This frequently asked questions page attempts to anticipate and answer the main questions that the citizens of the Tla’amin Nation would ask in regard to the Qamɛs ʔəms tala Tla’amin Settlement Trust.
For a more in-depth information, please refer to the Trust Deed. The Trust Deed contains the legal duties and obligations of the Trustees and the Guardian who oversees the Trustees. It is a legally binding document that is signed by the Trustees and Guardian.
Please refer to the Trust Deed for any questions not addressed in this FAQ page.
-> Would you like to print and read about the Trust offline? Download a PDF of a more detailed FAQ summary and fact sheet here.
Three components are needed for the creation of a trust: trustees, beneficiaries and objectives of the trust established by the Tla’amin Nation.
The Trust is a fiduciary legal relationship where one party transfers property to another party to be managed for the benefit of a third party.
Under the Trust, the Tla’amin Nation contributed or transferred certain monies payable under the Tla’amin Final Agreement to the Trustees to be managed in accordance with the terms of the Trust Deed for the benefit of the Beneficiaries.
This means that the Trust Property – that is, the monies contributed to the Trust – are not managed by Tla’amin Government, but by the Trustees who have a legal responsibility to ensure that the management of the Trust Property is consistent with the terms of the document that created the Trust. This document is known as the Trust Deed.
As a self-governing Nation, Tla’amin negotiated for and established the Trust to be a form of a treasury for our community to manage wealth for present and future generations. Our Trust is structured to ensure that income derived through trust investments is not taxable. The money contributed or transferred to the trust is protected and safely invested for maximum growth over time. This is so that there is a legacy for future generations of Tla’amin Citizens.
An additional reason to have a Trust is the monies transferred and managed within the trust is protected from any debts or liabilities of the First Nation and any corporation or society representing or controlled by the First Nation or its members. For example, if a First Nation or a First Nation corporation or society was found by a court to owe money to a third-party, that third-party would not be able to claim any portion of the monies that were transferred to the trust to satisfy the debt owed to that third-party.
A Tla’amin person who is registered as a Citizen of the Tla’amin Treaty is considered a beneficiary of the Trust.
Attending the Annual General Meeting to keep current with the business of the Trust is a good way to be involved. The Trustees report to Tla’amin Citizens about the financial status and other news of the trust. Attending this meeting is a way to remain current with these events, to ask your questions and voice any concerns.
The Trust Deed requires a minimum of 3 Trustees at any time. Currently there are 5 appointed. At all times, the majority of Trustees must be Tla’amin Citizens. This means there may be a non-Citizen appointed.
The Guardian appoints the Trustees. The Trustees are all appointed for 4-year terms, and the Trustee terms are staggered. This ensures continuity of business. It is important that there are always some experienced Trustees in office. A Trustee may be re-appointed for additional terms.
The Guardian may appoint a Tla’amin Citizen who is between the ages of 19 to 25 years as Youth Trustee for a term of one year. The Youth Trustee may be re-appointed by the Guardian for successive terms.
If a person has an interest in serving as a Trustee, the first step is committing to takingan accredited Community Trust training program offered online through Lethbridge College. The cost of the course is paid by the Trust. You would indicate your interest in letting your name stand to the Guardian of the Trust. An interview with the Guardian would be the next step. The Guardian then has the discretion of the final decision in appointing new Trustees. Existing Trustees have no power toappoint potential fellow Trustees.
Any citizen is eligible to take the training program if they wish for their own interest and knowledge.
A person cannot be a Trustee if he or she:
The beneficiaries enjoy the benefits of the trust property as permitted by the objectives of the Trust Deed.
No. The Beneficiaries cannot direct the Trustees to make a disbursement or payment or transfer of any Trust Property. The Beneficiaries cannot interfere or give any direction to the Trustees about the management or administration of the Trust or how the Trustees exercise their powers or authorities under the Trust Deed.
There is a specific fund within the Trust called the Economic Development Fund. As of April 5th, 2016, there was $7.6 million allocated to this fund. There have been criteria developed by the Trustees to allow access to these funds for economic development opportunities. Citizens can apply through a standard process for business grants to start a new business or improve an existing business. There is opportunity to apply to the Trust in April and October of each year. This fund was included in the Deed specifically for this purpose and is not meant to last more than 15 to 20 years.
The main fund in the Trust is the Capital Transfer Fund. This is the fund that is meant to grow in wealth for generations to come. There is a $4.9 million dollar transfer from the Federal Government to the Trust each year for 10 years beginning in 2016. In addition, there is $670,000 in revenue resource sharing monies per year for the next 50 years to this fund. At the discretion of the Trustees, beginning April 5th, 2021, this fund can be available for the permitted uses listed in the Deed, but only 10% of the indexed value of the capital earned can be used in each consecutive 10-year period for this purpose. Only the Guardian can issue a written resolution which permits this limit to be exceeded.
