First Nation Housing

Budget 2016 proposes $416.6 million over two years be provided to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to address immediate housing needs on reserve.

Housing is the foundation for strong and healthy communities. The Government of Canada works to help First Nations provide healthful, sustainable housing on reserve.

Roles and Responsibilities

The provision and management of housing on reserve lands is the responsibility of First Nations, with support from the Government of Canada. In addition to government funding, First Nations are encouraged to identify funding from other sources for their housing needs, including shelter charges and loans.

Federal Investments in housing for First Nation communities


Energy efficient homes on Seabird Island, constructed as part of Seabird Island First Nation's Sustainable Community Plan.


The Government of Canada has made significant annual investments in on-reserve housing between 2006-07 and 2013-14, providing more than $2.3 billion in support. Continuing these important investments, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) has confirmed an additional $138 million allocation for on-reserve housing in 2014-2015.

For individuals on reserve who are eligible for income assistance, the Department’s Income Assistance Program also provides annual funding to help cover housing costs in the form of shelter allowance payments. In addition to funding support, INAC issues Ministerial Loan Guarantees (MLGs) to provide First Nations living on reserve with the security necessary to obtain financing from lenders for housing projects. $1.8 billion in guarantee authority is currently issued to support First Nations in accessing loans for home ownership and social housing.

How Federal Funding Investments Are Used

First Nation communities that receive an annual capital allocation from INAC for on-reserve housing have the flexibility to use these funds for a range of housing needs, including construction, renovation, maintenance, insurance, capacity building, debt servicing and the planning and management of their housing portfolio. Between 2006-2007 and 2012-2013, the Government of Canada’s contributions to on-reserve housing aided the construction of 11,364 new units, the renovation of 21,212 units and a range of other housing and capacity initiatives.

Other Sources of Funding

Ministerial Loan Guarantees:

The Crown ownership of First Nations lands can create difficulties for community members who need to obtain a mortgage to purchase an existing house or financing to fund the construction of a new one. To address this problem, the Government of Canada instituted Ministerial Loan Guarantees (MLGs) to help First Nation residents to secure on-reserve housing loans. INAC has had the authority to provide MLGs to First Nations since 1966. MLGs can be used to secure loans for the purpose of construction, acquisition, or renovation of on-reserve housing. $1.8 billion in guarantee authority is currently issued to support First Nations in accessing loans for home ownership and social housing.

Additional Federal Support

Outside of INAC, the Government of Canada supports First Nations housing on reserve through programs administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Company and Health Canada, and through the First Nations Market Housing Fund.


Have an idea or example of a housing success story in a First Nation community? Submit your comments below or via email.


Mould Issues in First Nations Communities

Why are there mould issues in First Nation communities across Canada?

The Government of Canada recognizes that in certain cases, mould can pose a health hazard. Mould and dampness are problems that affect housing in all parts of Canada. Generally speaking, mould is not traceable to one specific cause; construction methods, occupant lifestyle, and maintenance practices can all contribute to the problem.

INAC, working with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Health Canada and the Assembly of First Nations, has developed a comprehensive mould strategy to address mould problems in First Nation communities. In addition to promoting a greater awareness of the causes of mould in the home, this strategy builds capacity among First Nation home occupants, communities, institutions and technical service providers to prevent and remediate mould. For more information on mould visit the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation and Health Canada websites.

What is INAC's role in combating the presence of mould issues in First Nation homes?

INAC provides First Nation communities with an annual capital allocation for on-reserve housing. First Nations have the flexibility to use these funds for a range of housing needs, including mould remediation. For communities in British Columbia, the housing subsidy program specifically supports new home construction, renovations and mould remediation. Additional support for mould prevention and remediation is provided through Canada Mortgage and Housing Company and Health Canada.

First Nations' Success Stories

Housing Programs

Innovative Housing Solutions


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