Annual Salary for First Nations Chiefs

How much do aboriginal chiefs earn annually?

Under the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which the Canadian government passed in year 2013, aboriginal bands (about 580 bands covered under this law) are required to post their chiefs’ earnings on the federal Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development website by the end of November 2014. Only 56% of them have submitted their records so far.

Key Findings of Chiefs Incomes Survey

  1. Incomes earned on reserves are NOT subject to income tax (ie, tax free)
  2. In year 2013, at least 35 chiefs made more than $100,000 base salary, excluding expenses and other special pay.
    — Chief’s untaxed income of $100,000 is equivalent to regular Canadian taxable income of about $150,000
  3. The median salary was around $60,000 between $50,000 and $75,000.
    — Chief’s untaxed income of $60,000 is equivalent to regular Canadian taxable income of about $80,000
  4. At least 105 chiefs collected more than $100,000 salary if other expenses and benefits are included.

Hot Discussion – Number Crunching?!?!

Chief Ron Giesbrecht, of the the tiny Kwikwetlem First Nation in British Columbia’s lower mainland, took home an eye-popping $914,219 in year 2013. The band has a population of only 82!!! OMG! (See the income table below.)

Chief Jim Boucher of the Fort McKay First Nation, up in oil sands country north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, for more than two decades collected a salary of $644,441 in year 2013. The band only has a population of 826, of which 396 members live on its reserve and 430 live elsewhere. In comparison, the nearby Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, has a population of more than 100,000 and pays its mayor $127,671. How many years has Boucher collected $600,000 tax-free salary?!?! OMG! (See the salary table below.)

Chief Darren Whitford, of O’Chiese First Nation in Alberta with an on-reserve population of 842, earned $164,453 and charged $100,778 in travel and other expenses. By contrast, Mayor Fred Nash of nearby Rocky Mountain House, with a population of about 7,500 made about $42,000 on which, of course, he paid income tax.

Chief Paul Sam, of Shuswap Indian Band in BC with 87 residents, earned $202,413 in year 2013. Many Shuswap reserve residents have asked questions for more than a decade about the band’s spending, even going so far as to occupy the band office demanding answers that until now went unanswered. The houses are in disrepair. There are band members living with no water and sewer!!!

To read more on First Nations financial statements in details
click and comment.

Questions Unanswered

If chiefs are making so much money, why don’t they help their own people? Why do they keep asking the federal government for more contributions from taxpayers’ hard earned money? Corruptions are likely involved and worth investigation.

Year 2013: Six-Figure Chiefs’ Salaries

You can re-arrange the following table by Band, Province, Chief, Population, or Salary in either ascending or descending order. This table lists the base salary, excluding expenses and other special pays. Population numbers include both on-reserve and off-reserve band members.

Band Province Chief Population Salary
Kwikwetlem First Nation BC Ron Giesbrecht 82 $914,219
Fort McKay First Nation AB Jim Boucher 826 $644,441
Shuswap Indian Band BC Paul Sam 87 $202,413
Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation NL Chief 1,497 $173,704
Samson AB Chief 8,013 $166,984
O’Chiese AB Darren Whitford 1,272 $164,453
Fort McMurray #468 First Nation AB Chief 712 $156,000
Moose Cree First Nation ON Chief 4,423 $154,340
Osoyoos BC Chief 531 $146,369
Chippewas of the Thames First Nation ON Chief 2,761 $143,524
Acadia NS Chief 1,491 $130,000
Opaskwayak Cree Nation MB Chief 5,714 $130,325
Doig River First Nation BC Chief 302 $127,210
Cheslatta Carrier Nation BC Chief 345 $123,033
Lax Kw’alaams BC Chief 3,688 $122,500
Enoch Cree Nation #440 AB Chief 2,452 $120,000
Kanaka Bar BC Chief 230 $117,000
Buffalo Point First Nation MB John Thunder 125 $116,918
Yellowknives Dene First Nation NWT Chief 1,489 $116,000
Glooscap First Nation NS Chief 357 $115,500
Mikisew Cree First Nation AB Chief 2,964 $110,601
Membertou NS Terry Paul 1,419 $110,000
Kwadacha BC Chief 535 $107,922
Leq’a:mel First Nation BC Chief 395 $107,082
Missisauga’s of Scugog Island First Nation ON Chief 227 $106,976
Kwantlen First Nation BC Chief 252 $106,011
Madawaska Maliseet First Nation NB Chief 359 $105,260
Saint Mary’s NB Chief 1,780 $104,765
Loon River Cree AB Arthur Noskey 569 $103,000
Wahgoshig ON Chief 318 $102,550
Smith’s Landing First Nation NWT Chief 339 $102,461
McLeod Lake BC Chief 531 $102,000
Blood AB Chief 11,912 $101,495
Woodland Cree First Nation AB Chief 1,108 $100,961
Piapot SK Chief 2,291 $100,503
Alexander AB Chief 2,114 $100,000