The Trustees make decisions in accordance with the Trust Deed about the management of the Trust Property. In particular, the Trustees decide where and with whom investments are made in accordance with the Investment Policies approved pursuant to the Trust Deed and when and where disbursements or payments are made from the Trust Property to the Beneficiaries. PBI Actuarial Consultants Ltd were chosen as our Financial Advisors for the Trust. Addenda Capital was chosen as the Financial Management Company to carry out the established Investment Policies and Procedures.
As per the Deed, the Trustees will meet at least once every calendar quarter. Notice of at least fourteen days must be provided to the Trustees with respect to the place, day, and hour of each meeting of the Trustees. All the Trustees may agree in writing to waive the notice requirement for a meeting. If the Trustees fail to hold quarterly meetings, the Guardian may provide notice to the Trustees for their next meeting. The Trustees currently hold at least 1 monthly meeting.
Trustees are required to have quorum for their meetings, and the Guardian must be in attendance for it to be considered a duly convened meeting.
The Trustees use their best efforts to obtain a consensus with respect to the approval of resolutions. If consensus cannot be obtained, a majority of the Trustees in attendance at a Trustee meeting may approve a resolution. The Youth Trustee is entitled to vote on all matters.
A Trustee may participate in a meeting by way of electronic communication if all the Trustees participating in the meeting can communicate with each other. Such a Trustee would be deemed to be present at the meeting and counted in the quorum and entitled to speak and vote at the meeting.
The Trustees may make and amend rules to govern their procedures. Such procedures must be consistent with the Trust Deed and any laws that govern trusts.
A Trustee must provide written disclosure of any conflict of interest to the other Trustees when the Trustee becomes aware of a conflict or potential of a conflict. A Trustee who has disclosed a conflict cannot be present at any discussions concerning the matter related to the conflict.
The Trust Deed provides that a potential conflict may arise where a Trustee:
In addition, it is expected that the Trustees’ Code of Conduct would also set out rules relating to conflicts of interest.
No. The Trust Deed does specifically prohibit Per Capita Disbursements. This means the Trustees cannot disburse or transfer Trust Property or make payments directly to Tla’amin Citizens.
The Guardian has a role to oversee and supervise the management and administration of the Trust. In particular, the Guardian is responsible to ensure that:
(a) the trustees are taking prudent steps to manage and administer the Trust in the best interests of the beneficiaries; and
(b) the Trust is managed in accordance with the Trust Deed.
This means that the Guardian must ensure that the Trustees are carrying out their responsibilities under the Trust Deed in a competent and professional manner.
A person must be a member or hold a certification recognized by a professional or regulatory body for law, accounting, or another regulated profession. The Guardian would also have to meet any additional qualifications established by the Tla’amin Community Trust Meeting. A person cannot be the Guardian if he or she:
While the Guardian may work closely with the trustees from time to time, the Guardian is not a trustee and operates independently from the Trustees. The Trust Deed directs the Guardian to attend all Trust Meetings and Tla’amin Community Trust Meetings. However, the Guardian does not have any voting rights at those meetings.
The Guardian has the specific powers under the Trust Deed, including the appointment and removal of Trustees and the approval of Investment Policies and amendments to the Trust Deed. The Guardian also approves disbursements and honoraria for the Trustees.
The Trustees pay the expenses related to the creation and administration of the Trust from the Trust Property. These expenses would include the fees for auditors, lawyers, consultants and professional advisors, the costs for Trustee meetings and Tla’amin Community Trust Meeting and the honoraria for the Trustees in accordance with a policy approved by the Guardian.
The payment of expenses from the Trust must be made using specific funds from the Trust Property in order to minimize the tax liability of the income of the Trust Property.
The Trust expenses do not exceed 2% of the total value of the Trust annually.
The Trustees must appoint an independent, qualified accounting firm to provide an annual auditors’ report, including a financial statement. The Trustees are responsible to provide copies of the auditors’ report and the audited consolidated financial statements of the Trust to the Guardian, the Tla’amin Community Trust Meeting, and the Tla’amin Government Executive.
The Trustees must also appoint a lawyer, auditor or other suitable professional to undertake an audit of the activities and decisions of the Trustees and the Guardian, including the use, investment, and disbursement of the Trust Property, to ensure compliance with the Trust Deed. This audit is referred to as a Compliance Audit and it must be carried out every two years.
The Trustees can only disburse Trust Property from the Trust to one or more of the Beneficiaries for one of the following Permitted Uses: