Special Chiefs Assembly & National Chief Election

Dec 05 - 07, 2023
HybridSHAW CentreOnline (Zoom)
Register Now

About the Event Special Chiefs Assembly & National Chief Election

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) will take place from December 5-7, 2023, in Ottawa, Ontario. The SCA will be held at the Shaw Centre, located at 55 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 9J2.

The SCA will be hosted both in-person and online. Voting for National Chief will be conducted online using a digital ballot to accommodate Chiefs and proxies who will be attending virtually.

On July 11, 2023, First Nations-in-Assembly passed Resolution 34/2023, Appointment of Chief Electoral Officer and Timing of the Election of the National Chief, which set the timing of the next election for December 2023 during the upcoming Special Chiefs Assembly.

Election Page

Winter Gala Page

Register Now

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations.

The AFN hosts at least two Assemblies each year, where mandates and directives for the organization are established through resolutions directed and supported by the First Nations-in-Assembly (elected Chiefs or proxies from member First Nations).

The AFN is also guided by an Executive Committee consisting of an elected National Chief and Regional Chiefs from each province and territory.

Information regarding the National Chief election process will be provided by the Chief Electoral Officer.


First Nations Financial Management Board
First Nations Financial Management Board
Ottawa Tourism
Ottawa Tourism



How to Attend Find out how to register, how to get there, and where to stay.

2023 Election of the National Chief

In accordance with AFN Resolution 34/2023, Appointment of a Chief Electoral Officer and the Timing of the Election of the National Chief, Ron Laufer was appointed as the Chief Electoral Officer for the election of the National Chief through an Executive Committee motion passed on September 25, 2023. Ron brings over 20 years of elections experience to the role, including the previous AFN virtual election in 2021.

The Special Chiefs Assembly and Election of the National Chief will be conducted in a hybrid format at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, from December 5-7, 2023. With the election fast approaching, below is the contact information for the Chief Electoral Office, as well as information on key dates, nominations, and other issues of importance. 

Download: AFN Bulletin – 2023 Election of the National Chief (PDF 110k)

Download: Notice to FNs – Nomination Process Opening (PDF 457k)

Download: Introducing Simply Voting (PDF 369k)

Download: SCA and Elections Timeline (PDF 185k)

Key Dates:

Chief Electoral Officer will assume their duties on October 10, 2023, and relinquish their duties on December 21, 2023.

  • October 11, 2023 – Nomination(s) commence eight (8) weeks prior to the Election
  • November 1, 2023 – Nomination(s) conclude at 11:59 PM EDT five (5) weeks prior to the Election
  • December 6, 2023 – Election for the Office of National Chief will be held at the Shaw Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, during the December 2023 Special Chiefs Assembly in a hybrid format.

Future Announcements:

Future notifications, announcements, and specific election details (e.g., electronic voting, candidate profiles) will be released after the November 1st nomination closing date, once all of the nominations received are in proper form.

Nomination Packages:

For eligibility criteria to become a Candidate for National Chief in the 2023 AFN Election, please refer to Appendix A (1990) of the AFN Charter.

Candidate Nomination Packages are available upon request.

Individuals interested in becoming a Candidate for National Chief are invited to contact the Chief Electoral Officer with questions or to request a Candidate Nomination Package:

Ron Laufer
Chief Electoral Officer
Assembly of First Nations
55 Metcalfe Street, 16th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5
Toll-Free: 1-833-236-8683
Email: [email protected]



Avoid the registration line-ups! There will be separate line-ups and a separate registration process for those that pre-register and pre-pay in advance of the Assembly.

Where does your registration fee go?

Chiefs from across the country generally come together twice a year to set strategic direction based on community needs and priorities. The Chiefs Assemblies provide the venue for First Nation leaders to direct the work of the Assembly of First Nations, the National Chief and National Executive through resolution. It is just one way First Nation leaders bring forward the concerns and priorities of First Nation members. 

Registration fees help to offset the direct costs of organizing Chiefs Assemblies, including facility rentals, audio/visual equipment, interpretation services, webcasting, registration services, facilitators, translation, signage, Elder honorarium, and drum groups.

Registration Process

Photo identification will be requested at registration for Chiefs and Proxies. All participants and groups are encouraged to pre-register and pre-pay, even if your registration is complimentary. There will be separate line-ups at the event for those who pre-register and pre-pay in advance of the Assembly.

  • Register ONLINE at You will receive a confirmation email. VISA, MasterCard and American Express accepted.
  • Complete the registration form included in this notice and FAX it to Tash Cote at 613-241-5808 or by email to [email protected].

Registration forms and payment must be received before entry into the Assembly.  You may also register on-site with your payment. Please note that registration fees are non-refundable after November 24, 2023. An administration fee of $50 will apply for all cancellations prior to November 24, 2023.

