Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Issue 1 - Evidence - November 26, 2013
OTTAWA, Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples met this day at 9:33
a.m. to examine and report on the federal government's constitutional,
treaty, political and legal responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and
Metis peoples, and on other matters generally relating to the Aboriginal
Peoples of Canada (topic: housing).
Senator Dennis Glen Patterson (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to welcome
all honourable senators and all members of the public who are watching this
meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples on CPAC or on
the Web. I am Dennis Patterson, from Nunavut, chair of the committee. Our
mandate is to examine legislation and matters relating to the Aboriginal
peoples of Canada generally. In order to understand the concerns of our
constituents, we regularly invite witnesses who can educate us on the topics
that are currently of importance to them. These sessions are invaluable in
helping the committee to decide what future studies it will undertake to
best serve the Aboriginal community. The witnesses today have been invited
to provide general background information on the broad question of financing
infrastructure on reserves, which could relate to housing, schools and other
This morning, we'll hear from two departments, the Department of
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation, which maybe is not a department. Before hearing from our
witnesses, I would like to go around the table and ask the members of the
committee to please introduce themselves.
Senator Dyck: Lillian Dyck from Saskatchewan — ``Rider Nation.''
Senator Moore: Wilfred Moore, Liberal senator from Nova Scotia.
Senator Raine: Senator Nancy Greene Raine from B.C.
Senator Tannas: Scott Tannas from Alberta.
Senator Meredith: Don Meredith from Toronto, our lovely Argos fan.
Senator Beyak: Senator Lynn Beyak from northwestern Ontario.
Senator Champagne: Andrée Champagne from Quebec.
Senator Wallace: John Wallace from New Brunswick.
The Chair: Thank you. Members of the committee, let us welcome our
witnesses from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada: Mr. Karl
Carisse, Senior Director, Innovation and Major Policy Transformation
Directorate; and Tara Hutchinson, Senior Policy Analyst. They are joined by
witnesses from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Debra Darke,
Vice-President, Regional Operations and Assisted Housing; and Jeannie
Dempster, Director, Strategic Policy Coordination. I think it has been
agreed that the witnesses will present as a panel before we go to questions.
We thank you all for coming today to share your expertise with us, and no
doubt the members will have questions for you after your remarks. Please
proceed, Mr. Carisse.
Karl Carisse, Senior Director, Innovation and Major Policy
Transformation Directorate, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Canada: Mr. Chair, honourable senators, I want to begin by thanking you
for the opportunity to speak today on the topic of housing in first nations
Access to safe and affordable housing is essential for improving economic
and social outcomes and for supporting healthy, sustainable first nations
The provision and management of housing on reserve lands is under the
jurisdiction of First Nations, with support provided by the Government of
Canada through various programs and initiatives. The Government of Canada
provides an annual investment to support on-reserve housing needs through
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada. The federal government currently invests an estimated
$303 million a year to address housing needs on-reserve — $146 million
through Aboriginal Affairs and $157 million through CMHC.
Aboriginal Affairs provides funding to communities for a range of housing
needs, while CMHC is focused on the delivery of specific housing programs
for First Nations.
Between 2006-07 and 2012-13, the Government of Canada provided a total of
$2.3 billion in on-reserve housing support to First Nations, including $1.2
billion provided by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development. Based on annual reports submitted by First Nations to the
department, Government of Canada funding and First Nations' own investments
result in, on average, the construction of 1,750 new residential units and
the renovation of more than 3,100 existing units each year.
In addition to annual funding, the Government of Canada has also provided
substantial investments in on-reserve housing through one-time funding
initiatives. For example, to help address issues of overcrowding and
disrepair, $400 million was announced for on-reserve housing between 2009-10
and 2010-11 under Canada's Economic Action Plan.
Close to 500 First Nation communities benefited from this funding. From
Aboriginal Affairs' $150-million allocation alone, over 4,400 units were
built or renovated.
In addition to capital funding, the government provides financial support
to individual First Nation residents through the Income Assistance Program.
As part of this program, approximately $125 million is provided each year to
eligible recipients as a supplemental support for rent, utilities and other
allowable shelter costs. The amounts payable vary according to rent
payments, size of family unit and the maximum amounts payable by provinces
The Government of Canada does not cover the full cost of housing. First
Nations and their residents may secure funding from other sources for their
housing needs, including shelter charges and private sector loans and
investments, as is the case off-reserve.
Aboriginal Affairs provides support through three key programs: the 1996
On-Reserve Housing Support policy, the housing subsidy program, and the
Ministerial Loan Guarantee program. Most First Nations fall under the
Aboriginal Affairs' 1996 housing policy, which is based on the principle of
First Nations' control. First Nations under this policy receive an annual
capital allocation from the department based on a formula that takes into
account population and remoteness. First Nations can use these funds for a
range of housing needs, including construction, renovation, maintenance,
insurance, capacity building, debt servicing, and the planning and
management of their housing portfolio. This provides First Nations with the
flexibility to target funding to the particular housing needs of their
community. To opt into this policy, First Nations were provided with
additional funding to establish housing policies and a multi-year housing
For First Nations that have not opted into this policy, which includes
those in British Columbia as well as a few in Ontario, funding operates on a
subsidy basis. First Nations submit proposals to Aboriginal Affairs and,
based on priority, subsidies between $20,000 and $40,000 are released for
specific construction or renovation projects.
The Ministerial Loan Guarantees program is another means through which
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada supports first nations
housing. The crown ownership of first nations lands makes it difficult for
community members to obtain financing for housing construction or purchase.
More specifically, subsection 89(1) of the Indian Act protects Indian
property from seizure by a non-Indian. That prevents individuals from
obtaining a conventional mortgage on reserve lands. To address this issue,
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada introduced the
Ministerial Loan Guarantees program in 1966 as a tool to provide lenders
with government-backed security for loans issued on reserve. The
department's guarantee authority limit is $2.2 billion, of which $1.82
billion is currently issued. Nearly one third of on-reserve housing is
currently under financing that includes a ministerial loan guarantee through
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
Many First Nations communities build or renovate housing through the
programs of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. CMHC provides
significant support to First Nations to the On-Reserve Non-Profit Housing
Program, which assists First Nations in the construction, purchase and
rehabilitation, and administration of adequate and affordable rental housing
on-reserve. CMHC also offers financial assistance to First Nations to repair
substandard homes through their Residential Rehabilitation Assistance
Program, as well as a number of other targeted programs and support for
Aboriginal capacity and development initiatives.
In 2008, the Government of Canada invested $300 million to create the
First Nations Market Housing Fund which was developed to broaden the range
of housing options available to First Nations communities. Overseen by a
board of trustees, the fund is a credit enhancement vehicle to improve First
Nations' access to private financing. In addition, funding is available to
eligible communities for capacity development initiatives. The fund has
issued approximately 50 loans to date. Take-up of the fund's product has
been slower than anticipated due to many factors, such as the financial
expertise required by the First Nation, lower-than-anticipated interest in
market-based housing, and challenges faced by individual First Nation
members in getting approval for a housing loan from a financial institution.
Aboriginal Affairs and CMHC are working with the First Nations Market
Housing Fund to identify strategies to better meet the needs of First
Aboriginal Affairs continues to work closely with First Nations
stakeholders and other government departments to address issues that arise
related to housing on-reserve. For example, Aboriginal Affairs collaborates
with the Assembly of First Nations, CMHC and Health Canada on the National
Housing Liaison Committee. This committee provides a regular forum for
exchanging information on First Nations housing matters and promoting
improved housing outcomes on-reserve. For example, committee members are
currently working to identify and clarify roles and responsibilities for all
parties involved in First Nations housing.
