Services and Rates

This is a special section to help you with the challenging task of defining services and calculating rates during the negotiation of your service agreement.


In 2013, a desktop review was done to compare the average rates paid by a First Nation for services delivered to an average household, to the average rate paid by a household in their neighbouring municipality. Due to the varying formats of information about rates and services in communities across the province, we cannot make any definitive conclusions from the review. However, the broad picture painted does help to raise some questions about rates and services that should be considered by both local governments and First Nations.

How does the rate paid by a single family dwelling in a First Nation compare to the rate paid by their municipal neighbours?


What can we know from the results of this comparison?

The only thing we can know for sure is that there are some differences in some cases between the rates paid by First Nations and the rates paid by residents in their neighbouring community. The fact that there is a difference does not necessarily mean that the rates are not fair, and there may be a good reason for these differences.

Rates may be lower if…

  • Operations and maintenance of infrastructure on reserve is provided by the First Nation
  • A lower quantity of the service is being used (e.g. water or sewer)

Rates may be higher if…

  • Municipal rates are tax supported, meaning they are paying additional costs that are not included in their utility rate
  • More of the service is being used (e.g. water or sewer)

These results illustrate the need for communities to discuss their rates in an open and transparent manner, to have a clear understanding of what costs make up the cost of service, and what level of service is included in the rate.