The federal government says it is going to get tough on bands that fail to comply with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.

The legislation, which requires First Nations to post their financial statements and band council salaries on the government website, has been in place since July and so far 77 per cent of Canadian bands have complied.

In Saskatchewan, about 73 per cent of the bands listed on the government website have complied.

In a press release issued Monday, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt says First Nations that fail to comply by Nov. 26 could be subject to the withholding of non-essential and new funding.

Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation Prairie Director Colin Craig says his organization is pleased the government is putting its foot down.

“It needs to send a strong signal that every government in this country should have to disclose to the public how much their politicians are making as well as where the money’s going,” he says. “So, if you think about it, municipalities have to do this same disclosure, so do provincial governments, the federal government discloses how much MPs are making and cabinet ministers – this makes sense for Aboriginal reserves to have to do the this same kind of disclosure.”

Craig also says the new legislation is all about holding the leadership of First Nations accountable to their own members.

“More than anything, what the goal of the Transparency Act is, is to empower Aboriginal people living on reserves as well as those that are band members with information so they can understand more about how good a job their chiefs and councillors are doing.”

Of the 70 Saskatchewan First Nations listed on the government’s website, 19 bands have still not fully complied with the legislation.

Of those bands are Clearwater River Dene Nation, English River First Nation, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, Red Earth First Nation and Thunderchild First Nation in northern Saskatchewan.

Of the provincial bands that complied with the legislation, the highest salary goes to Chief Reginald Bellerose of Muskowekwan First Nation at $142,364.

Bellerose also claimed expenses of $33,080.

Piapot First Nation Chief Jimmy Fourhorns has the highest expenses at $86,379.

He also took in a salary of $100,503.

At the other end of the scale, Chief Velma Night of Saulteaux First Nation took in a salary of $5,130 for one month’s service.