First Nation On-Reserve Housing Program

The First Nation On-Reserve Housing Program helps provide more and better quality housing in First Nation communities in most of Canada. In British Columbia, support for better quality housing is provided through the Housing Subsidy program and the New Approach for Housing Support.

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About the program

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) provides about $143 million per year to improve First Nations on-reserve housing. First Nations can use these funds to build and renovate houses, as well as contribute towards costs such as maintenance, insurance, debt servicing, and the planning and management of a housing portfolio.

INAC does not cover the full cost of housing. First Nation communities and their residents are also expected to secure funding from other sources for their housing needs, including shelter charges and private-sector loans.

The On-Reserve Housing Program is part of INAC's Capital Facilities Maintenance Program.

The Government of Canada also invests annually in other housing programs, including Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's On-Reserve Non-Profit Housing Program and the First Nation Market Housing Fund.

Who can apply?

First Nations in all provinces and territories, except British Columbia, already receive annual housing funding allocations through INAC's 1996 On-Reserve Housing Policy.


First Nations, except in British Columbia, receive annual funding allocations at the beginning of the fiscal year (April 1).

How to apply

No need to apply. First Nations, except in British Columbia, receive an annual funding allocation for housing through a funding agreement between INAC and the First Nation.

The On-Reserve Housing Policy

In 1996, the Government of Canada introduced the On-Reserve Housing Policy. It allows First Nations to play a key role in how, where and when housing funds are invested.

The 1996 policy's principles are:

The 1996 On-Reserve Housing Policy applies to First Nations in all provinces and territories except for British Columbia. In British Columbia, First Nations can apply for housing funding through the Housing Subsidy Program or the New Approach for Housing Support. Both options allow smaller First Nations in British Columbia to receive fair access to funding.

In Ontario, 20 First Nation communities who did not opt into the 1996 policy continue to receive allocation funding through their regional office.

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