Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

March 16, 2009 11:26 ET

Minister Strahl Delivers Strong Investment to Improve On-Reserve Housing in Ontario

SARNIA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 16, 2009) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians today announced progress on improving housing conditions for Ontario First Nations communities.

"First Nations and governments alike recognize that improving housing conditions can lead to stronger, healthier and more sustainable First Nation families and communities," said Minister Strahl. "Today's announcement of additional funding through Canada's Economic Action Plan demonstrates our government's strong commitment to continue working in partnership to improve First Nation housing conditions."

In Canada's Economic Action Plan (http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/eng/index.asp), the Government of Canada has 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 $65 million of this commitment will be made available to First Nations in Ontario to address on-reserve housing issues in that province. This commitment will address immediate housing needs and assist 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.

"This investment, along with the recent establishment of the First Nations Market Housing Fund, ensures that both market-based and social housing are being addressed in a meaningful way," said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage of the Union of Ontario Indians and Chair of the First Nations Market Housing Fund Board of Trustees. "Together, First Nations and Government must continue to build on this momentum and do more to respond to this still overwhelming need. The Anishinabek-Canada Protocol Table has been a breakthrough in addressing and facilitating First Nations concerns. We are pleased that the Government has been responsive through their Economic Action Plan."

Delivering More Results

Today's announcement is the latest in a series of commitments made 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 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. Many projects have already been announced and many more will be delivered soon.

Contact Information

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