Quebec Fuel Tax Settlement Finalized

Enniska/February 25, 2014

TERRITORY OF AKWESASNE – In June of 2011, an agreement was reached between the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador and the Quebec Revenue Agency for a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit involving fuel tax that was paid by registered Indians on reserves within the province. On December 9, 2011 the Superior Court of Quebec approved the agreement between AFNQL Regional Chief Ghislain Picard and Revenue Quebec—ordering the province to pay a monetary amount of $27 million.  The individual amount to be paid was dependent upon the final number of claims that were accepted.

MCA is formally notifying the community that Collectiva Class Action Services has finalized the application and appeal process for the Quebec Fuel Tax Settlement. The settlement amounts per age category have now been determined and checks will be mailed to recipients on February 28, 2014, with an anticipated delivery date as early as March 4, 2014. The total number of applicants that will be receiving a portion of the compensation is 29,298. 

“The settlement is less than what we anticipated,” stated MCA Grand Chief Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell. “We consider it a major victory however, in that we got all of Akwesasne considered eligible—even if they reside outside of Quebec.  MCA has always fought hard to have Akwesasne recognized as one community, one people”.

Through efforts overseen by Kawehno:ke District Chief Louise Thompson, all Akwesasne members were eligible to receive a portion of the settlement amount regardless of residency.  For the purposes of filing a claim, Akwesasronon were considered as belonging to one community residing in the province of Quebec. Having Akwesasne recognized as one community has been a long-standing position of MCA in negotiations leading up to final settlement agreements.

Though the settlement amount each individual will be receiving had not been determined or finalized before this week, forged and false information was distributed within Akwesasne and on Facebook that claimed the base amount would be as high as $900, when in fact it is $249 for the lowest age bracket. Each age bracket thereafter increases by $249. (See chart below).

FINAL SETTLEMENT AMOUNTS FOR FIRST NATIONS RESIDENTS OF QUEBEC AND AKWESASNE

Category

Amount of Settlement
On-Reserve (100%)

Amount of Settlement 
Off-Reserve (50%)

1 - 18 to 24 years

$249.92

$124.96

2 - 25 to 34 years

$499.85

$249.92

3 - 35 to 44 years

$749.77

$374.88

4 - 45 to 54 years

$999.69

$499.85

5 - 55 to 64 years

$1,249.61

$624.81

6 - 65 years and over

$1,499.54

$749.77

MCA encourages the community to celebrate this settlement and keep sight of the fact that this was a successful court case in Quebec that has resulted in monetary awards to thousands of First Nations people. 

 

MCA also wishes to inform community members that the settlement each person receives does not need to be claimed on tax forms or reported to social assistance or pension programs.  The settlement each community member receives is considered a refund of tax dollars already and unnecessarily paid.

 

“We want to acknowledge the work of AFNQL Regional Chief Picard, who was responsible for initiating the class action against Revenue Quebec for illegally taxing First Nations people in the province,” noted the Grand Chief. He added, “The settlement amount of $27 million is now being divided by all First Nations of Quebec, with the entire community of Akwesasne being one of the beneficiaries.”

 

It is anticipated that future fuel purchases on First Nations territories will receive tax exemptions. To ensure this recognition for Akwesasne members, MCA will be engaging the Government of Quebec on the making and execution of a tax-exempt card. When developed, forms will be made available at the MCA’s Mohawk Government Building for individuals to apply and receive the tax-exempt card.

 

The Grand Chief concluded by stating that, “We also want to acknowledge District Chief Louise Thompson for coming across this file and for convincing Council to take serious note that Akwesasne residents may benefit from this settlement. Chief Thompson attended the preliminary hearings and followed-up on the court process, as well as, with the support of Mohawk Government Staff, helped community members in following the procedures agreed upon for community members to be eligible for the settlement.”

 

If you have any further questions regarding the settlement, please contact Collectiva at info@collectiva.ca/1-800-287-8587, or Mohawk Government at 613-575-2348.