Capacity to build and maintain housing is a challenge facing many First
Nations communities. The Government of Canada recognizes that capacity
development support is required for some First Nations to effectively
construct, maintain and manage housing. For this reason, Aboriginal Affairs,
Health Canada, the First Nations Market Housing Fund and CMHC offer First
Nations a range of capacity development programs, tools and information
related to housing on reserves.
To support the management of on-reserve housing projects, first nations
may also choose to draw upon the resources and expertise of a variety of
First Nations associations and organizations.
The First Nations National Building Officers Association is one such
resource available to first nations. Technical organizations, such as the
First Nations Technical Services Advisory Group in Alberta and the Ontario
First Nations Technical Services Corporation, also offer training,
information and tools to build capacity and improve the management of
Home ownership and private sector financing are an important component of
meeting the demand for housing on- reserve. The First Nations Market Housing
Fund and CMHC both offer programs to support increased market housing
options on-reserve, while Aboriginal Affairs issues ministerial loan
guarantees to support First Nations in accessing loans for home ownership.
Private sector lenders, such as the Bank of Montreal and the Royal Bank of
Canada, also offer lending programs for home ownership that do not require
ministerial loan guarantees.
Mould and dampness are health hazards that affect housing in all parts of
Canada, including homes on-reserve. Aboriginal Affairs collaborates with the
Assembly of First Nations, CMHC and Health Canada on the First Nations
Indoor Air Quality Committee to address this issue. In response to the
recommendations from the June 2011 Status Report from the Auditor General of
Canada, the Government of Canada, in partnership with the AFN, developed a
comprehensive national strategy on mould. This strategy promotes a greater
awareness of the causes of mould occurrence, while building capacity among
First Nation home occupants, communities, institutions and technical service
providers to prevent and remediate mould.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation focuses on the transfer of
information to support First Nations in identifying and remediating
mould-related issues in their housing. They offer workshops, guides, case
studies and practical advice for First Nations communities on mould
prevention and remediation, home maintenance, improving indoor air quality
and building better housing. Health Canada offers public health inspections,
raises awareness of the potential health effects of mould and provides
guidance for mould prevention and remediation on-reserve.
First Nations may use their annual funding from Aboriginal Affairs to
remediate mould-affected housing. In addition, under Canada's Economic
Action Plan, Aboriginal Affairs invested over $22.5 million between 2009-10
and 2010-11 to renovate 706 homes that contained mould.
Some First Nations face particular challenges with respect to building
and maintaining housing in their communities. The Government of Canada is
committed to working closely with them to address their housing needs and to
develop sustainable housing solutions for their communities. One such
example is Attawapiskat First Nation, located in northern Ontario, which
declared a housing crisis in 2011. Since then, Aboriginal Affairs has
provided over $6.7 million in funding to the community to address housing
issues, including $3.3 million for 22 new modular homes, close to $500,000
for the renovation of 38 homes, as well as additional funding for emergency
repairs and remediation to provide access to warm and safe shelter for
families living in tents and shacks in the community. Moreover, these funds
have been allocated by the First Nation to service 33 lots within the
In July of this year, Chief Spence accepted Aboriginal Affair's offer of
up to $2.2 million for multi-unit, sustainable housing. In late August Chief
Spence notified the department that the First Nation had established a new
housing authority and rental regime for the community. Aboriginal Affairs
remains engaged with Chief Spence and the First Nation to implement the
housing plan developed for the new housing authority, including the
construction of semi- detached homes with the $2.2 million provided by the
department. The project is progressing and the tentative completion date for
the units is fall 2014.
Since August 2012, Aboriginal Affairs has also participated in the
Attawapiskat Housing Strategy Working Group along with the First Nation,
representatives of the Mushkegowuk Council and Ontario First Nations
Technical Services Corporation to support the First Nation in developing its
comprehensive community-based housing strategy. Departmental officials are
also working closely with the Attawapiskat First Nation and other partners
to repair the trailer complex that was damaged in the fire that took place
on November 21. On November 23, 69 residents were evacuated to Kapuskasing.
The First Nation and the department are working to address the education
needs of the school-aged children until the trailer complex is restored for
safe occupancy. Aboriginal Affairs continues to support the First Nation and
provincial emergency management counterparts as the community recovers from
Despite significant investments from Aboriginal Affairs and Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corporation, we recognize that access to healthy, safe
and affordable housing continues to be a challenge in some first nations
Looking forward, we are committed to continue working in partnership with
first nations and other stakeholders to address housing requirements and
ensure that sustainable infrastructure is in place to support current needs
and future development.
I appreciate the opportunity to speak before the committee today on this
important issue. I will now hand things over to my colleague, Debra Darke
Debra Darke, Vice-President, Regional Operations and Assisted Housing,
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Thank you, Mr. Chair and
members of the committee. I'm pleased to be here on behalf of Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corporation to discuss our role in supporting the
housing needs of Aboriginal people living both on- and off-reserve. As
Canada's national housing agency, CMHC's mandate is to improve housing
quality, affordability and choice for all Canadians. In addition to
supporting Canada's market-based housing system through our mortgage loan
insurance securitization and market analysis activities, CMHC also works
with partners to address gaps in the system to help Canadians access safe
and affordable housing.
In fact, a central part of CMHC's mandate is to support affordable
housing for low-income Canadians — including aboriginal people. Each year,
through CMHC, the Government of Canada provides approximately $2 billion to
address the housing needs of low-income Canadians. These investments are
provided under various housing programs and initiatives on and off reserve.
On reserve, as you have heard today, CMHC works closely with Aboriginal
Affairs and Northern Development Canada and with first nations leaders and
organizations to provide a range of supports to assist first nations in
addressing their housing needs.
Through AANDC and CMHC, the federal government currently invests an
estimated $303 million a year to address housing needs on reserve.
CMHC and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada focus on
different aspects of housing on- reserve. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada largely operates at the community level, by providing
funding for housing-related infrastructure and for capacity development to
address governance and community-level issues. CMHC, on the other hand,
delivers specific housing programs that support construction, renovations,
ongoing management of social housing and housing-specific skills
For their part, First Nations are responsible for the governance of
housing on reserves through the development and enforcement of bylaws and
through housing planning, zoning and building regulation. First Nations are
also the owners, administrators and property managers of most on-reserve
CMHC's portion of the annual federal investment in housing on reserves is
$157 million. This funding is delivered through two main programs. The
On-Reserve Non-Profit Housing Program, also known as the section 95 program,
assists First Nations in the construction, purchase, rehabilitation and
administration of suitable, adequate and affordable rental housing in First
Nations communities. Through this program, CMHC provides a subsidy to assist
First Nations with the financing and operation of rental housing projects
over a period of 15 to 25 years. Housing units supported by the section 95
program, as well as the renovation program I will speak to you about
momentarily, are owned, operated, managed and maintained by the First
Nation, which is responsible for determining who will receive housing, rents
to be paid and so on.
CMHC provides direct loans for up to 100 per cent of the total eligible
capital cost of a project. These loans are insured under the National
Housing Act and are guaranteed by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and
Northern Development. Other financial institutions may also provide loans to
First Nations for housing projects.
