Chiefs of Ontario

February 21, 2005 11:57 ET

Chiefs of Ontario Launch Ontario-wide Housing Initiative

Attention: Assignment Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 21, 2005) - The Chiefs of Ontario are determined to address the existing housing backlog by spearheading the Strategic Planning for Housing Capacity Development initiative to be officially launched at the Political Confederacy of the Chiefs of Ontario meeting.

The announcement will take place at the Best Western Hotel (470 First Avenue South) in Kenora, Ontario on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 at 12:00 noon.

The Strategic Planning for Housing Capacity Development initiative is a three-phase approach to improve the First Nation housing crisis in Ontario. The key elements of the phased initiative include planning and capacity development, negotiation of funding and transfer of authority, implementation, after care and long term maintenance. Regional Chief Charles Fox said, "Our ultimate goal is to turn the tragedy of our housing crisis that exists into a strategy for housing development for First Nations in Ontario."

By raising awareness of housing issues to community members and other stakeholders, it will provide data gathering and information to facilitate planning of housing portfolios in the respective First Nation communities. The vehicle for disseminating information is the creation of a website link on the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation portal to be operational in March at

The urgency of the housing issue continues to be reflected in the Auditor General's Report and delivered in the Speech from the Throne. "…the conditions in far too many Aboriginal communities can only be described as shameful. This offends our values. It is in our collective interests to turn the corner. And we must start now."

Strategic planning and investment in housing will produce demonstrable results as is evidenced in the area of First Nation education today. In 1969 only about 100 First Nations people had graduated university. Today it is estimated there are about 30,000 post-secondary graduates. More recently, the substantial efforts made in developing Aboriginal human resources and urban Aboriginal strategies have created opportunities for training and employment.

Grand Chief Angie Barnes of Akwesasne-Political Confederacy Housing Portfolio said, "This process is a risk taking exercise and a nation building approach at the same time."

The Union of Ontario Indians Grand Council Chief John Beaucage shares the housing portfolio with Grand Chief Angie Barnes in the area of infrastructure. The UOI is embarking on a parallel implementation strategy that will see housing development work begin in four First Nations across Ontario by the fall of 2005.

The initiative is supported and has participation of Ontario First Nations Steering Committee on Housing, Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation, the four Provincial Territorial Organizations namely, Union of Ontario Indians, Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Treaty #3, Association of Allied and Iroquois Indians and the Independent and Unaffiliated First Nations representatives.

The Chiefs of Ontario is the coordinating body for 134 First Nation communities in Ontario. The purpose of the Chiefs of Ontario office is to enable the political leadership to discuss regional, provincial and national priorities affecting First Nation people in Ontario and to provide a unified voice on these issues.

Contact Information

  • Ann Brascoupe, Media Relations
    Primary Phone: 416-534-6103
    Secondary Phone: 416-889-5470