Data source: macleans

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31 Responses to Annual Salary for First Nations Chiefs

  1. T. Henderson on 2018/03/31 at 5:43 pm

    Enough is enough….they have been sucking the hind teat too long.
    Get rid of the reserves, there’re just a den for drugs and alcohol.
    From a chief himself..” this is all our land and we’ll get it all back.”
    They have had it to good for too long.

  2. DENNIS on 2018/03/06 at 12:01 am


  3. Carol on 2018/02/18 at 5:49 pm

    Chief Clint Wuttunee what’s his salary?

  4. Lisa on 2017/10/11 at 12:04 am

    Those Alberta chiefs collect money from oil and gas. Their people do well. Those are not bands subsisting on federal money!

  5. Jay on 2017/06/09 at 5:13 pm

    this is all entertaining and everything but really this isn’t about racism people are just trying to shine some light on these chiefs because some of them are being way over paid and im sure we haven’t even seen the worst of it these are just the ones that reported and and i’m sure there are more out there but always probably a few who don’t over pay them selves. BUT the fact of the matter is natives are not the first to lose there land to another nation or be forced into isolation or slavery or even attempted genocide BUT they are the first to receive funding because of there hard comings and they also seem to be the only ones who cant get them selves out of these situations. Also nobody is forcing you to live there and I know some fly in reserves can be more difficult but seriously if the Mexicans can cross the border the Cubans can cross the ocean and americans and refugees can find there way into Canada im sure natives can find a way from the reserve to a town or city. point of the matter is its time to stop asking what we can do for you and figuring out what you can do for yourself

  6. susan Seinen on 2017/05/02 at 6:28 am

    Anyone in a leadership role should be held accountable, such as a parent, pastor, teacher, MLA, PM, and a chief!

  7. Beverly Killaire (@Beverlydeelstra) on 2017/03/23 at 10:56 pm

    I am sad to say that my mother was from the sixth nations she married a white man. Her mother also married a white man. Her grandmother was on a reserve. Last name was Gervais. This story really embarrasses me about the Chiefs. I don’t know what to say. How can they do this to their people. It’s as if they are living in Africa. I was proud and now I am disgusted. I would protest the Chiefs. They are an embarrassment to your culture. Do not leave his doorstep till everyone is taken care of. Ban together and vote them out. Do this for your family. God bless you for having to put up with this crap. The Tribe in Leamington Ontario where I live just got millions over a settlement that took over 200 years to settle. I was so happy for the tribe. Now it make me wonder how much the people will get and how much the Chief will TAKE. This is gonna go bad for the council now that it is out.

    • Dawna on 2017/05/03 at 5:31 pm

      The federal government pays out approximately $9000 for each first nation person compared to $7000 for every other canadian and also pays for vision and dental care which other Canadians do not get. Then to read that there is not a chief salary reported that is under $100,000 tax free making it close to $150,000, not to mention those earning $500k- $950k for as few as 82 residents is clear indication of abuse. The payments to first nations have increased by 880% since the 1950 but still we are told they are underfunded while receiving more than the average canadian with very little to show for it. I believe it is time to make first nations accountable for thier own destiny. Ask for financial statements. Ask for an economic plan for the reserve in detail that includes improvements, what the projected costs are for those improvements, why they are need, a time line or dead line for when they are required, and how they intend to pay for said improvements, just like every other city or small town in canada.

      • Kerry Burch on 2017/05/18 at 2:48 pm

        you haven’t taken into account that these communities ONLY get Federal funding.. no Provincial funding, and these reports, are ONLY of those making over 100 000 and that is why so many salaries are not included here… also they left out the fact that these funds are incredibly OVER accountable by the Government, to the point that it is nearly impossible for the tribes to make any changes that will improve the living conditions…

      • red on 2017/05/20 at 3:49 pm

        Kerry, this report only includes those making over $100,000 of the 56% that reported. Of the 44% who haven’t reported, how many are making over $100,000?
        Also your comment about them getting only Federal funding and no Provincial funding is a mute point. If they were to get Provincial funding, the Federal portion should be reduced. We have thrown $ after $ at this problem and nothing is any better as far as I see. There needs to be some change to the “system” and a good start would be to have that 44%’s funding withheld until they report.