A project operating agreement is signed between CMHC and the First Nation
that outlines the conditions under which the project will be operated in
order for the First Nation to continue to benefit from the subsidy. The
agreement is effective from the date of project completion to the maturity
of the loan. The number of units that can be delivered under the section 95
program each year is determined primarily by current and forecasted interest
rates, as well as construction costs and the level of equity contributed by
First Nations. In 2012-13, the section 95 program supported the construction
of 469 new non-profit housing units and provided ongoing subsidies for some
29,300 households living on-reserve.
An example of this program in action is the Birch Narrows First Nation in
northwestern Saskatchewan, which built three modest, three-bedroom houses
with funding assistance from CMHC. The First Nation secured a $375,000 loan
and contributed $54,000 in equity to complete the project. The three homes
were built in a subdivision that now includes 34 houses.
The second main program, the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance
Program, on reserve, offers financial assistance to repair substandard homes
to a minimum level of health and safety and to improve the accessibility of
housing for persons with disabilities. In 2012-13, this program supported
the repair of 1,144 existing homes on reserves. Assistance is provided to
low-income households living in homes that lack basic facilities and are in
need of major repairs to correct structural, electrical, plumbing, heating
or fire safety deficiencies, or are overcrowded.
First Nations may also receive support from CMHC's Shelter Enhancement
Program. This program offers financial assistance for the repair and
improvement of existing shelters for victims of family violence and for the
acquisition or construction of new shelters and second-stage housing where
needed. From 2008 to 2012, the Government of Canada provided close to $5
million in federal funding for shelters for victims of family violence in
First Nations communities.
CMHC invests a portion of its funding for housing on-reserve in capacity
development. CMHC collaborates with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada and First Nations communities across Canada to facilitate
training and provide resources to help First Nations achieve their housing
objectives and acquire the skills and knowledge to design, build, inspect,
manage and maintain housing on reserves. Approximately 90 per cent of CMHC's
on-reserve programs and services are delivered through First Nations or
CMHC works with First Nations to identify issues related to the
management of their CMHC-funded housing portfolio and aims to provide
capacity development to assist them in resolving issues. By way of example,
financial statements and financial management are areas where First Nations
have experienced particular challenges in managing their non-profit housing
portfolios. CMHC has delivered webinars to explain our expectations and has
provided information to clarify the financial reporting requirements in
relation to CMHC's programs to housing managers and financial managers at
the band level.
Similarly, information sessions were delivered at the Aboriginal
Financial Officers Association's annual conference last year to explain
CMHC's requirements under the non-profit housing program.
CMHC's commitment to capacity development is also evident in the national
mould strategy, which Mr. Carisse has already mentioned. The strategy
outlines activities to be undertaken by the three federal partners to help
First Nations address mould problems in their housing. CMHC's main focus is
ensuring that First Nations have the information they need to identify and
remediate mould-related problems. With this in mind, we've developed a range
of information products targeted to First Nations communities and
households, including guides and case studies, as well as workshops and
information sessions on mould in housing. Of special note, CMHC is currently
finalizing the development of an app that can be used on mobile devices to
help First Nations collect data on mould in their communities. The Assembly
of First Nations plans to use this tool, working with other First Nation
organizations, to determine the extent of the mould problem in First Nations
CMHC's housing internship initiative for First Nations and Inuit youth,
which is delivered with funding from the federal government's Youth
Employment Strategy, is another capacity-building effort. This initiative
provides work experience and on-the-job training to help out-of-school or
unemployed First Nations and Inuit youth between the ages of 15 and 30 gain
work experience in the housing industry. Approved sponsors receive financial
support toward the wages of youth employed in housing-related projects.
Annually, it helps youth in 75 to 85 communities across the country.
In addition to providing direct housing assistance, CMHC encourages
market-based housing solutions on-reserve. For example, CMHC offers mortgage
loan insurance options to help First Nation members on-reserve buy, build or
renovate homes. Since reserve lands cannot be mortgaged, CMHC insures loans
for housing on reserves when the loan is guaranteed by Aboriginal Affairs
and Northern Development Canada through a ministerial loan guarantee.
The federal government is also encouraging the development of market
housing on-reserve without the use of Ministerial Loan Guarantees through
the First Nations Market Housing Fund. This fund is an independent trust,
created by the Government of Canada in 2008, to give First Nations people
greater access to housing loans on reserves and on settlement lands.
The fund establishes the Credit Enhancement Facility for qualified First
Nations in the form of a partial financial backing for housing loan
guarantees made to financial institutions. The First Nation then uses this
backing to negotiate an arrangement with an approved lender or lenders so
that their members can apply directly to the lender for financing. The First
Nation needs to guarantee the housing loans of its members.
If a borrower defaults on an eligible loan, the lender can seek
compensation from the First Nation. Should the First Nation not honour its
obligation as guarantor, the lender would turn to the fund for compensation,
up to the amount of credit enhancement accumulated by the lender for loans
made in the community. The fund has also established the Capacity
Development Program to help eligible First Nations develop to the point
where they can qualify for the Credit Enhancement Facility.
These are all examples of ongoing initiatives and investments in housing
on reserve, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the significant
federal investment for housing on-reserve provided through Canada's Economic
Action Plan 2009 and CMHC's role in delivering this funding.
As the committee will recall, the stimulus phase of Canada's Economic
Action Plan included a one-time investment of $400 million over two years to
support the construction and renovation of on-reserve housing. Of this
amount, $250 million was delivered by CMHC, with half of this funding used
to create new on-reserve housing and half used to renovate existing
on-reserve social housing units. The remaining $150 million was delivered by
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for projects in their
areas of responsibility.
In total, this funding under Canada's Economic Action Plan supported more
than 3,200 projects in close to 500 First Nations communities across Canada.
For example, the Batchewana First Nation near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario,
used economic action plan funding of $800,000 to renovate 32 apartment units
on reserve, bringing them up to code, addressing health and safety
requirements and enhancing their energy efficiency.
Canada's Economic Action Plan also provided $200 million over two years
for northern housing to create and retrofit social housing in the three
territories. This funding was delivered by the territories through
amendments to existing agreements and supported 210 housing projects in the
North. I mention this because it is important to note that CMHC also
provides housing support for Aboriginal people living off-reserve. In fact,
we spend some $123 million to support the housing needs of Aboriginal
households living off-reserve.
Aboriginal households living off-reserve also have access to affordable
housing funded under a range of other programs, most of which are delivered
by the provinces and territories. For example, under the Investment in
Affordable Housing, the Government of Canada is providing more than $238
million per year to support new funding commitments to improve the living
conditions of Canadians in need. Provinces and territories match federal
investments and are responsible for program design, delivery and
administration. The Investment in Affordable Housing recognizes that housing
needs differ across Canada and the provinces and territories are best
positioned to understand and address their local housing needs and
priorities. For this reason, they have the flexibility to design programs to
address the needs of specific groups, including Aboriginal people. For
example, both Ontario and British Columbia are delivering funding under this
initiative to increase the supply and improve the quality of existing house
through Aboriginal housing programs.
Budget 2013 announced that the Investment in Affordable Housing will be
renewed to March 2019. This represents a total federal investment of more
than $1.25 billion over five years — funding that will be again matched by
the provinces and territories. The government is currently working with
provinces and territories to confirm the implementation details of this
Budget 2013 also announced $100 million over two years to support the
construction of new affordable housing in Nunavut, a territory that faces
unique challenges in providing affordable housing due to its climate,
geography and dispersed population, and that has a high incidence of housing
need relative to other provinces and territories. This funding is being
delivered by the territorial government under its Investment in Affordable
Housing agreement with the Government of Canada.
