Many First Nation communities in Canada need more housing and/or better quality housing as overcrowding and inadequate housing are of particular concern on-reserve. Inadequate housing poses health and safety risks, creates an unhealthy growing environment for children and is linked to several health and social problems.
In 1996, AANDC introduced the On-Reserve Housing Policy that allowed First Nations to play a key role in decisions about how, where and when housing funds are invested.
First Nations who have not voluntarily adopted the 1996 Policy approach continue to operate under a subsidy program established in the 1960's.
The 1996 Policy is based on the principles of:
The Government of Canada allocates an annual investment to First Nations for on-reserve housing through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). AANDC provides an average investment of $155 million. Over the past five years, combined with CMHC’s allocation, this has supported the construction of approximately 1,750 new units, renovations to about 3,100 existing units, capacity development and a number of other housing initiatives.
First Nations can use these funds to build and renovate houses, as well as contribute towards costs such as maintenance, insurance, debt servicing, and the planning and management of the housing portfolio.
AANDC does not cover the full cost of housing. In addition to government funding, First Nations and their residents are expected to secure funding from other sources for their housing needs, including shelter charges and private sector loans.