      • Jacques Bernier on 2018/03/19 at 10:37 pm

        Often caught between the French and the English power struggle for North America, the Mi’kmaq suffered a similar fate to that of just about all the First Nations and Native Americans across the continent. They were robbed of their land, persecuted, forced to live with virtually no rights, and herded onto reserves. before you talk about Native leaned your history banker make forty time more than that the premiere ministre of Canada make 172 thousand dollars free of tax and his minister make 87 thousand dollars free of tax super store make million of dollars so is walmart ,canadian Tire and no one talk about it. stop picking on native people.

  8. Dean Fenton on 2017/01/31 at 10:22 pm

    I think the time has come for the First Nations People to divide up their Reserves among their populations, and dissolve the Reserve. The people then should get jobs like the rest of all Canadians, pay income tax, land tax, school tax, etc., and live in the real world.
    Lawyers and politicians have allowed First Nations People to depend on the government for too long. From the looks of it, free hand outs have not been working. Maybe it is time to start earning a little self respect by providing for themselves.

    • Debbie on 2017/05/06 at 10:06 pm

      Have you EVER lived in a reserve?? Before you open your big rasict mouth come buy some of our $8.00 a pound lean ground beef or gas up for $10.00 a gallon jeez!! People who think they know everything but don’t actually know a damn thing? Keep your rasict mouth out of our lives unless you want to try living in our situation!! We’re not idiots, we just don’t have a lot of options and opportunities maybe instead of saying things that don’t help anyone you can put your mouth where your foot is and help our situation. A 12-pack case of pepsi is $10.00 to fly in, imagine vegetables that need to be flown in asap? I live on a reserve and I own a business I built from my blood, sweat and tears, and I know exactly how hard it is to live here. Our hydro bills is double ore more what yours is and we don’t have a lot of resources. We do what we can when we can and we make the best of our living situation. We have to fly out for high school, imagine leaving your parents at 14 years of age???? Don’t ask why we have a lot of high school drop outs because it’s hard to be separated from your family at such a young age?

      • Calvin on 2017/05/07 at 6:03 pm

        It’s not about racist, it’s about logics. It’s your personal choice to live in your “paradise,” and nobody forces you to do so. Please don’t ask everyone else to subsidize your living expenses, because of your choice and any inconvenience arising from your choice. There are plenty of places to live in Canada, where facilities are easily accessible and resources are readily available and affordable. Ask your “CHIEF” for contribution, since quite a few out there are making big bucks. Or ask other richer bands to help your less fortunate band. People move around to seek opportunities for growth, and they still have their cultural history.

      • Ray Freeman on 2018/04/01 at 8:21 pm

        Why don*t you train some of your own people to teach your students your language and English. Also, in large
        Reserves you should try to get some people to learn technical trades such as carpentry, electrical mechanical. I realize that this may be difficult but after many decades little or no progress has been made and it would lessen your dependence on the white populace. This will give you more pride and purpose.

  9. Darlene on 2016/12/11 at 9:13 pm


    • Kerry Burch on 2017/05/18 at 2:45 pm

      Slow down… this isn’t a full and actual report.. the ONLY salaries reported on here are those OVER 100 000, which is why there are only a few tribes mentioned…. Also keep in mind, these that are mentioned have a money making industry, which on most reservations, is not the case. Also keep in mind that they are ONLY funded Federally… where all other communities receive both Provincial and federal funds. Think of how much our government would actually owe if they were to pay for all the children that were killed in residential schools and for all the land we stole from them..

  10. David Bethune on 2016/09/30 at 5:40 pm

    $914,209 for a band of 82 ,Something wrong with this ..He is receiving $11,149 for every person in the band as a salary.i wonder how much the band receives per year and with a salary like this what is left for the people

  11. David on 2016/03/09 at 3:15 am

    First Nation communities are totally different from the rest of Canada. Regular Canadian pay provincial and federal income taxes to help fund government-assisted programs. However, the native living on reserve don’t have pay any income taxes, and yet they’re allowed to receive funding for the same government-assisted programs. How is that fair to regular Canadian??? Sure, there are other taxes, such sales taxes, fuel taxes, etc. Everyone pays them, but those taxes account for small portions of total household income. Income taxes are the biggest expense for every household (individual or family), and yet the native living on reserve are exempt from paying income taxes and they want to enjoy the same government support as the regular Canadian. “One nation, two systems” just doesn’t work well, like French Quebec vs English the rest of Canada, or Syrian refugees vs Canadian citizens…etc.