Onsite pre-registration will be held on Monday, December 4, 2023, from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Shaw Centre, Level 3 in the Parliament Foyer. For planning purposes and to avoid line-ups, all delegates are encouraged to pick up badges on December 4, 2023. 


Register Now

Proxy Letter

Hotel Accommodations

The AFN has reserved blocks of hotel guestrooms at the Westin Ottawa Hotel, Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Le Germain, and the Delta Ottawa.

For all hotel reservations, please indicate that you are with the Assembly of First Nations for the Special Chiefs Assembly and provide the conference code indicated for each hotel. Delegates are encouraged to make hotel reservations by the noted date to ensure accommodation is available at the listed prices. All expenses with respect to attending the AFN SCA, including guestroom arrangements, are the responsibility of the guest/group to cover and clear upon departure.

Please note, there will be a two-night non-refundable charge when making your hotel guestroom reservations.


11 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 9H4
(613) 560-7000
Room Rate: $289 for Traditional, $349 for Deluxe, $499+ for Suite
Booking Link:  Book your group rate for AFN Special Chiefs Assembly MYP1of3
Deadline to Book:  November 2, 2023 (regular rates apply after this date)


1 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 8S7
(613) 241-1414
Room Rate: $299 for Regular Room, $399 for Fairmont Gold
Booking Link:
Deadline to Book: November 6, 2023 (regular rates apply after this date)


30 Daly Ave, Ottawa, ON K1N 6E2
(613) 691-3230
Room Rate: $249
Booking Link: AFN Special Chiefs Assembly 2023
Deadline to Book:  November 3, 2023 (regular rates apply after this date)


101 Lyon St. N, Ottawa, ON K1R 5T9
(613) 237-3600
Room Rate: $289
Booking Link: Book your group rate for AFN Special Chiefs Assembly Dec2023
Deadline to Book:  October 18, 2023 (regular rates apply after this date)



Air Canada is pleased to offer a discount code. To book a flight with your promotion code access and enter your promotion code in the search panel. Air Canada Code: MNCPVAF1

Applicable Rules:

  • The booking is to be made to the following city: Ottawa, YOW (CA)
  • The travel period begins Monday, November 27, 2023, and ends Thursday, December 14, 2023.
  • Travel is valid Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
  • For North America, 5% discount applies on standard fares, 10% on flex fares and higher. For International Travel, 10% discount applies on standard fares and higher.


If you do not have a preferred travel agent and require assistance making your travel arrangements to the AFN SCA, please contact Indigeno Travel at:

Indigeno Travel

Toll-Free Number: 1-888-202-8262. 

Travel requests should be submitted through this form.  This form goes directly to a Travel Agent.

VIA Rail Discount

Code:  14502

  • Please note that the above-mentioned conference discount code CANNOT be combined with any other discount codes available.
  • From all stations throughout the VIA system to Ottawa ON and return.
  • Discount does not apply in any Escape fares and Prestige Class


On behalf of our team, we would like to thank you for choosing WestJet for your travel plans. We are happy to confirm that for the upcoming event, Special Chiefs Assembly, we are able to offer 5% off Econo* and 10% off EconoFlex and Premium fares for travel within Canada and 2% off Econo*, 5% off EconoFlex and 10% off Premium base fares for guests travelling Trans-borderNo discount will apply to Basic or Business class bookings.

To take advantage of this offer, you will need the discount code listed. Please visit to make a booking online.

Applicable Rules

  • The booking is to be made to the following city: Ottawa
  • The travel period begins: 11/28/2023
  • The travel period ends: 12/14/2023

Coupon Code: Guest web/Travel Agent web


Promo Code: Travel Agent GDS only




Resolutions for consideration at the Special Chiefs Assembly must be submitted to AFN by October 27, 2023. For more information on the resolutions process, please contact [email protected].

AFN Circle of Trade Show

The AFN Circle of Trade Show will take place from December 5-7, 2023. The trade show is an excellent opportunity for networking among First Nations, organizations, businesses, and government. To register or obtain more information about the AFN Circle of Trade Show, please contact [email protected].


First Nations Financial Management Board




If you are interested in being a sponsor for one of our events during the SCA, please contact Joyce McDougall at [email protected].

SCA Contact

For more information, please visit the AFN website at or contact:

SCA Coordination

Joyce McDougall                                                                   
E-mail: [email protected]

On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations, we look forward to seeing you in Ottawa!

Documents Special Chiefs Assembly & National Chief Election Documents

View All 26 Documentsarrow_forward
These are the latest documents for this event. Please check back here after the event for additional documents, or visit the Document Library for more.

The Assembly of First Nations is committed to making all our digital sites and products accessible for people living with disabilities. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone while applying relevant accessibility standards: we strive to meet or exceed the W3C’s WCAG 2.1 Level AA for all our digital offerings.