Building the Future — One Community at a Time

OTTAWA, December 6, 2017 — With the addition of three new partners announced today, the First Nations Market Housing Fund (“the Fund”) has now successfully partnered with close to 40% of Canada’s First Nations.

“Together we are creating local conditions to support a market housing system, strengthening expertise and financial literacy for communities and individuals, and instilling confidence that the dream of home ownership is possible” stated John Beaucage, Chair of the Fund. “Lennox Island First Nation, Skowkale First Nation and Kwantlen First Nation have each taken vital steps forward to expand market-based housing options for their citizens.”

“Our focus is a housing strategy,” stated Chief Matilda Ramjattan. “This partnership between Lennox Island First Nation and the First Nations Market Housing Fund will help us achieve our vision to house everyone in our community.” 

“We are in a time where the winds are changing in our communities. We at Skowkale are happy to partner with the First Nations Market Housing Fund to further enhance our community’s housing program offerings,” stated Chief Mark Point. “The FNMHF’s support and expertise will help to address our housing needs as we continue on our path to home ownership for our people.”

“As our capacity continues to strengthen at Kwantlen First Nation, we are grateful for opportunities to build positive relationships to promote our community’s health and continued growth,” stated Tumia Knott, Councillor, and President, Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group.  “We are thankful and excited for the future opportunities to come from working with the First Nations Market Housing Fund, and know this will benefit our community and future generations.”

“We know our work has just begun,” added Mr. Beaucage. “There is a shortage of homes on Canada’s First Nations. Important social and economic gaps must be closed between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Canadians. Whether the community is large or small, rural or urban, hope and dreams will be built from coast to coast to coast, one community at a time.”

The First Nations Market Housing Fund

The Fund is a registered not-for-profit trust established by the Government of Canada, which was born out of what has become known as the Kelowna Accord. First Nations communities continue to lag behind the rest of Canada in health and most social and economic determinants — including housing.

The latest figures from Statistics Canada, in 2011, show that 31 percent of on-reserve units were privately owned compared with approximately 69 percent of non-indigenous Canadians. According to the 2016 Census:

  • one‑fifth (19.4%) of the total Aboriginal population in Canada reported living in a dwelling in need of major repairs compared to 6.0% of the non-Aboriginal population;
  • close to one-fifth (18.3%) of the Aboriginal population lived in housing that was considered not suitable for the number of people who lived there, according to the National Occupancy Standard.

The Fund helps First Nations families overcome the barriers to home ownership and close the housing gap. The federal government’s one-time investment of $300 million in the Fund has the potential to leverage $3 billion of investments in homes on reserve and on settlement lands and lands set aside for First Nations across Canada.

Across Canada, 237 First Nations have chosen to work with the Fund to date. The Fund has approved potential credit of $925 million for some 6,300 home loans representing a significant investment in First Nations communities across Canada.

The Fund helps First Nations communities by:

  • Providing a 10% backstop for housing loans guaranteed by the First Nation;
  • Providing financial leverage to negotiate with lenders for the best possible loan terms and conditions;
  • Strengthening First Nations communities and supporting increased self-sufficiency by providing financial literacy and financial management tools, enhancing the governance framework, and developing capacity with education, information, and innovative services.

The Fund works with financial institutions committed to providing a high level of service to First Nation governments:

The Fund’s growing list of both national and regional financial institutions across Canada which have chosen to finance loans backed by the Fund, includes BMO; CIBC; Peace Hills Trust; First Nations Bank of Canada; Vancouver City Savings, Affinity and Valley First Credit Unions; Envision Financial; Desjardins Group; Northern Savings Credit Union; Williams Lake and District Credit Union and six Caisse populaires in Ontario located in Hearst, Kapaskasing, Verner, Alban, Noëlville and Sturgeon Falls.

