ARCHIVED — Vol. 147, No. 5 — February 27, 2013


SI/2013-15 February 27, 2013


Order Fixing March 1, 2013 as the Day on which Division 8 of Part 4 of the Act Comes into Force

P.C. 2013-137 February 14, 2013

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, pursuant to section 209 of the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012, chapter 31 of the Statutes of Canada, 2012, fixes March 1, 2013 as the day on which Division 8 of Part 4 of that Act comes into force.


(This note is not part of the Order.)


To bring into force Division 8 of Part 4 of the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012, amending sections 37, 39 and 40 of the Indian Act.


The purpose of this submission is to establish March 1, 2013, as the day on which the amended sections 37, 39 and 40 of the Indian Act will come into force to modify the voting and approval procedures in relation to land designations.


The coming into force of Division 8 of Part 4 of the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012, which received Royal Assent on December 14, 2012, will streamline the current land designation process by amending sections 37, 39 and 40 of the Indian Act to improve economic potential of First Nations lands. Specifically, the amendments reduce the voting threshold to a simple majority from a majority of majority; and replace Governor in Council authority with ministerial authority.

First Nation designated lands are reserve lands that a First Nation has agreed to lease for commercial, agricultural, recreational or other purposes. Similar to how a municipality would zone land for a specific purpose off a reserve, First Nations who operate under the Indian Act identify lands on their reserve for specific purposes following a land designation process. Designated lands remain reserve lands. When a First Nation designates land, it allows a business partner to temporarily run a business on a specified portion of the reserve while the First Nation retains its interest in the land. This arrangement allows First Nations to economically benefit from their lands and to manage them according to their by-laws.

The Government of Canada is committed to facilitating greater First Nations economic development by streamlining government processes and to continue to work with First Nations to address barriers to economic development on reserve. The Act speeds up the process to designate lands and, as a result, provides greater flexibility for First Nations to take advantage of time-sensitive economic development opportunities.

Financial implications

These provisions are expected to reduce the time it takes to administer the land designation process by several months and create new economic opportunities on reserve. By reducing red tape in the land designation process, unnecessary costs to Canada and First Nations will also be eliminated.

Federal/provincial implications

The land designation provisions of the Indian Act apply to First Nation land and do not apply to lands off the reserve where provincial land is governed by the given province.


The amendments to the designation provisions of the Indian Act respond to First Nations who have expressed frustration with the overly complex and lengthy process of designating land. For First Nations operating under the Indian Act, land designation is a prerequisite for economic development on reserve and is the legal instrument that permits leasing on First Nation land. The recent changes to the Act also respond to several criticisms raised by the Auditor General of Canada and industry who have noted the process to be cumbersome and obstructive to economic development.

Policy implications

Internal processes for granting land designations that are administrative in nature will be streamlined, without impacting the quality of service provided to First Nations, or the ability of First Nations to provide their informed consent to a land designation.

Departmental contact

For more information, please contact

Kris Johnson
Senior Director
Lands Modernization
Lands and Economic Development
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Telephone: 819-994-7311