In addition to these federal investments, Aboriginal housing providers
off reserve have access to CMHC's Affordable Housing Centre, which works
with the private, public and non-profit sectors to develop affordable
housing solutions that don't require ongoing federal assistance. As well,
CMHC has supported Habitat for Humanity in their efforts to explore ways to
make the Habitat home ownership model available to more Aboriginal people.
CMHC is the lead and founding national partner for Habitat for Humanity
Canada's Aboriginal Housing Program. Close to 60 homes have been built to
date under this program.
To summarize, the federal government supports a range of affordable
housing solutions for aboriginal people living on and off reserve. CMHC
plays an important role in delivering these investments, and we continue to
work with our partners, including AANDC and aboriginal communities and
organizations, to achieve the best possible housing outcomes.
Thank you again for inviting me here today and for the opportunity to
make these opening remarks. I look forward to answering any questions the
committee might have today.
The Chair: Thank you very much. I'd like to open the discussion
with a general question to Mr. Carisse. I do appreciate the information
you've provided to us this morning, which focused on housing, but, as I did
say in my opening remarks, the committee is at this point also considering a
broader look at infrastructure needs on reserves, including capital needs in
such areas as schools. I note that you're a senior director in the Community
Does that branch where you work also deal with capital infrastructure
needs on reserves other than housing? I guess I'm wondering if the committee
might, in future, get the kind of excellent overview that you gave us on
housing in relation to other capital infrastructure needs such as schools,
and there may be other categories that you could mention, please.
Mr. Carisse: Sure thing, yes. On the area where we are, community
infrastructure, there's one major program, the Capital Facilities and
Maintenance Program. Housing actually falls under that program. The other
categories are assets of public infrastructure that the department actually
helps to fund. You do have education facilities, roads and bridges, water
and waste water. I've been to the committee before to speak about — and it's
now an act — the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act. There's
connectivity, broadband, air strips — anything you can think of within a
First Nations community or off-reserve, but for public infrastructure.
Regarding the amount of funding of that program, we've been lucky and
quite fortunate the last few years with additional funds that have come
through the economic action plan or the First Nations Water and Wastewater
It comes out to about $1 billion a year, and that's split between the
different categories of funding, the different assets — housing, water and
schools. The major categories are those three. For water, for instance, from
the department's A base that goes out under water, there's about $200
million a year. With the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan, an
additional sum is added to that. It comes up to about $330 million over two
years, with another $165 million a year that's added. That's for major
infrastructure — new builds or construction — operations and maintenance,
and smaller repairs — minor capital, we call it.
I would be more than happy to come back to speak to infrastructure or if
you want to ask some questions now, but that's the breakdown of the program
itself. About $400 million of the $1 billion is for operations and
maintenance. Major projects are about $320 million, and then you've got
another $280 million or so, which is minor capital. This is where housing
fits in. As I mentioned earlier, it varies, but about $150 million a year
goes out to housing.
The main thing to remember is that these are contributions towards
infrastructure in communities. The infrastructure is owned by chief and
council. The housing is the responsibility of chief and council. We provide
allocations or help out.
It is to different degrees. For schools, for instance, 100 per cent of
the actual cost of the building is provided by the department, as well as
100 per cent of the operations and maintenance cost.
For water, its 100 per cent of the major capital and 80 per cent of the
operations and maintenance. It's anticipated that the community will come up
with the additional 20 per cent, either through utility fees or own-source
revenue. It keeps cascading from there under the different asset categories,
of which housing is one.
The Chair: Well, that's most helpful, Mr. Carisse. I think I can
say with confidence that, notwithstanding your excellent presentation on
housing and the focus that we'll have this morning on housing, we can put
you all on notice that the committee would be grateful to have you or your
colleagues return and give us the broader picture. Thank you for that
I will give the next question to our deputy chair, Senator Dyck.
Senator Dyck: Thank you for your presentations this morning. You
provided us with a lot of information, and it actually would have been handy
if you had given us some tables to tabulate it. I don't know if we could ask
you to send tables later. It's easier to keep track when you see it in a
table. Thank you for that.
Of course, when we talk about the money spent, everyone wants to know
whether the money has been spent wisely. How many houses are built on
reserves in Canada right now? Do we have access to that kind of information?
How many houses are out there? How many more need to be built, and how many
are in need of repair? You may have alluded to that, but maybe you didn't.
The other question I had is this: Since repair seems to be a big part of
the picture, do we know whether or not there's a larger percentage of houses
built on-reserve that maybe are built substandard or whatever so that the
proportion that need repair is actually higher?
Those are some initial questions.
Mr. Carisse: I'm going to address that. As for the numbers we have
in regard to housing on-reserve and all of the public infrastructure, we
have a program in the department called Integrated Capital Management
System. This is self- reported by communities, but the number comes out to
about 100,000 units that are out there in the 633 communities. That's a lot
of housing that's out there already. We know that, obviously, there's still
That need depends on the source. We know the Assembly of First Nations
has a number of around 80,000. From what we have received from First
Nations, the number is substantially lower — 35,000 or 40,000. Regardless,
the issue is that there is a need for housing out there. We need to figure
it out, and we're working with First Nations right now to try different ways
to address that gap, either for construction of new housing or for repairs,
rehabilitation and renovation of housing. This is part of the funding that
we provide between the two departments. As well, shelter allowances are
provided to help those communities who have them in place with their rental
About the standards, the funding agreement states that the housing shall
be built to building code standards. It is up to chief and council, at that
point, to ensure that. It's to everyone's advantage to ensure that. Is it
always being done? You've seen it in the media. There are situations where
the housing is not built to standard, which is very similar to where we were
at a number of years ago with water and how regulations were for water. It
did not exist on reserves. The building codes on-reserve are not
enforceable. Again, it's that situation with section 91(24) lands and the
building codes. They're done by the National Research Council, as well as
CSA. There are building codes, electrical code, energy code, plumbing code.
All of these codes are done nationally, but the provinces legislate and
regulate these codes within the province. They're not enforced in First
There is a gap there for enforcing codes, but, again, to the advantage of
the community and of the housing, built to code means you're respecting fire
codes and the building codes. Therefore, you should have fewer mould issues,
fewer issues with fires, et cetera. So that's what we anticipate First
Nations to be doing when it's time to build or renovate their homes.
Senator Dyck: I'll just follow up on the building codes. I think
you said it was up to the chief and council to ensure that the buildings
were built according to code, but do chief and council have the training or
expertise to do that?
Mr. Carisse: You raise a great point. We know there are some
communities out there, especially the smaller communities, where having that
capacity within the community is difficult. I can leave it to Ms. Darke to
speak to some of the capacity building initiatives that CMHC has.
For the department, the funds that go to the communities can be used for
capacity building and training, so if there's a housing manager or
technicians within the community, they can get that training. There are also
some organizations out there that can provide that assistance to
communities, such as the First Nations National Building Officers
Association. There are technical organizations in Alberta, and there's the
Technical Services Advisory Group and the Ontario First Nations Technical
Services Corporation. It makes sense for economies of scale to look at a hub
approach to a lot of this. Just like any other infrastructure, it's
difficult to see a community — an average community is about 500 people —
having the expertise to take care of the water, the schools, the housing, et
cetera, et cetera. So I think if we can look at hubs, a hub approach would
be well worth it. Some organizations are actually doing that to help the
communities with their capacity.