For more information, please visit the Fund’s website at

Media Contacts:

First Nations Market Housing Fund
Deborah Taylor
Executive Director

Skowkale First Nation
Stacy McNeil, MBA, BCJ, PID
General Manager/S.A.Y. Lands Manager

Lennox Island First Nation
Corinne Dyment
Band Administrator

Kwantlen First Nation
Carlo Zanuzzi, CPA
Director of Finance and Administration


A Snapshot of the First Nations Market Housing Fund’s Latest Partners

Lennox Island First Nation

Lennox Island is a proud Mi’kmaq Nation located in Malpeque Bay off the northwest coast of Prince Edward Island.  Steeped in Mi’kmaq culture and traditions that have been passed down since time immemorial, the community has embraced its past and present and looks forward to their journey into a bright and thriving future. Connected by a short causeway and bridge, Lennox Island is home to approximately 450 of its 1,100 members.

For thousands of years, the Mi’kmaq Nation has been sustained by Malpeque Bay. The Bay not only provides an important food source to the community, but income as well in the form of fisheries, primarily lobster, oyster, and other shellfish. The Malpeque Bay is world-renowned for its rich history and natural beauty which are shared through information and tours provided by the Lennox Island Mi’kmaq Cultural Centre.

It is our hope that revenue generated from the fisheries will provide assistance with programs, services and housing.  Housing our Band members is one of the priorities of the Lennox Island Band Council. The vision is to ensure that all members who are interested in residing on reserve will have fair access to adequate comfortable housing.

The Mi’kmaq Nation is anticipating that more members living off reserve will express interest in private home ownership in the community, as the subdivision earmarked for market-based housing is developed.  Working with the First Nations Market Housing Fund, Lennox Island will be able to access additional tools and resources to support their housing operations and expand home ownership options for their members to construct new homes, purchase or undertake renovations on existing homes in the community.

Skowkale First Nation

The Skowkale First Nation (Sq'ewqeyl in the Halq'emeylem language) is located in the Upper Fraser Valley and neighbours the City of Chilliwack. Skowkale is a member of the Stó:lō Nation and has approximately 265 members.

Governed under a Family Representative system, the community is home to approximately 160 of its members and an estimated 1000 non-Band members who live on leased CP lands. Ninety percent (90%) of member homes are privately owned.

The community has worked hard to strengthen their community’s governance system which has resulted in significant changes including having full jurisdiction over their reserve lands under Land Code, full enforcement of housing policies, enacting a Financial Administration Law & becoming a borrowing member of the First Nations Finance Authority.  To continue on this journey of strong governance and economic independence, the Skowkale First Nation Chief and Council have decided to move away from social and rental housing and place more focus on homeownership. To support this effort, Skowkale First Nation is developing a new subdivision to open up homeownership opportunities for Skowkale members.

The Skowkale First Nation leadership look to the First Nations Market Housing Fund to support the First Nation’s efforts to expand and align its policies, assist in the delivery of education and awareness initiatives to support homeownership and to provide options to members that will encourage new construction, and the purchase or renovation of existing homes in the community.

Kwantlen First Nation

Following a traditional system of governing, Kwantlen First Nation (“Tireless Runner” in Kwantlen’s traditional language) blends customary and modern governance practices. Kwantlen has a membership of approximately 294, with one-quarter (1/4) living on reserve, primarily on I.R. #6, McMillan Island. Bordering Fort Langley BC and metro Vancouver, this allows for a high level of employment among community members. Of the 41 homes on reserve, most are privately owned and on Kwantlen owned land. CMHC Section 95 rental housing was first introduced into the community in 2011. The community works hard to ensure consistent rental collection and management of any rental arrears. Chief and Council strongly supports members wanting to build, buy or renovate their own homes.

Kwantlen looks to the Fund to support its efforts to increase the availability of suitable lots for future residential development; to strengthen and finalize housing and land policies and procedures, particularly for home ownership and rent-to-own arrangements; and, to expand the number of home ownership units. Kwantlen would also like to explore a business and financing model to operate a Life Skills Home in the community.