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Housing in First Nations Communities
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Many people living in First Nations communities do not have access to housing that is safe and in good condition—a fundamental human right. Improving housing for First Nations is vital for their physical, mental, and economic health and well-being.

This is the fourth time since 2003 that we have raised concerns about housing in First Nations communities, and—20 years later—many of these concerns persist. Despite these audits, we found that Indigenous Services Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation have made little progress in supporting First Nations to improve housing conditions in their communities.

Key facts and findings:

  • There are about 600 First Nations communities in the provinces. Indigenous Services Canada data from the 2021–22 fiscal year indicated that about 119,000 housing units are located in these First Nations communities.
  • People in First Nations communities are 4 times more likely to live in crowded housing and 6 times more likely to live in housing in need of major repairs than non‑Indigenous people, according to Canada’s 2021 Census.
  • To close the housing gap, First Nations communities need 55,320 new housing units and repairs to 80,650 existing units, at an estimated cost of $44 billion, according to a 2021 report by the Assembly of First Nations.
  • Over the last 5 fiscal years, Indigenous Services Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation spent $3.86 billion on improving housing in First Nations communities. This funding supported building new homes, repairing existing homes, and increasing First Nations’ capacity to manage housing.
  • From 2018–19 to 2022–23, Indigenous Services Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation provided funding to build 11,754 new housing units and repair 15,859 existing units in First Nations communities. This represents 21% of the new housing units and 20% of the repairs to existing units needed to close the gap.
  • There was no meaningful improvement in housing conditions in First Nations communities. From 2015–16 to 2021–22, the percentage of homes in need of major repairs decreased from 20.8% to 19.7%, while the percentage of homes in First Nations communities that needed to be replaced increased from 5.6% to 6.5%.
Author: Auditor General of Canada
Topic: Housing and homelessness
Location: Canada
Format: Graphics/Images, Infographic, Report, Reports/Articles
Content Type: Research
Publication Date: March 19, 2024