Senator Dyck: Just one final, short question. Is there a concerted
effort like for water where they have the circuit training program that
trains people on how to test water on different reserves and that travels
throughout a region? There's nothing like that for housing?
Mr. Carisse: No. We've looked at that in the past. We're not there
yet on how we can expand that circuit rider training program. As you've
heard before here, I think one of the successes that the department has
working with First Nations and the tribal councils and other groups is the
technical associations that are providing that service.
We were looking at possibly expanding that to schools. Is it possible for
housing? Again, to me, it would make sense to have that hub approach. Some
communities can definitely take care of all their infrastructure needs on
their own. Ones that are a bit more urban have the capacity and the people
there, but, for others that are smaller and more remote, I think that can
really help out.
The Chair: Ms. Darke, I think you wanted to elaborate.
Ms. Darke: Yes. I thought I would answer some of the questions and
give a little bit of flavour from the perspective of the CMHC programs.
In your introduction to your question about the quality and application
of building codes for housing on-reserve, you asked how many units are in
need of repair.
Based on the 2006 Census, we know that around about 38 per cent of the
dwellings on-reserve need major repair. That compares to 7.5 per cent
off-reserve. So we do know there is a challenge with respect to physical
condition on- reserve.
Of the non-profit housing portfolio that CMHC administers, we regularly
undertake physical condition reviews of those properties. I said that we
have project operating agreements in place with First Nations. We undertake
annual reviews of their audited financial statements. We do cyclical client
visits and cyclical physical condition reviews. We know from those that for
our portfolio, 53 per cent of the units that we funded are in satisfactory
or good condition; 36 per cent are in fair condition; and about 10 per cent
are in poor condition. That's some background information with respect to
the condition of the units.
With respect to code, maybe I could talk to that for a second and just
add to Mr. Carisse's remarks. As he indicated, the First Nation is the
jurisdiction with authority. That means the First Nation is responsible for
the enforcement of codes on-reserve. They would be comparable to a
municipality, in effect. For any of the units that CMHC funds, we require,
as part of our operating agreement with the First Nation and where we have
our loan agreement, that the construction is done according to building
codes and standards. Each time we advance money during the construction
process, we require that the First Nation provide us with a declaration that
basically attests that the construction has been done according to code.
As you point out, in most cases it's unlikely that chief or council would
necessarily have the technical expertise to enable them to provide those
assurances. Nevertheless, they are, in a sense, the official formal signing
authority within that First Nation. CMHC's expectation is that they will
seek expert advice to enable them to sign those declarations for us.
Mr. Carisse has talked about how some First Nations access that technical
expertise. Sometimes the more sophisticated First Nations have that
expertise within the community. At other times, they rely on that from a
tribal council. There are various technical service organizations across the
country that have that kind of expertise and will provide it to First
Nations. As well, they can hire inspectors who work privately. We've seen
pretty much all of those different things.
Mr. Carisse talked a little bit as well about some of the capacity
development initiatives that CMHC has been involved in. Over the years,
we've worked quite closely with the First Nations National Building Officers
Association, FNNBOA. They undertake training and certification of First
Nations inspectors. We also do workshops and training related to various
aspects of building condition, including the very technical related to
building code. As well, we provide technical training to occupants so that
they can understand how to maintain and keep their homes in good condition.
There's a range of different initiatives that we're involved in, including,
as well, training for First Nations on things like maintenance planning and
capital repair planning.
Senator Dyck: Thank you for that additional information.
The Chair: Senator Meredith, did you have a supplementary on this
Senator Meredith: Yes, I did. It is directed to Mr. Carisse first
with respect to disparity in the numbers. You talked about 85,000 units that
First Nations indicated that they needed. You said that you needed about
20,000 to 35,000. How has the 50,000 to 65,000 that are sort of missing from
this equation impacted on families, especially young families and youth?
Ms. Darke, my other question is with respect to the code. Has there been
any consideration for collaboration between Aboriginal Affairs and CMHC to
provide a bona fide inspector before? You talked about a declaration to
double-check to ensure that the homes are being built to code and that
you're not just issuing funds based on a certificate that comes in; but
there's no double-checking. Has there been any collaboration to see if we
can hire an inspector that would go in and check to ensure? We see the
correlation between the deficiencies in these homes that are being built
that then create a problem of mould because they're not being built properly
and the fact that they're not being fully inspected properly. I'm thinking
of somebody who has some experience in construction here. We don't allow
that to happen in our cities — in our subdivisions being built in Ottawa or
anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area, where I hail from. There are
inspectors, and certain requirements have to be met. Why aren't those
stringent requirements being placed in collaboration between your department
and CMHC? Several questions there, because I want to see this thing get done
right. It's important if we're going to dish out $2.3 billion — $1.8 billion
has been spent already and more money at Attawapiskat — that we build these
homes properly so the lives of these people are not put in peril. Clearly,
there has to be some comprehensive way to go about this.
That is my first round of questions, chair.
The Chair: Two questions, one being about the need. Mr. Carisse,
that was directed to you.
Mr. Carisse: Yes. I agree with what was requested earlier: to give
tables for the numbers. We'll provide that so it's a bit clearer for
everyone. For the numbers from 85,000 or 35,000, I look at it as a great
need for housing, and we can all agree whether the number is somewhere in
Is there an impact to youth? Obviously there is an impact to youth and
families that are in communities, on-reserve or off-reserve. There are some
social housing needs in the middle of Toronto just as there are in the
middle of Ottawa. How best do we address that need?
We look at the funding provided for the Capital Facilities and
Maintenance (CFM) Program — $1 billion as I mentioned earlier. There's only
so many ways that we can cut that pie to address the need. Do you just focus
on housing? You can't. You need to focus on water, housing, schools, roads,
bridges, connecting communities, and making sure that roads are properly
maintained. There's so much that needs to be done. We do the best we can
with the funds that are available.
With regard to housing specifically, the government doesn't provide 100
per cent of the cost of homes. You anticipate that the community will put
some money towards that as well; right? Therefore, be it from own-source
revenue if they can, or shelter allowance, rental regimes, the private
market to look for mortgages, or the possibilities with the Market Housing
Fund, there's a great need out there. We're trying to address that as best
We're also looking at different ways of financing infrastructure. For
instance for water, we're looking at major public-private partnership with
the Atlantic Policy Congress for the 33 communities in the Atlantic region,
and at a public-private partnership in northern Manitoba for four
communities' schools. P3s are not a panacea — they may work and they may not
work. They work in certain instances. What we need, and it's a cliché, is
more tools in the tool box to go into communities.
For the longest time for housing in communities, we're trying to achieve
single family homes with quite a frontage. With the needs out there now, we
need to expand that and to see what exists off-reserve and on-reserve. You
need to have multi-unit homes, single family homes and, in some communities,
homes for the elderly. We're trying to build that.
To get to the issue that there is a need out there, I agree that we
definitely need to do more for housing and working with the communities. For
example, in Quebec there's an Aboriginal financial institution that we've
worked with there. It's the Aboriginal Savings Corporation of Canada, I
think they're called, ABSCAN. We've helped them out to raise a bond for $5
million that they've used to actually do housing without the need of MLGs.
This was specific more for the community of Wendake out of Quebec City, but
now they're looking to expand to see if they can work with other communities
to do something similar. We're looking at that to see if this can be
replicated across Canada.
