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OKIB TAXATION OF NON-NATIVES
OCCUPYING BAND LAND
January 25, 2015
|During the 1970's Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario
all vacated this field of taxation but British Columbia continues to
levy provincial property taxes on these leaseholds and permit them
to also be taxed by local governments, including municipalities,
school districts, regional districts, hospital districts and
First Nations angling for exemption from new tax
Kelowna Capital News - By Alistair Waters - June
B.C. First Nations leaders are calling for a
province-wide HST exemption for their members.
Penticton Indian Band’s Stewart Phillip, head of the Union of B.C.
Indian Chiefs, told the Capital News Tuesday, that’s the demand he
will make when he and other First Nation leaders meet with Finance
Minister Colin Hansen on Thursday.
Saying he was “not impressed” that Hansen waited until the “11th
hour,” to meet despite repeated attempts by Native leaders over the
past few months, Phillip said he will go to the meeting and will
press for B.C. to follow Ontario’s lead and exempt B.C. aboriginals
from paying the HST on and off reserve
Unlike B.C., which does not have a history of treaties between First
Nations and the federal government, Ontario has exempted its Native
people from sales tax both on and off reserve for many years, said
In B.C., there has been a sales tax exemption for First Nation
members but only for goods purchased on reserve.
But, he said a majority of First Nations people live off reserve in
B.C., in part because of a lack of housing and jobs in their home
communities. Many aboriginals also tend to have a lower income and
because of that, the HST will affect them particularly harshly.
“It will be another burden in an already dire situation,” he said.
Support for a mirror of the situation in Ontario is widespread among
B.C. First Nations across the province, according to the Union of
B.C. Indian Chiefs, including First Nations here in the Okanagan.
Chief Robert Louie of the Westbank First Nation said he supports the
move to bring in a sweeping HST exemption for First Nation people in
B.C. both on and off reserve.
“If the province of Ontario can do it, why can’t the province of
British Columbia?” he said.
Louie believes the “vast majority” of First Nation people are
opposed to the HST here but added it’s still unclear what will
happen in regard to the current initiative petition campaign to have
the tax scrapped and as a result, would not speculate on what will
happen if a province-wide exemption is not granted to First Nations
On the WFN reserves, the WFN government currently collects a five
per cent tax—equivalent to the GST—from its members on just three
items, alcohol, tobacco and automotive fuel.
Other purchases by First Nation members of products bought on
reserve are not taxable. First Nation members pay sales tax and GST
on goods bought off reserve just like non-native people.
Louie said information from the Canada Revenue Agency has shown the
amount of administration will increase with the introduction of the
HST but other than that, little will change on WFN reserves.
he added, is really an exemption for First Nation people shopping
off reserve across the province.
Phillip said after a recent meeting with leaders of the Fight HST
group—lead by former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm and
trying to have the current law allowing the HST rescinded—members of
the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs vowed to do all they could to stop
the new harmonized sales tax.
The tax will replace the current five per cent GST and the seven per
cent provincial sales tax as of July 1 with a combined 12 per cent
The new tax will be applicable on a host of items and services
currently exempt from the PST.
Despite many economists supporting the introduction of the HST in
B.C., saying it will be good for the economy, a recent StatsCan
report said the introduction would immediately increase costs for an
average B.C. household by about $500 per year.
The Fight HST group has gathered the signatures of 15 per cent of
all registered voters is all 85 B.C. ridings on petitions to try to
force the government to either hold a non-binding provincial
referendum on the HST or introduce legislation abolishing it. If the
latter route is followed, the Liberals have a majority in the
legislature to vote such a bill down and keep the HST in place.
As part of the deal it made with Ottawa to create the HST, the
province will get $1.6 billion.
But unlike Ontario, which got $4 billion in its HST deal with the
federal government, B.C. is refusing to pass the money it received
onto residents in the form of HST rebate cheques.
awaters "at" kelownacapnews.com
Some Bands do not tax their Buckshees occupiers
The discussions to date have been that all buckshee non-native occupiers on the
Okanagan’s Indian Reserves would be taxed if the Okanagan Band takes over
taxation. Issues have been raised that some Bands do not tax their Buckshee
non-native occupiers of Indian Reserve land. This matter has been referred to
the Indian Taxation Advisory Board and a report will be made back to the
Has the Band Council got a strategy for the expenditures of the tax
monies, i.e. cleaning up the lake, pollution, roads, sewage?
The suggestion is that with creating reliable systems for sewage, etc. that the
services can be charged to the non-native occupiers.
People living on developments such as, Parkers Cove, Lawrence Heights,
Country Estates, Desert Cove and Turtle Lodges pay property tax which is
collected by Kelowna, Vernon and the Regional District. This could and should be
going to the Okanagan Indian Band. Over the past ten years the Band has
essentially given away between 10 and 15 million dollars by allowing other
jurisdictions to collect the property tax.
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