Developing a Community Land Code – The First Nations Land Management Initiative

Presenting organizations: Lands Advisory Board & INAC

The Board’s primary responsibility is to provide strategic direction on First Nation Land Management.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)

Working together to make Canada a better place for Aboriginal and northern people and communities.


Under the First Nation Land Management Initiative, a community Land Code replaces 32 sections of the Indian Act. It includes the power to create land laws, resolve disputes, and conduct land-related business such as lease management, enforcement, and individual lands. Attend this session to gain an understanding of what it takes to create a Land Code for your community.

What Participants will learn by attending

Participants will participate in discussions and gain knowledge through an:

  • Overview of the Framework Agreement and First Nation Land Management Act,
  • Overview on preparing for entry into the First Nation Land Management Regime,
  • Overview on Land Code vs. the Indian Act land management.


Robert Louie, Chair of the Lands Advisory Board

Sheila Craig, Manager, Lands Modernization, INAC

Presenter Biographies

Robert Louie, LL.B., OC, of Kelowna, B.C. is the former Chief of the Westbank First Nation. He is also the Chairman of the First Nations Lands Advisory Board and Board of Director member of Peace Hills Trust (Financial Institution). He served as a Board of Governor member with the University of British Columbia and as a member of the President’s Advisory Council of the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBC-O).

Sheila Craig is the Manager of the Lands Modernization unit at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, supporting initiatives such as First Nation Land Management and First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act.

A.J. (Al) Gross extensive experience working with First Nations in Canada and extensive corporate knowledge in relation to Canada’s programs and policies that relate to First Nations and their communities. From 1962 to 1965 I worked in First Nation communities in the fishing industry. From 1965 to 1996 I worked for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) at the local, regional and headquarters levels of their administration. The positions I held included Field Agent Pelican Narrows and La Ronge Saskatchewan where I lived in First Nation communities for several years.

At the region level I was Regional Resource Development Officer Saskatchewan, Superintendent of Economic Development Saskatchewan, Regional Intergovernmental Relations Manager Saskatchewan, Director of Reserves and Trusts Saskatchewan and Director of Lands Revenues and Trusts British Columbia.

At the Headquarters level I was Director of Specific Claims West and Director of Treaty Land Entitlement. During this period I was involved with the settlement of many First Nations’ specific claims in Western and Northern Canada such as the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Treaty Land Entitlements.

Since my retirement from the public service in 1996, I was a contract Chief Federal Negotiator for the successful conclusion of several more key files. These files include the Fishing Lake and Kahkewistahaw surrender claims in Saskatchewan, the Westbank self-government agreement in British Columbia and the Rainy River surrender claim in Ontario. I have also acted as a Crown deponent in several court actions in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

For the past ten or twelve years I mainly worked as a verifier under the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management. I have been the verifier for the Land Code ratification process for thirty four (34) First Nations. The Land Code for all except two of these First Nations was ratified by the respective eligible voters. These FNs are Aitchelitz, Campbell River, Chawathil, Cheam, Haisla Nation, Kitselas, Leq’á:mel, Lower Nicola, Malahat, Matsqui, Metlakatla, Musqueam, Nak’azdli Whut’en, Nanoose, Osoyoos, Scowlitz, Seabird Island, Shuswap, Shx’wha:y Village, Skawahlook, Skowkale, Songhees, Soowahlie, Squamish, Squiala, St. Mary’s, Stz’uminus , Sumas, Tsleil-Waututh, T’Sou-ke, Tzeachten, We Wai Kai, Williams Lake & Yakweakwioose. I am currently the verifier for ten more First Nations that are working toward their Land Code ratification vote.