We know that in Vancouver a P3 was done for social housing off-reserve,
but we're looking at that and seeing what are the opportunities that we can
help out and what kind of tools we can bring to communities. For First
Nations, as well as ourselves as public officials, we want to see that
number go down. We want to address this, but we have to use the tools that
are there, maybe some new tools, to stretch the financing we have as much as
The Chair: Thank you. I think you're pointing in the direction
that the committee may end up wanting to go, which is creative ways of
meeting these tremendous needs.
The second question was directed to you both, and that is about the
inspection issue. I believe the committee is going to hear from one of the
organizations that is assisting with this. Could you address Senator
Ms. Darke: Perhaps I can start on this one and then Mr. Carisse
can add some additional flavour.
Our requirement in the CMHC programs is that the First Nations hire an
inspector or use an inspector who has the necessary qualifications to be
able to undertake the inspection. It's not that just anybody can inspect the
units and advise the First Nation and council that code requirements have
been met. There are specific requirements that are needed, specific
qualifications. You cite a municipal example. Absolutely. That's the same
on- as well as off-reserve. In order to provide assurances of code
compliance, an inspector needs to have certain qualifications. It is our
expectation that a First Nation, in declaring to us that code has been met,
will do so on the basis of the advice they've received from a qualified
The costs associated with having inspections done are eligible costs
under our program, so we do understand that it's necessary for a First
Nation likely to procure those services, so that is an eligible cost, for
This is an area that both CMHC and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development have identified as being really important. From our perspective,
one thing that really needs to be done is some training, and there needs to
be a better understanding of the qualifications, for example, that those
inspectors need to have. CMHC is in the process right now of implementing
some changes to our process whereby, at the same time that a First Nation
provides us with assurances or their declaration with respect to code, they
also provide us with some certification that they have received from an
inspector who has the necessary qualifications. That will provide us with
the assurance not only that an inspection has been done, but also that it's
been done by an individual who has the necessary qualifications.
Those are some of the things we're doing. CMHC does work together quite
closely with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. This is an area we
have had discussions on and we'll continue to do so going forward. There
probably is more that we can and should do with respect to capacity
development and training, and CMHC will certainly be working with AANDC in
I would just like to end by clarifying that because the First Nation is
like a municipality and is the jurisdiction with authority, we have tried to
work very closely with them and make sure that the necessary expertise is
being brought to bear, but not going as far as the federal government in
checking up, if I can put it that way, because it is the First Nation that
owns, operates, develops and is the authority that has responsibility for
Senator Meredith: If I may, chair, just a quick question: With
respect to that, clearly there are those who issue declarations, but who is
basically almost double-checking those declarations? Because we see the
deficiencies that still continue to exist with the substandard homes that
are being built, not to call anyone out and say, ``Listen, these
declarations are not 100 per cent bona fide.'' However, there has to be some
sort of checks and balances, clearly, in terms of just holding those
individuals to a higher standard. What kind of independent body? That's
where the collaboration between Aboriginal Affairs and CMHC is what I was
getting at, just a double-checking. Just to say you're bona fide, you've
certified that this was actually done, but we see in six months there are
severe deficiencies in these homes causing health concerns to the occupants.
That's where I was getting at with that question, and I think there
absolutely need to be some more checks in terms of without the inspection
from the federal government, so to speak. There has to be some sort of
collaboration. Otherwise, we will see consistently the substandard homes
being built and the health and the lives of these people being put at risk.
Ms. Darke: I talked about two checks, I suppose, from the
perspective of the CMHC programs. One is a requirement that we will be
putting in place going forward that we get certification from the qualified
inspector. The second one I mentioned a couple of minutes ago, and that is
that we do regular inspections, physical condition reviews, of the projects
that we have funded. We do this on a sample basis, and we do it over time.
When we identify issues with respect to the condition of the unit, we work
with the First Nation to both identify those, tell them what we believe they
are, and work with them to help them figure out how they can best address
Senator Sibbeston: I'm interested in the way that houses are built
for First Nations. I know that there are communities that are in good
standing, well organized, that build their own homes, and they have the
skills and trades and the contractors to do the work. The least organized
and dysfunctional communities would be something like Attawapiskat, where
modular homes and trailers are brought into the communities. Basically,
everything is provided for the local people. The people in the communities
maybe don't have the skills and the training, and there's not the
opportunity for training and labour. I wonder if you could say something
about that. Is it true that that is the situation in our country with a lot
of Aboriginal communities? Housing is such a problem because they don't know
how to build the houses?
From the government side, like in the case of Attawapiskat, I notice that
you spent $3.3 million on building or bringing in 22 modular homes. That's
$150,000 per house. I know that $150,000 does not buy much of a place when
you consider the transportation costs, the setting-up costs and hooking up
and so forth. So is it the situation that, in the less functional, maybe
remote communities, people just simply don't have the skills and everything
is basically brought in so that you don't really have good-quality houses
Ms. Darke: I can only really talk to that question from the
perspective of the CMHC-funded houses. As I mentioned in my introductory
remarks, in 2012-13, for example, about 469 houses were built under the
section 95 or the non- profit housing program. Those primarily, for the
CMHC-funded homes, are newly constructed. They're not the sort of modular
homes that you mentioned in the context of Attawapiskat.
The First Nation will have those homes constructed in a variety of
different ways. If it's a more sophisticated First Nation, they may in fact
have their own construction firm and they will do it themselves. If it's a
less sophisticated First Nation, they're likely to hire somebody to
undertake the development and provide the contracting services. Oftentimes
they'll hire other Aboriginal organizations.
There are some interesting examples where there are sophisticated First
Nations who have their own construction companies and they hire First
Nations members from other communities. My understanding is there's a really
interesting example of that in Alberta, where the Fort McKay First Nation is
bringing people from the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta, some youth, to
learn construction trades and work on building homes in their First Nation.
There's quite a range. You're absolutely right; it does depend somewhat on
the level of sophistication of the First Nation. But for our programs, for
those communities that don't have that expertise in-house, they would
purchase that externally and, again, the costs that are associated with the
construction are eligible program costs under the section 95 program.
Mr. Carisse: I could add to what Ms. Darke was saying with another
good example, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. We're big in training and
utilizing them for carpenters, electricians, et cetera, to promote that
within the community.
Regarding the Blood Tribe — and this goes towards the prefabricated or
modular homes — the idea there is what are the needs, how can you address
the needs in a sustainable way and how quickly we can do it? With prefabs,
for instance, the Blood Tribe has their own building establishment there.
It's an economic development venture in Alberta and they're doing a great
job. They're building houses to standard that are ready to go. You don't
just see this on- reserve. I come from a small community — it's bigger now —
Orleans, which is east of here. In a lot of the older parts of Orleans,
there were prefab homes. If they're done well and to standard, they're good
homes, but they have to be maintained, obviously. There are certainly
instances where there are either emergencies or situations where we need to
address the housing need quickly, and sometimes it has to be not on a
long-term basis but you need to get shelter for community members. This is
where modular homes can be put in there, et cetera. However, for the long
term, there are different opportunities to look at. It doesn't need
necessarily to be right from scratch. You need to look at what are the
possibilities and, at the same time, what are the benefits to the community,
and how we can do the training within the community.
