Fund Creates Opportunity for Middle Class in First Nations Communities

Ottawa, December 8, 2016 — The Chair of the First Nations Market Housing Fund (the Fund), John Beaucage, is proud to announce that four more First Nations have partnered with the Fund.

“These First Nations are offering their emerging middle-class the opportunity to become new homeowners or improve their existing homes,” stated Mr. Beaucage. “These partnerships will strengthen our communities and provide sustainable economic growth”.

The Fund enables First Nations to guarantee financing for a new home, to renovate and modernize an existing home, or create other market-based housing solutions for citizens on reserve and on settlement lands as one option to help address the housing challenges. To date the Fund has approved loan programs in 100 of the 218 First Nations who have chosen to work with the Fund. This represents a potential investment of close to $900 million for close to 6,000 home loans.

“Given that good housing leads to healthier people, one of the standing goals of our leadership is to make homeownership and quality housing a ready option for our membership,” stated Chief Oliver Arnouse of Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band. “We want to ensure our community continues to thrive and believe that facilitating access to good housing ensures our people can live safe, healthy and prosperous lives they deserve amongst people who care about each other.”

Chief Billy Yavanovich stated, “Skidegate Council intends to expand home ownership through the backing of loans for its members who have the financial ability to repay a housing loan for renovations, purchase, or new construction, in partnership with the First Nations Market Housing Fund.”

“We are very happy to be working with the First Nations Market Housing Fund to increase housing options for our citizens,” said Chief Roberta Joseph. “Home ownership has long been a priority for our First Nation, and the Tr'ondëk Hwech’in Council  is pleased that we are one step closer to making this objective a reality.”

“Partnering with the First Nations Market Housing Fund will help our Nation move forward in terms of expanding home ownership, and access to renovation loans that will address renewable energy installation and mold remediation needs improving the overall living conditions for a healthier membership,” stated Chief James Nelson of Quatsino First Nation.

The First Nations Market Housing Fund

The Fund is a registered not-for-profit trust established by the Government of Canada, that 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.

The Fund helps First Nation 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.

The Fund helps First Nation 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; 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, six Caisse populaires in Ontario located in Hearst, Kapaskasing, Verner, Alban, Noëlville and Sturgeon Falls; and our newest national lender, CIBC.

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

Media Contacts:

First Nations Market Housing Fund
Deborah Taylor
Executive Director

Tr'ondëk Hwech’in
Wayne Potoroka
Communications Director
867-993-7100 ext. 108

Skidegate Council
Billy Yovanovich
Chief Councillor

Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band
Sue Saunders
Residential Property Manager

Quatsino First Nation
Jeff Munroe
Band Administrator


A Snapshot of the First Nations Market Housing Fund’s latest Lending Partner

Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band

Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band (LSLIB), traditionally known as Skwlax (meaning:  Black Bear), is a member of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation. The LSLIB Office is located in south-central British Columbia, on the Eastern end of Little Shuswap Lake, just off the Trans-Canada Highway #1.

The LSLIB has five reserves totalling 3112.7 hectares of land. Approximately 200 (50%) members live on reserve either in the main community of Quaaout, or in Tappen. There are more than 150 housing units in the community comprising of private ownership, Band owned rentals, and rent to own units. LSLIB uses Certificate of Possessions as the primary form of land tenure for home ownership.

With a dedicated team in property, asset and land management, the First Nation is taking concrete steps to enable members with goals for self-sufficiency by expanding home ownership opportunities within the community. LSLIB looks forward to working with the Fund to support the First Nation in these efforts.

Ninety per cent of residents on reserve are employed with the majority of LSLIB members employed in First Nation businesses on reserve including the Quaaout Lodge and Spa, Talking Rock Golf Course, Little Shuswap Lake Gas station with convenience store and privately owned ventures. LSLIB places high importance on the economic development and growth of the community and has received recognition for its successes. 

Skidegate Band Council

Skidegate is a First Nation community nestled among the islands of Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands) in northwest British Columbia. It is a member of the Council of the Haida Nation. Skidegate’s 800 plus residents maintain a strong cultural way of life that includes Haida Language, food gathering, potlatch ceremony, song and dance. 

There is pride in the care and upkeep among the 360 residences in the village. Eighty percent of the homes are owned privately by members. The coastal waterfront village is dotted with a mix of residential homes, totem pole site of the famous Haida artist, Bill Reid, Haida Heritage Centre and Museum.

Logging and commercial fishing once dominated this small village. Today, eco tourism, outdoor adventure, and the history of the Haida people and Haida art attract most attention. Whale watching is a popular activity from alongside the highway throughout April and May.

The name Skidegate, is an English version of the Haida word SGIIDAGIDS which means child of red chiton. The original name of the village was HLGaagilda.

Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in

The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in (TH) are a self-governing Yukon First Nation based in Dawson City.

There are roughly 1,100 TH citizens, including descendants of the Hän-speaking people, who have resided along the Yukon River for time immemorial, and a diverse mix of families from the Gwich’in, Northern Tutchone and other northern language groups. In the 1970s, Yukon First Nations set the land-claims process in motion. Nearly 30 years later, the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Final Agreement was signed, and came into effect on September 15, 1998. Today, the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in government ensures a strong and healthy future for citizens while maintaining connections to traditional knowledge and the land. The First Nation is governed by an elected Chief and Council, with direction provided from the General Assembly. The General Assembly gathers twice each year to pass resolutions, approve legislation and provide direction to leadership.

The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Housing and Infrastructure Department administers and manages general housing and rental programs for community residents and plays a key role in the development and planning for new housing construction. Working with the Fund over the last 5 years, TH has tackled governance and other capacity development initiatives and is now focused on addressing their housing shortage. Forty-eight new residential lots have recently been added to the Nation's existing subdivision, and TH will soon complete the necessary policies to support homeownership expansion that will include a mix of market-based housing.

Quatsino First Nation

Quatsino First Nation (QFN), is located 15 km west of Port Hardy on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Approximately half of the 550 Quatsino membership lives on one of its 20 reserves which totals 403 hectares. Most of the reserve lands are isolated and not suitable for development. With limited lands available, QFN is looking at options for future residential development opportunities for its membership.

QFN members are employed in the forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, construction, manufacturing and member services. Since QFN created the QFN Economic Development Corporation (QFNEDC) in 2007, a number of economic initiatives and companies have resulted.

There are a total of 88 housing units on reserve with half rental and the other half ownership. The QFN Housing Program is supported by a Housing Coordinator and Housing Committee.  

Quatsino is working with the Fund to strengthen its housing program to offer renovation and new construction loans for existing and new homeowners as well as providing additional rental units. Developing a comprehensive and robust housing policy with community engagement, finding suitable land for future residential development, and confirming land allocation and land tenure will be a priority going forward.