First Nations On-Reserve Housing Program

The First Nations On-Reserve Housing Program helps provide more and better quality housing in First Nations communities in most of Canada. In British Columbia, support for better quality housing is provided through the Housing Support Program (formerly known as New Approach for Housing Support).

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About the program

Budget 2022 provides a historical level of investment of $2.4 billion over 5 years for housing for First Nations on reserves. This funding is in addition to about $149.5 million already provided by the department every year to First Nations 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.

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) does not cover the full cost of housing. First Nations 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 and the BC Housing Support Program are part of ISC's Capital Facilities and 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 (Section 95) and the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP).

Growing First Nations housing capacity

First Nations and First Nations organizations continue to enhance their capacity to manage their on-reserve housing programs, including recruiting and retaining qualified housing managers. The department recognizes the importance of housing management on reserve.

Budget 2022 committed an additional $223 million over 5 years, which includes $157 million as a Housing Management Subsidy to support the critical work of housing managers on reserve and $66 million over 3 years beginning in 2024 to enhance housing management capacity on reserve through training and certification, and the provision of technical services. This is the first time the department has made a Housing Management Subsidy available to First Nations.

Engagement in fall 2022 with First Nations communities helped pinpoint the most significant challenges being faced with housing management. ISC is using this information to develop a new regional allocation methodology for Housing Management Subsidy funds. It will allow the department’s regional offices to flow funding to address the specific needs of communities.

Who can apply

First Nations in all provinces and Yukon that receive annual housing funding allocations through ISC’s 1996 On-Reserve Housing Policy do not need to apply. Applicants located in British Columbia are eligible under the BC Housing Support Program.


Annual funding allocations received under ISC's 1996 On-Reserve Housing Policy are provided to First Nations at the beginning of the fiscal year (April 1).

There is no deadline to submit an application under the BC Housing Support Program. Proposals can be submitted throughout the year.

How to apply

First Nations that receive annual housing funding allocations through ISC's 1996 On-Reserve Housing Policy do not need to apply.

To apply to the BC Housing Support Program, please contact the ISC British Columbia regional office at 1-800-567-9604 or 604-775-5100 and ask to speak to the housing officer assigned to your community. They will provide you with the appropriate application templates and answer any questions you may have about this program.

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 Yukon, except for approximately 200 First Nations in British Columbia who did not opt into the policy. In British Columbia, First Nations can apply for housing funding through the Housing Support Program, which allows smaller First Nations in British Columbia to receive fair access to funding.

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