November 22, 2016.
(Ottawa, ON) The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) responded to the Government of Canada’s housing report released today, entitled What We Heard: Shaping Canada’s National Housing Strategy. The AFN says the report has a number of serious shortcomings that stem from the lack of adequate engagement with First Nations, including the AFN.
AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde stated: “Housing is a critical issue for First Nations citizens and this report would have benefitted from dedicated engagement with First Nations. That’s the best way to get the best results that can create real change. First Nations are struggling with inadequate living conditions on our ancestral lands and across our traditional territories. We face nothing less than a crisis with regard to housing, which is acknowledged by international human rights bodies, advocacy groups, governments, and this very report. We can build on the work in this report through a better and broader dialogue with First Nations. We look forward to a better and broader dialogue on a nation to nation approach, and we are open to facilitating further engagement with Canada and First Nations to get real input from the rights holders.”
AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, who oversees the Water, Housing and Infrastructure portfolio for the AFN, said: “We want a national dialogue with all First Nations on the reforms that are needed to move First Nations out of the existing housing crisis into a more sustainable approach. We need to support and develop First Nations organizations and institutions for housing and infrastructure. A new fiscal arrangement needs to be negotiated to ensure First Nations are in charge of their future, and we need to identify long term solutions that come from our leaders and experts.”
The Assembly of First Nations heard from hundreds of First Nations leaders and experts from across Canada at the AFN’s National Housing and Infrastructure Forum in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 1-3, 2016. A detailed report based on these discussions, including innovative and constructive proposals for First Nations-led solutions to the housing crisis, will be released by the AFN in December.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
Bilingual Communications Officer