OTTAWA, December 10, 2020 — The First Nations Market Housing Fund (the ‘Fund’) is pleased to announce its new Board of Trustees. All nine Trustees are First Nations citizens; fulfilling a commitment the former Board of Trustees secured from the Government of Canada.
The new Trustees provide the Board with a wealth of business experience and local knowledge. They are excited about the opportunity to strengthen First Nations families and communities by expanding the Fund’s reach and impact.
The new Trustees are focused on learning from the past, building trust in the present, and creating a brighter future for the First Nations communities the Fund serves. A key focus in the first year of their tenure is to listen to voice of the people to build and refresh opportunities that will enable greater homeownership.
“The founding Board’s work provides a game changing platform for our people to own a home in their community. The new Board is thankful for the collective wisdom, hard work, and dedication of the founding Trustees and is committed to building on the Fund’s achievements,” stated Lydia Hwitsum, new Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
“This highly qualified Board of Trustees will oversee the First Nations Market Housing Fund and through their governance and leadership, guide the important task of developing market-based approaches to housing on reserve. This is another step forward in addressing systemic housing issues for Indigenous communities on reserves. Congratulations to these new Trustees, whose broad range of skills and experience are vital to the Fund’s success in the coming years,” stated The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
“Congratulations to the newly appointed Board of Trustees. Their work will be essential in supporting First Nations-led solutions to improve housing conditions in communities and will help play a key part in First Nations care, control and management of their own housing,” added The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services.
The Fund is a unique tool developed with input from First Nations communities and organizations across Canada to support financing arrangements for homes on reserve and settlement lands where appropriate, while respecting the communal ownership of reserve land. The Fund’s Credit Enhancement Facility has successfully established a system through which mortgage-based homeownership for on-reserve housing loans to build, buy, or renovate individual homes and multi-suite rental units is enabled. This Facility is working to leverage $3 billion in on-reserve housing investments.
The Fund’s Capacity Development Program supports Nation building, governments, and citizens to make use of the Credit Enhancement Facility on a sustained basis. Establishing a governance framework that includes laws, policies, codes, and practices that are clear, well understood, implemented by qualified people, and most importantly trusted by its citizens, is essential to create a market-based housing system that makes homeownership and its many benefits possible. The Fund’s broad range of capacity development products are tailored to the local needs of First Nations to support their journey to a sustainable market-based housing system.
The Fund’s partnership with 40% of Canada’s First Nations has resulted in close to $1 billion in available credit to finance home loans. The foundational blocks for market-based housing are growing in these First Nations and represent a transformative opportunity. While progress is being made, much work remains to convert this vast potential into wider homeownership opportunities on reserve.
Learn more about the First Nations Market Housing Fund at www.fnmhf.ca.
Information on this release:
First Nations Market Housing Fund
Profiles of the 2020 Board of Trustees – First Nations Market Housing Fund
Lydia Hwitsum, JD (B.C.) (Chairperson) – Ms. Hwitsum is a citizen of the Cowichan Nation, which gives her deep connection and understanding of the importance of Indigenous nationhood. She served as elected Chief of Cowichan Tribes for eight years (1997-2001 and 2007-11). Ms. Hwitsum has worked and advocated locally, nationally, and internationally at the United Nations Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and at the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Peter Dinsdale MA, ICD.D (Ontario) (Vice-Chairperson) – Mr. Dinsdale is a citizen of the Curve Lake First Nation. He is a strategic thinker and action-oriented Executive who strives to improve the world around him. In June 2016, Mr. Dinsdale became the President and Chief Executive Officer of YMCA Canada where he is working to create the Canada We Want through the YMCA We Need. Prior to joining YMCA Canada, Mr. Dinsdale lead the Assembly of First Nations as the Chief Executive Officer. Peter also spent seven years as Executive Director of the National Association of Friendship Centers. In 2018 Peter received the Order of Ontario and in 2019 he received an Indspire Award for his work in Public Service.
John Beaucage BA, D.Litt. (Ontario) – In March of 2008, Mr. Beaucage was appointed the first Chairperson of the First Nations Market Housing Fund and served over 12 years in that capacity. He was elected as Grand Council Chief of the Union of Ontario Indians from 2004 to 2009, to serve the 42-member First Nations of the Anishinabek Nation. Prior to 2004, Mr. Beaucage served for eight years as the Chief of Wasauksing First Nation. Mr. Beaucage played an instrumental role in the creation of the 2005 Kelowna Accord.
Kathleen BlueSky MBA (Manitoba) – Ms. BlueSky is a Nehetho-Anishinabe Iskwew from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation who has worked over 20 years in the Indigenous government sector with a focus on consultation, engagement, and community development. She has spent much of her career working with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Nanaandawewigamig. Ms. BlueSky is currently the CEO of her own company, Seven Feathers Consulting which focuses on empowering First Nation self-determination and strategic business development.
Stacy McNeil MBA, CAPA (B.C.) – Ms. McNeil is a citizen of Seabird Island Band. She has worked for 10 years to support First Nations’ communities through capacity development and mentorship related to First Nation housing – including, Lands Governance Director, Director of Public Works and Housing and housing consultant. She has worked with 60 BC communities on housing related matters. She is a director with the Housing and Infrastructure Council in BC.
Chief Sidney Peters (Nova Scotia) – Chief Sidney Peters was first elected as Chief of Glooscap First Nation in 2012. Chief Peters has worked predominately in Indigenous housing with various organizations including Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC); the Native Council of Nova Scotia; and the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) as the Manager of Lands, Environment, and Natural Resources.
Michael Rice MBA (Quebec) – Mr. Rice was born and raised in Kahnawake and is a Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) of the Bear Clan. He is founder and past manager of the Caisse Populaire Kahnawake, the largest Indigenous credit union in North America. He has worked over 35 years as an access to capital and institutional development specialist in the areas of housing, commercial, developmental business, venture capital and infrastructure financing and is currently self-employed operating under the name of ATC Innovators.
Jean Vincent MSC, FCPA, FCA, CAFM (Quebec) – Mr. Vincent is President and CEO of the Aboriginal Commercial Credit Corporation (SOCCA). The corporation provides commercial financing to Aboriginal start-up or expanding businesses. Mr. Vincent is also President and CEO of the Aboriginal Savings Corporation of Canada (ABSCAN). The corporation provides Aboriginal people with savings products and loans in the real estate, institutional and commercial sectors. Mr. Vincent was Vice-Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation from 2008 to 2018.
Errol Wilson MBA, ICD.D (Alberta) – Mr. Wilson is Cree-Ojibway from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. Currently, a resident of Edmonton, he serves as Manager, Capacity Development at the First Nations Financial Management Board. He has corporate leadership experience including First Nations clients’ capacity building and sustainable entrepreneur development.