Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

April 15, 2009 14:45 ET

Government of Canada Works to Improve On-Reserve Housing in the Atlantic Region

PICTOU LANDING, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - April 15, 2009) - The Government of Canada continues to support improvements in housing conditions for First Nations communities in the Atlantic region, announced Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, Minister for the Atlantic Gateway and Member of Parliament for Central Nova, on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians.

"Our government is committed to building healthier and more sustainable First Nation communities," said Minister MacKay. "Today's announcement of additional funding through Canada's Economic Action Plan demonstrates our commitment to continuing to work together with First Nations to help increase the supply of safe and affordable housing in their communities."

In Canada's Economic Action Plan (http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/eng/index.asp), the Government of Canada committed $400 million over the next two years to support on-reserve housing. The funds are dedicated to new social housing projects, remediation of existing social housing stock and to complementary housing activities through programming from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).

Approximately $20 million of this commitment will be available to First Nations in the Atlantic region to address on-reserve housing issues. This funding will address immediate housing needs and assist in the transition to market-based housing on reserves. It will also serve as an economic stimulus for many First Nations and rural areas by generating employment, the development of skilled trades and the creation of small businesses.

"Housing is the cornerstone of creating happy, healthy communities," said Assembly of First Nations (AFN) New Brunswick-Prince Edward Island Regional Chief Roger Augustine. "Our children need to live in a safe environment with room to study and their parents need to live in a home that is free from crowding and contamination so they can lead productive lives. Today's investment is a major step towards closing the poverty gap."

"When the federal government initially committed $400 million nationally for First Nation housing, I was pleased to make that announcement in Ottawa on behalf of the National Chief," said AFN Nova Scotia-Newfoundland Labrador Regional Chief Rick Simon. "Today, I am very pleased to announce that Atlantic Canada First Nations will be able to use our portion to begin to address our housing crisis. This is a critical piece of our plan to create prosperity through partnerships with all levels of government."

"We are pleased about the new investments," said John G. Paul, Executive Director, Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs. "And expect this will assist First Nations in the region to help address the serious housing shortages which exist today."

Delivering More Results

Today's announcement is the latest in a series of commitments by the federal government to improve housing conditions in First Nations communities. In Budget 2007, the Government invested $300 million in the First Nations Market Housing Fund, which encourages market-based housing on reserve and could create 25,000 new housing units over the next decade. These commitments are in addition to the federal government's annual investment of approximately $270 million for on-reserve housing needs and approximately $118 million annually for First Nations on reserve in the form of shelter allowance payments under the Income Assistance Program.

Moving Forward with the Economic Action Plan

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the government is helping to improve learning environments for First Nation students; continuing practical partnership approaches for Child and Family Services; increasing access to clean, safe drinking water; delivering skills training; improving the quality of housing and infrastructure on reserve including new schools; and investing in projects that will provide lasting, sustainable benefits for First Nation communities.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Minister's Office
    Nina Chiarelli
    819-997-0002
    or
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160