On-Reserve Housing Immediate Needs Fund Guidelines

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) seeks to support First Nation communities in high immediate needs for housing on-reserve. The Immediate Needs Fund will provide construction, renovation and lot servicing funding for First Nation communities located south of 60 and in Yukon territory, including self-governing First Nations and First Nations under modern treaties.


  1. The funding is a non-renewable and available for 2016-2018 only.
  2. For the Immediate Needs Fund, the eligible recipients include First Nations beneficiaries such as First Nation/Innu/Inuit governments; Bands/Settlements (lands, reserves, trusts); District Councils/Chiefs Councils; and, Tribal Councils.
  3. The funding levels by dwelling unit below are for reference only and include the costs of material delivery and construction for 3-bedroom row homes of 1,200 sq. ft.

    Province/Territory 3-Bedroom Row-Type Housing Unit*
    Zone 1, 2 Zone 3 Zone 4
      $/housing unit $/housing unit $/housing unit
    Newfoundland & Labrador 151,600 166,760 181,920
    Nova Scotia 147,200 161,920 176,640
    New Brunswick 136,200 149,820 163,440
    Atlantic 151,600 166,760 181,920
    Quebec 148,300 163,130 177,960
    Ontario 146,100 160,710 175,320
    Manitoba 180,200 198,220 216,240
    Saskatchewan 197,800 217,580 237,360
    Alberta 191,200 210,320 229,440
    British Columbia 220,800 242,880 264,960
    Yukon 247,200 271,920 296,640
    *Assumes wood construction, 1- or 2-storey, with slab on grade foundation system.
    Additional Costs*
    Foundation systems      
    Upgrade slab on grade to crawl space 19,000 20,900 22,800
    Upgrade slab on grade to full basement 25,000 27,500 30,000
    Upgrade slab on grade to flood-proof stilt system 25,000 27,500 30,000
    Fourth 10,000 11,000 12,000
    Fifth 10,000 11,000 12,000
    Sixth 10,000 11,000 12,000
    Second 12,000 13,200 14,400
    *For 4+ Bedrooms; assumes 4-piece bath with additional 60 sq. ft.
  4. A First Nation community is eligible for a maximum of 6 new multi-units to be constructed, varying number of renovations for a maximum of 10 renovation projects and 10 lots serviced.
  5. Each project has to be implemented as approved by INAC. Any changes to the project scope and location must be approved by INAC officials. Change without INAC's authorization may lead to funding being revoked and a full refund of the funds allocated. Compliance will be done via inspection reports submitted and random progress inspections conducted by INAC HQ and regional officials.
  6. Projects will be ranked using an On-Reserve Housing National Priority Ranking Framework.
  7. Stacking limits: The total maximum government assistance is 100% of eligible costs. Recipients are required to declare prospective sources of funding for the project, inclusive of all federal, provincial, territorial or municipal governments (total government assistance), and any other anticipated sources of funding.
  8. The Data Collection Instrument (DCI) or "Special Initiatives Report" must show all sources of funding received for the project.

Eligible Investment Categories

  1. Construction of multi-unit housing for social needs

    This funding is targeted to the construction of affordable multi-units (more than one attached unit in row) targeted to support the social needs of the community (i.e. vulnerable populationgroups such as the elderly, disabled, single parents and their children, families dependent on social assistance). 

    The construction of these multi-units must meet the national or provincial building codes applicable to the regional location of the First Nation community, and inspection certificates will be required upon completion.

    Funding is not intended for the following:
    • Housing that is not designated as units to support social needs;
    • Housing that exceeds the maximum funding approved by dwelling unit; and,
    • Reimbursement of any construction (including Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Section 95 loans and defaults)completed in previous years that was not approved under this program.
  2. Renovation of Band Owned (rental) Housing and Additions for vulnerable groups

    This stream is intended to fund eligible renovations that include:
    • Addressing overcrowding and high occupancy rates through additions to existing units;
    • Improving energy-efficiency; and,
    • Rehabilitation of housing units that do not meet basic health and safety standards, such as units with excessive mould growth or asbestos issues, high detected levels of radon,   inadequate plumbing or other sanitation facilities.

    Projects addressing other health and safety issues would also be eligible. Health and safety issues will be considered as the first priority.

    The following criteria must be met for renovation funding:
    • Renovations will extend the structural or mechanical (e.g. heating and ventilation systems) life expectancy of approximately 10 years of the home, address overcrowding and high occupancy rates, or make the home habitable;
    • When any renovations are completed, areas renovated  will be brought up to the NRCan energy efficiency standards (e.g.. when windows are being replaced because of mould or rot, they should be replaced by ones meeting the NRCan standard) - Information on energy efficiency renovations can be found at:
      http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/housing; and,
    • Work will meet or exceed the national or provincial building codes applicable to the regional location of the First Nation community.

    The following are not eligible for renovation funding:
    • Individually owned homes;
    • Cosmetic repair (such as interior flooring, moulding, cabinets, fixtures and painting) and other non-structural or mechanical items, except when the structural and mechanical repairs result in damage to the cosmetic items, in which case these cosmetic repairs would be eligible (e.g. if repairing a window damages a wall, the room could be repainted);
    • Homes under agreement for CMHC's Section 95 Non-Profit Housing Program. The Section 95 Program provides for a maintenance and repair Replacement Reserves that the First Nation must manage throughout the life of the loan agreement; and
    • Pre-renovation energy-efficiency tests.

    Homes receiving funding under RRAP are eligible for renovation funding if they are not under CMHC's Section 95 agreement.

    If recent health and safety inspection reports (dated from 2012 and onwards) supporting the renovation are available, please attach them to the needs identification form. However, new inspections are not required for this needs identification form. Energy efficiency needs will be considered on a case-by-case basis subject to scope of work, the degree of energy savings and the availability of funding.

    Maximum eligible funding for renovations is $25,000/unit.

    The maximum funding can be increased to $50,000 for additions (extension or second story) of bedrooms and bathrooms, upon demonstration of current state of high occupancy or overcrowding in the unit. Basement bedroom addition is eligible only if radon test has been done and proves that radon level is under 200Bq.

    First Nations can use their INAC annual housing allocation or program subsidies as delivered in British Columbia and in some communities in Ontario to fund additional project costs.
  3. Lot Servicing

    This funding applies to: INAC-funded housing projects and First Nation-funded housing projects, and can include social/affordable housing; market-based housing; rental units; and high-density energy-efficient housing developments.

    Lot servicing is defined as providing water, wastewater collection, power and other utilities, and access to roads. Water may be provided through individual wells, or local or community-wide piped systems. Sewer may be provided through on-site septic systems, or local or community-wide piped systems. Electrification is usually available through community-wide systems. Electrification from the road to the house is eligible.

    Needs identification forms for projects that have their own water source and septic system, or for those that require new or repaired water and septic systems, must include the following Health Canada reports that meet or exceed the standards of the Capital Facilities and Maintenance Program and meet all applicable codes and regulations:
    • water systems pump tests to verify quantity;
    • verification that potable (drinking) water meets health standards; and
    • approval of septic systems construction and operation.
    Maximum eligible funding for lot servicing will be based on flat rates of $25,000/lot.

    The following is not eligible for lot servicing:
    • CMHC non-profit social housing (as it is already included as part of their process); and
    • Road construction and grid connections.
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