It's the same when we do our major infrastructure projects. For any bid,
we're looking for companies that will utilize any types of services that
already exist in the community or train the community members in carpentry
Senator Sibbeston: Are there any programs in the department to
train people in building houses? From my own experience in the North,
housing is an important part of life for everybody. We went through a whole
process of training people to build their own houses. Over the course of 20,
30, 40 years in the North now, we have the capacity within the communities
where people are carpenters and electricians and can now build their own
houses and work on houses. There's been that development and progress, but
the government has put in a lot of training funds so that people can get to
Are there any programs within your department to help people and
communities learn to build houses so that eventually they can build good,
Mr. Carisse: Within Aboriginal Affairs there's not that program
specifically for training for housing. However, the funding that is provided
can be used toward training for the communities. We help fund those First
Nation organizations that do provide training and capacity, as we mentioned
before. HRSDC has programs to promote that capacity building and training.
I'd have to go to CMHC with their programs that are there for capacity.
Ms. Darke: CMHC doesn't have any programs per se that are
specifically related to building skills with respect to home building for
Aboriginals. It's my understanding that ESDC does have some Aboriginal
skills training programs, but I'm not familiar with them. They may have
something that would be of relevance.
I would note that while we don't have any formal program of that nature,
as I said, we do have some capacity development, and CMHC has also
undertaken some research projects over time. In the last number of years,
we've done four different demonstration homes in the North. I think a couple
of them were in the Yukon, in collaboration with both the province and with
the First Nation — one in Arviat and one in Inuvik, I think — four of them.
They're all quite innovative in that they incorporate sustainable and energy
efficiency designs. They're all specifically to address some of the
challenges in the North. We've worked quite closely with other
organizations, both to design and build those homes and then, subsequent to
their construction, to monitor their energy efficiency and performance.
Again, while not specifically aimed at training, I must say that there has
certainly been learning as a part of those exercises.
I mentioned in my opening remarks as well that we have a housing
internship initiative that's funded through the federal Youth Employment
Strategy. Again, that's not specifically aimed at formal skills training for
home building. Nevertheless, that would be an eligible use of the funding. A
youth could be hired to work on residential job sites and get training in
building in that context.
The Chair: Ms. Darke, could you elaborate on the pilots that you
mentioned? Could you provide that information to the committee, please? You
mentioned there were demonstration homes.
Ms. Darke: Yes.
The Chair: I don't mean now; subsequently is fine.
Ms. Darke: Sure. There are some write-ups, some short profiles,
that have been prepared on those particular demonstrations, and we'd be
happy to follow up with the committee.
The Chair: Through the clerk, please. Thank you very much.
Senator Tannas: Thank you for your attendance here today.
I have a couple of questions for Ms. Darke. First, you mentioned your
portfolio. Can you tell me how many units you have in your CMHC portfolio?
Could you maybe contrast what I'm looking at as two different segments of
your portfolio? One is loans to bands, if you will. You've talked about
that, namely that the band is the borrower. You're funding these units. Are
they actually loans? Do they actually pay off? Does somebody actually write
you a cheque at the end? Who is it that typically would write the cheque at
the end to pay off the loan? Maybe give any kind of colour that you could on
default rates, and that sort of thing, around those particular loans.
The Chair: Shall we just stop there? Could you respond, Ms. Darke,
Ms. Darke: Thank you.
The Chair: Not to cut you off, senator.
Ms. Darke: I have a feeling there are more questions coming, but
let me try to answer the first set.
Regarding units in the portfolio, there are 29,300 units in the
CMHC-funded portfolio. I'm not quite sure how to answer your question about
contrasting the different parts of the portfolio, so let me try to do a
better job of explaining how it works.
I don't know off the top of my head what proportion of that 29,300 have
loans that are directly made from CMHC, but it's a very significant
proportion. CMHC, for most of the portfolio, has provided a direct loan to
the First Nation, and then, on an ongoing basis — so that's for a period of
25 years or so — we provide an ongoing subsidy to the First Nation. It's the
First Nation that owns that project.
Who writes the cheque? The First Nation writes the cheque to CMHC for the
loans that we have in place. Is anybody checking up to make sure that they
pay them off? Yes, absolutely. Our direct lending operation is run like any
other lending operation. I guess the difference between ourselves and a
private sector lender is that we run our direct lending on a planned
break-even basis. Because of that, we're able to offer lower interest rates
to the First Nations.
They absolutely are paying off their loans, and we have a Ministerial
Loan Guarantee in place, of course, so that, if there is an account in
arrears, CMHC will work with the First Nation and with Aboriginal Affairs
and Northern Development to figure out how we can fix the arrears and get
the project back on track. If it were to turn out that there were a default,
then CMHC would consult with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. If
we were to call the loan, we would be, in essence, calling the Ministerial
Loan Guarantee. We would get paid, and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development would go after repayment. They would go to the First Nation to
Arrears are very low. I don't have an exact number in front of me, but
the last time I looked, it was about 1 per cent. First Nations keep their
loans in good standing, and they absolutely do pay them off.
Senator Tannas: Terrific. I have a supplemental question. You've
got loans to people now through the First Nations Market Housing Fund. Can
you tell me, of your roughly 30,000 units, how many would be loans to people
through this fund or, for that matter, any other funds or programs that you
have where you're actually loaning money to the people living in these
Ms. Darke: Firstly, just to clarify, the First Nations Market
Housing Fund is a separate entity. It was established as a trust. From that
perspective, it isn't part of CMHC, nor is it part of Aboriginal Affairs and
Northern Development. The trustees of the First Nations Market Housing Fund
are appointed by the ministers of CMHC and AANDC, but it is separate. CMHC's
minister, under the indenture of trust, is responsible for providing some
high-level oversight. That is a little bit of context on the fund.
The way the fund works is that the loans are provided by a
private-sector-approved lender. A First Nation will apply and be qualified
by the First Nations Market Housing Fund for credit enhancement. They have
to meet a number of criteria in order to be approved, and then the fund will
establish a value of the credit enhancement guarantee.
Individual members on-reserve will then go to an approved lender for a
loan — the Royal Bank or the Bank of Montreal. Approved lenders, by the way,
also have to be approved by the fund. There will be an agreement in place
between the lender and the First Nation, as well as an agreement in place
between the First Nation and the fund.
If the individual defaults on their loan, the lender will go to the First
Nation first, who will pay them. If the First Nation does not pay them, then
the fund kicks in. Maximums and whatnot are established.
To give you a sense, the number of loans in place right now — and these
would be to individuals that have been backed by the fund — is about 52 in
total. There's about $61 million in credit guaranteed right now by the fund.
Senator Tannas: Did you say 52 loans and $60 million of
guarantees? Expensive houses.
Ms. Darke: No, no. Those aren't guarantees in place for those
loans. There are 53 First Nations that have been approved for credit
enhancement. Over time, their members will go to the bank to get a loan to
construct, to renovate or to purchase a home. A First Nation will have a
credit enhancement guarantee amount in place, and, over time, their members
will be able to go and put loans in place with that behind them.
Senator Tannas: So we don't know how many people are actually
individual owners. We know there are 62 larger entities, but we don't know
how many actual people there are living in houses.
Ms. Darke: Right. We know there are 53 First Nations in total that
have credit enhancement guarantees that have been approved, and we know
that, on some of those First Nations, there have been loans made to date —
and there are 52 of those in total — and those would be to individuals.
Senator Tannas: Thank you.
Ms. Darke: Does that help?
Senator Tannas: It does; thank you.
