First Nations Reservation/Provincial Jurisdiction

I just learned that a local pub which has been the number one watering hole for the working class in my little city since its inception over 60 years ago is developing a new location on the outskirts of town on an Indian Reservation.

The old building is an unofficial heritage site in an ideal location with plenty of parking.

It makes no sense to me for them to move.

For the last couple of years, ever since a total British Columbia ban on smoking went into effect I have noticed what I estimate is a 90% reduction in customer presence.

Could it be that the province has no say with regard to banning smoking in a public facility on an Indian reservation ?

That’s exactly it.

It’s probably liquor tax free as well.

Sales tax too, I’d bet. No tax on gas at the reservation either.

The BC smoking ban is a law of general application, so yes, it applies to reserves. It could be trumped by a federal law, but there is no such law. It could be trumped by a reserve by-law if that by-law were for the health and welfare of the people of the band, or if it went to the heart of traditional Indian culture. Such by-laws have been made, but have not been tested (if they were tested, they would fail). What it comes down to is that the province does not want to get into a pissing match, so it does not bother to enforce the law.

A bar or store or gas station on a reserve must charge tax on purchases made by people who are not status Indians. Compliance and enforcement is another matter.

If the bar or store or gas station is incorporated, then it must pay tax when purchasing its supplies.

If the bar or store or gas station is not incorporated, and if the proprietors are status Indians, then their purchases of their supplies are exempt from federal tax. If, in addition to this, their purchases of their supplies are made on the reserve or are delivered to the reserve before ownership is transferred, then their purchases of their supplies are exempt from provincial tax.

In addition to the smoking and tax aspects, other benefits from locating on reserves frequently include lower property rental rates, and sometimes include business development grants.

Actual sales tax figures in CA showed no decrease after the ban had a year to take effect. Now that’s CA, and not BC, but I doubt if BC has 900% more hardcore smokers.

Thankyou Muffin

Why don’t you just ask the people who work at the pub? Surely they would know the answer to this question better than we would.

And chances are, if you’re going somewhere on the reserve, it’s to see someone who is a status Indian. My brother used to do this all the time back when he was a smoker - go down to the reserve with a friend who would buy the cigs and he’d just pay him back.