS) Certificate, issued by Financial Management Board (FMB) is the evidence to Council, community members, lenders, business partners, and others that Lheidli T’enneh Administration ensures the best governance and finance practices as outlined the Financial Administration Law (FAL).
It also allows as a borrowing member to remain in good standing with the First Nations Finance Authority (FNFA).
About the Certification
The Financial Management System (FMS) Certification process begins with substantial background work and prior compliance such as Financial Performance Certification.
Once Lheidli T’enneh received the FP certification, the nation started to work toward FMS certification. That process has the below steps:
Lheidli T’enneh had its FAL approved and revised as per requirement. The initiative was taken several times, to start from step 2 as stated above, especially when the nation entered into the 10-year grant program. In April 2020, a core FMS working team was formed, which consisted of Zawad Abedin (Manager, Capital Projects & Asset Management), Towfiqul Islam (Chief Financial Officer) and Joseph Gosnell Jr. (Executive Director). With the leadership of Chief and Council of Lheidli T’enneh, the core team started towards the goal of FMS certification.
Overview of the Work
The overall work progressed through Manager, CP&AM and CFO with the close coordination with the Executive Director. A thorough checklist was prepared, and all the necessary items were organized as per level of priority and difficulty. The policies were worked on at the very outset. CFO lead the Finance and Governance Policy preparation whereas Manager, CP&AM lead the Human Resources and Information Management Policy preparation. Executive Director reviewed all the policies, amended where necessary and finally Council reviewed and approved those.
After the policies and procedures were in place, rest of the checklist items were ticked off one by one. Some of the big items were Annual report, Strategic Planning, Life Cycle Management, and Asset Management. All the employees of Lheidli T’enneh Nation stepped forward and performed their part toward the overall completion of the work. Throughout the process, the capacity development manager from FMB has been the key knowledge source for the core team regarding FMB’s FMS standards.
CFO Towfiqul Islam (currently Deputy Executive Director) led the audit process on behalf of the Band. FMB Audit Team led by Kate Campbell CPA, BBA and tested Financial Transaction, Authorization Matrix, internal control, Risk Management, HR Management, and overall Band operation.
During declaring the FMS certification, In a zoom meeting, Kate Campbell confirmed that Lheidli T’enneh obtained one of the top scores across Canada for this FMS certification.
Lheidli T’enneh Nation achieved the FMS certification on Mar 30th, 2021.
With the leadership of the Council and Executive Director, the CFO and Manager, CP&AM; are working on the journey of this standard practices of FMS, to ensure Lheidli T’enneh community members receive the benefit out of this. Compliance of FMS standards is the key to continuous improvement and that is being closely monitored by the core FMS team.
Lheidli T’enneh will be happy to assist any First Nation across Canada, sharing our experience and knowledge about the process. We are here to help and want to progress together.