In 2010, Ontario released its Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy built on a vision that:

“Every person has an affordable, suitable and adequate home to provide the foundation to secure employment, raise a family and build strong communities.”

On December 6, 2016, Ontario updated this strategy by passing the Promoting Affordable Housing Act to better ensure that the people of Ontario, including First Nations both on- and off- reserve, have better access to affordable and suitable housing. The Promoting Affordable Housing Act amends four acts to help increase the supply of affordable housing and modernize social housing across Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs is in the process of developing an Indigenous Housing Strategy as a next steps towards ending homelessness, reflecting recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness report released in late 2015.

Background

Between April and July 2015, the Ontario government consulted with major stakeholders across the province. In addition, in October 2015 an Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness study referenced the challenges of Indigenous homelessness.

These studies and consultations led to a number of commitments and aspirations. The broadest of these was to end chronic homelessness by 2026. It also identified the need for a dedicated Indigenous Housing Strategy that would address the unique needs and challenges facing First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples. It also created a set of four priorities in its strategy to tackle homelessness, of which making Indigenous homelessness was one. This was supported by the existing Joint Working Group on Violence Against Women.

In The Journey Together, Ontario recommitted to work with Indigenous partners by developing an Indigenous Housing Strategy. Even though the progress on this initiative was not included in their one-year update published in June 2017, Ontario has been working on developing an Indigenous Housing Strategy.

Next Steps

Chiefs of Ontario Secretariat has been mandated to examine opportunities to improve housing and infrastructure on First Nations communities for over 30 years. As of May 2017, Chiefs of Ontario and AFN continued to try to find new fiscal relationships with the federal government to direct funding for new housing and infrastructure, but the new mechanism had yet to be defined. The Chiefs of Ontario Secretariat was instructed to coordinate a Chiefs Committee on Housing and Infrastructure to oversee the housing and infrastructure mandate, and also to coordinate a Technical Steering Committee of Chiefs, PTOs, Independent First Nations, Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation staff, and COO staff to develop a strategy moving forward.

On March 31, 2017, COO hosted a Policy Forum on Housing, Infrastructure and Water.

Full text of Bill 7 Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016 can be found here.