B.C. First Nation chief paid nearly $1M last year

Kwikwetlem Chief Ron Giesbrecht. (kwikwetlem.com)

Kwikwetlem Chief Ron Giesbrecht. (kwikwetlem.com)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:23 PM ET

A B.C. First Nation chief who represents 81 members was paid nearly $1 million tax-free last year.

New salary disclosures posted online this week show Chief Ron Giesbrecht of Kwikwetlem First Nation in Coquitlam was paid $914,219 plus $16,574 in expenses for the fiscal year ended March 31.

Under the Indian Act, income earned on a reserve by anyone with Indian status is exempt from income tax.

Kwikwetlem has a registered population of 81, according to Aboriginal Affairs Canada.

Its consolidated financial statements show $12.6 million in revenue and $7.3 million in expenditures for the same period - up from $2.77 million revenue and $2.48 million expenditures the previous fiscal.

The figures emerged this week when the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, passed last year, came into effect, requiring First Nations' financial statements be posted on their own websites and on the Aboriginal Affairs website.

"We understand that seeing such a large number for the chief's salary is disconcerting," the band said in a statement Thursday afternoon that broke down his earnings.

The chief had, in addition to his regular duties, taken over the role of economic development officer last September. The job comes with an $80,000 salary plus a bonus of 10% on gross profit from "capital projects and business opportunities" secured on behalf of Kwikwetlem - in this case, $800,000. That's in addition to his $4,800 chief salary.

The statement noted that the bonus was removed in a new contract negotiated April 1.

 


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