Good Governance Project

Lac Seul First Nation has engaged Metallic Law to review and update LSFN laws and policies regarding elections, governance, and voting processes.

Metallic Law

Metallic Law is a First Nations law firm focused on the protection and assertion of Indigenous rights. They have worked extensively with communities across Ontario on governance, policy development and wise practices. Saga Williams’ family is from Lac Seul, and her mother’s family home is on Trout Lake.

candice photo[45]
Candice Metallic: Principal
AubreyC_photo[91]
Aubrey Charette: Counsel
Saga-photo[95]
Saga Williams: Advisor

Why Does LSFN Need This Project?

Chief and Council have mandated that this project be undertaken to ensure LSFN has a set of governance rules that are clear, reliable, and accountable to its members.

Most importantly, by creating and voting on a new Custom Election Law, LSFN will be able to remove itself from the Indian Act and take control of its own electoral process.

More than half of all First Nations in Canada have already made this important change. It is the right and responsibility of all community members to be informed and involved in governance-based processes.

Project Timeline

This project began in June 2023 and will continue through the end of 2024. 

Initial public consultations were held at Homecoming / Treaty Day in June and again in the LSFN Communities on Nov 1-3.

Additional engagement sessions will take place in Spring 2024 to present the new Custom Election Law to community members for feedback, leading to a Community Approval Vote (Ratification).

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Currently, Chief and Council are serving terms of only 2 years. This was a requirement of the Indian Act which creates many problems for effective and stable governance. It is a very short time to allowfor an elected official to complete the work that Members have asked them to do. The new LSFN Custom Election Law will provide that elected Chief and Council will serve for 3 or 4 years.

Currently, all Members (those living on reserve and off) vote for Chief, and only on-reserve Members vote for Councillors from their home district (Community). Recent legal challenges in other FirstNations have found that off-reserve Members are required to have greater input in the election of Councilors, not just the Chief.

It has been voiced by Chief, Council and Members that a system where ALL Members vote for ALL Councilors (as opposed to voting only for the Councilors in your district) would be a way to unite Lac Seul as one First Nation. We are considering different ways of ensuring there is community-wide participation in LSFN governance.

Yes, we heard from the Community that Members who hold elected office should satisfy minimum requirements to be eligible to run. Under the new Custom Election Law, anyone nominated for Chief or Council must commit to certain standards of conduct. They will also require knowledge of, or commit to learning, the history, culture, and values of Lac Seul, and will have the opportunity to learn the language if they don’t already speak it. Consideration may be given to other criteria.

Electronic Voting: LSFN will be making Electronic Voting an option for the General Election in 2024 and for future Community Approval Votes. This will allow people to vote through an on-line platform for greater convenience, inclusion and participation in decision-making processes and to ensure that Mail/Post timelines do not negatively impact results.

Appeals: Going forward there will be a clear process that LSFN Members can follow if they would like to object to, or appeal, election/approval votes.

The Community has asked to reform the elections process for several years, and the current Chief and Council have made it their mandate during this term. In order to apply a LSFN Custom Election Law, rather than the Indian Act, to the next General Election, LSFN’s new Law must be accepted by the Community with enough time to prepare for the next General Election.

Survey

Respondents who felt that Chief and Council term limit should be 3 or 4 years.
100%
Respondents who felt that there should be minimum qualification criteria to run for Chief and Council
100%
Respondents who felt that there should be expectations of conduct for those who run for and hold elected office.
100%
Respondents who felt that Chief and Councillor should be a full time role, and that those who hold these offices must leave other employment during their term.
78%
Respondents who would like to see Electronic Voting be made available for LSFN
67%

Please click here to participate in the survey, we want to hear from you!

Contact

If you have questions or concerns about the new Election Law, or the Good Governance Project, please reach out to:

lsfn.goodgovernance@gmail.com