Housing and infrastructure are the greatest concern for First Nations. Article 21 of the United Nations Declarations states: Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions, which includes housing. (UN, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007)
The state of housing and infrastructure in First Nations is dire and Canada’s government must immediately address those needs.
- Addressing Housing Gaps and Shortages – A comprehensive plan is needed to address the lack of adequate housing in First Nations communities. This must include long and short-term strategies to rehabilitate the existing housing stock, develop innovative social housing and address chronic infrastructure shortfalls.
- Sufficient Resources – First Nations in Ontario have continually called upon the Government of Canada to provide sufficient resources for the construction and maintenance of all forms of housing, including social housing. (COO, Support for First Nations Housing Resources, 2011) Infrastructure development must also meet the demands of climate change, including the provision of funding and options that include low-carbon technology and energy efficient construction.
- Wise Practices and Partnerships – Reconciliation provides the opportunity for partners to come to the table to share wise practices in the development of quality housing alternatives and improvements using modern building science. (COO, Support for an OFN Housing Commission, 2009) The Government of Canada could be a leader in contributing to public-private partnerships in housing and infrastructure development in First Nations.