    • Terry Katerenchuk on 2016/08/23 at 3:55 pm

      well done, how true, don’t about the land claims, Calgary had a big one on the Stoney Creek bypass, plus extra lang given west of Brad Creek into Kanaskas country, now we are dealing with the east/west pipeline and the LNG plants, they are not concerned about environment, its about how much money they can get, especially the chief;s and council.
      It’s all about the money..

  12. Antoinette on 2016/03/08 at 6:44 pm

    Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

    In response to the Chiefs who make over six figures, I agree is sad but in response to this segregation thought and the us and them mentality…

    Majority of the programs are from the government and are paid like a non-profit organization. Majority of the first nation communities are fortunate enough to have businesses to keep their community afloat to take care of their communities through economic development. Municipalities and cities get their own financial assistance from the government, what makes a First Nation community any different???

    Also, I have references here to back up my mouth (… assuming you have time to read them, since you have time to respond to this article):



    • Red on 2017/05/20 at 3:42 pm

      “municipalities and cities get their own financial assistance from the government” The government has no money. It takes money from the people and redistributes to the people. So, people are funding their own communities.
      As for “majority of the first nation communities are fortunate enough to have businesses to keep their community afloat” Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal have exactly the same thing. These business pay business tax, they employ people who pay income, property, and school taxes. Their voted in officials are required to do what is right for the community and if they don’t they are not voted in again.

  13. Dennis Johnson on 2015/10/07 at 11:50 pm

    EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has had battles.
    We do not take the land -only use it
    We all descend from travellers – natives originally from Asia-the rest from other corners of the world

    Everyone shares the parks -the crown lands and the highways and streets-the rivers and lakes
    Corrupt leaders tend to want a little or a lot more according to their level of greed and they tend to take more if their people do not question them
    Keep your head up and think about sharing
    Life is short

  14. Marilyn on 2015/08/21 at 2:41 am

    Why, why aren’t chiefs held accountable to all taxpaying canadians?

  15. Emmanuel on 2015/07/28 at 7:55 pm

    It’s obvious (like in any business or government) that some people will always abuse the system. Im tired of First Nations crying poor while paying no taxes and most of all “NOT TAKING CARE OF THEIR OWN PEOPLE WITH ALL THAT MONEY”. This land is not their land, the world is for everyone.


    • Jan on 2015/08/14 at 8:13 pm

      From reading your response to this subject,I cannot believe how truly sour you are!! You should be ashamed of yourself for being so arrogant and disgusting!! YES!! This Land is our Land!!! An you should consider yourself lucky that we are allowing you to walk and breathe on it!!

      • Brooke on 2015/10/01 at 11:41 pm

        Actually it’s not your land and it sure as hell is not up to aboriginals to decide if we walk on it. And it doesn’t seem like you understand what this page is for. All this page illustrates is the amount of money that the chiefs of the bands are making. The problem is that the chiefs are rewarding themselves with huge paychecks every year while the rest of the band members are making nothing.

      • Tired Whitey on 2015/12/15 at 5:26 pm

        Sorry, Jan, you’re wrong. Emman is right, it’s outrageous that the Chiefs make so much money TAX FREE and then let their community members live in derelict buildings without clean water. Canada belongs to it’s citizens – ALL OF US! not just the Natives…no native will ever “allow” anyone to walk or breath in their own home, get over yourself. Natives have it VERY easy, more easy than they realize it…they just abuse the system and then blame us White people for all their problems.

      • Beverly Killaire (@Beverlydeelstra) on 2017/03/23 at 10:38 pm

        Love it. But you really need to put your chiefs in line.

    • Dusty on 2015/08/20 at 2:18 pm

      Politicians make way more and when the Chiefs are done. They don’t collect anymore money!
      Politicians for canada should be paid in term only. Once they are done they should not get any benefits or pension. When you are done you are done and not a single penny should go to them unless they get elected in.

      • Gary solay on 2016/02/18 at 11:05 pm

        Stealing from the Canadian taxpayer is a criminal offence, if the Canadian government does not halt this theft and recover all the misused funds from the aboriginal Indians and the politicians should all be thrown in jail.

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