Senator Moore: I'm new to this committee, so I'm trying to get a
grip on the relationships. Some of my questions might be naive, but I want
to understand the fundamentals here.
I'm looking at the brief provided by the Library of Parliament. It states
that in 2011 the Assembly of First Nations estimated the on-reserve housing
shortage to be approximately 85,000 units. In the same period, Mr. Carisse,
your department estimated approximately 20,000 to 35,000. Within that range,
there's a 75 per cent swing. I don't understand that huge swing within your
own department's numbers and the wide variation between the Assembly of
First Nations number and your department's number. Can you address those two
Mr. Carisse: There's a big discrepancy. I can't speak to the one
from the AFN. You'd have to ask somebody from the Assembly of First Nations
to come in to talk about that. I know that, for the 20,000 to 35,000, an
evaluation was made of housing needs from the department, and that's where
it came from. Where do we stand on that? As I mentioned before, it can be
anywhere in between. It could be the higher or the lower number. For my
sake, even if it is 35,000, it's still a big number that we need to address.
The numbers, with infrastructure, are always a struggle. We had a similar
situation when we were dealing with water and did a national assessment of
the need for water across the country. The number came back in the billions.
I think it did justice there to just say that we're not talking about a
problem of a million or a few hundred million. For water and waste water,
it's in the billions of dollars.
Again, with housing, we're looking at a major issue that we need to work
together on as the federal family or the different departments, as well as
with First Nations and their organizations, to try to address this need. We
can look into it a bit more, but that's where those numbers are coming from.
Senator Moore: Is your department the place where the accurate
numbers are supposed to be housed? Are you the ultimate determiner? As a
funder and overseer, wouldn't you be the one that would know the most
Mr. Carisse: We hold a set of numbers provided by First Nations.
There's an evaluation. In our capital systems, First Nations will provide
numbers on what their needs are, and we roll that up to get a number.
Senator Moore: What does that mean, you roll that up? They're
talking 85,000; you're talking 20,000 to 35,000. What are the determinants
here? I don't understand this. I really don't understand this. This didn't
start last year. We've been in the relationship with the First Nations for
centuries. Why are we still not clear on what the needs are?
Mr. Carisse: I guess the need is high. I can't say more about the
numbers. They are what they are at this point. I'd love to say we had more
accurate numbers, but we'd have to go into every community and have a look.
The way the department looks at it, First Nations are their governments.
They know what they need. They report back on their needs. We have two sets
of different numbers right now that we have to work with. We can keep
working on that to try to pinpoint what the exact need is. I would
personally rather spend time on trying to address the need regardless of
what the number is.
Senator Moore: That's very noble, but at the same time, to me,
everything starts with one. Once you accept that, you can make big progress.
I don't know why you would not go from one coast to the other and work with
the leaders and First Nations to get some hard numbers so we can do some
accurate planning and budgeting. I just don't understand that.
The Chair: Senator Moore, maybe I can tell you that we have issued
an invitation to the housing officials from AFN, and we expect that they
will appear. I'm also told that the department's evaluation of housing
needs, dated August 2011, is available and public. We could circulate that
to members of the committee.
Senator Moore: This was also contained in a report that was tabled
in the House of Commons in the pre-budget discussions in 2011. We can look
at that brief from the Library of Parliament.
Ms. Darke, you mentioned the board of trustees in response to Senator
Tannas's question about this fund. Are there any members of any First Nation
on that board of trustees?
Ms. Darke: Yes, there are. The trustees include representatives
from First Nations, absolutely. I don't know off the top of my head how many
there are, but I can tell you for sure that the chair of the trustees is
from the First Nations community, as is the co-chair.
Senator Moore: Maybe you could send to the clerk the makeup of
that board of trustees, please.
Ms. Darke: Sure.
Senator Moore: Senator Meredith asked some very interesting
questions about the building code and the adherence of construction to it. I
think, Ms. Darke, you said that you're now realizing that you've got to make
sure this happens.
How long has this relationship been in place between CMHC and the funding
of housing units on reserves so that we're just now, in 2013, realizing that
we should be insisting on adherence to the code? How is it that we're just
now realizing that we should be doing that and that we might have let stuff
go through such that there will be mould and improper housing? How is it
we're just coming around to that now?
Ms. Darke: I would disagree with that statement. CMHC is not just
coming around now to realizing that codes need to be complied with. We've
had the requirement that housing built with our funding comply to codes
since the very beginning. We've had in place the requirement for First
Nations to declare that that's the case. In fact, the policy is not new that
we require they sign those declarations on the basis of advice from
qualified professionals. None of that is new. It's been in place all along.
The only thing that we have done newly is to require some formal
documentation to support that. We know when we look at the condition of the
stock that we have funded over the years that only 10 per cent of it is in
poor condition. I would say compliance to code has been an important part of
our program since its origin. We have worked with First Nations over time to
make sure that that is understood and to provide training and capacity
development. We've worked with organizations like FNNBOA for years.
As I said, we undertake cyclical condition reviews, and in general, the
condition of our stock is pretty good. Recently we implemented some
additional checks and balances, if I can put it that way.
Senator Moore: You mentioned in your remarks earlier that in a
2006 survey, seven years ago, 10 per cent were in poor condition. You also
said that 36 per cent were in fair condition, which to me means some work
would be needed. You've got 46 per cent that would need some work. Is that
Ms. Darke: I should clarify.
Senator Moore: Do you have more current figures than 2006?
Ms. Darke: I will clarify where those come from. The 2006 numbers
relate to the census and to all dwelling units on- reserve, and not all
dwelling units on-reserve are CMHC-funded. That percentage comes from the
2006 Census; and I believe that's the most recent information available from
The other numbers that I referenced to you, the 53 per cent satisfactory
or good and the 36 per cent in fair condition, are specifically related to
the CMHC-funded stock, which is the 29,300 units that we have provided
Senator Moore: Yes, I understand that.
Ms. Darke: I think Mr. Carisse said that on reserves now there are
about 108,000 dwelling units. The CMHC- funded stock is just one proportion
of the overall stock on-reserve.
Senator Moore: Could I have a final quick supplement, chair?
The Chair: Yes.
Senator Moore: Ms. Dark, it's for you as well. In your remarks,
you said that each year through CMHC, the Government of Canada provides $2
billion to address the housing needs of lower-income Canadians. Does that
include everybody who is a lower-income Canadian? Are you talking about on-
and off-reserve persons only?
Ms. Darke: Perhaps I can clarify. The $2 billion relates to all of
the funding for housing that CMHC provides in a year. That would be both on
Senator Moore: Does ``on and off'' mean that the people who are
off are natives and non-natives?
Ms. Darke: Correct.
Senator Moore: All Canadians.
Ms. Darke: Yes.
Senator Wallace: The chair began by saying that we've asked you to
come here today to provide us with background information so we would be
better able to decide where we should focus our attention as we go forward
with this. I have to say that what you have provided has been very helpful;
and we appreciate that.
Mr. Carisse, as you pointed out, there certainly seems to be a shortfall
in the number of housing units on reserves. I suspect that availability of
funding is a major part of that, but I'm wondering, aside from that, if you
could identify for us any significant underlying impediment other than
simply ``we don't have enough money'' that would account for this shortfall
in the number of housing units available. Is there some basic non-monetary
impediment that you would recommend we focus our attentions on to make a
difference when we finish this work?
Mr. Carisse: Good question. We touched on some of the issues with
regard to capacity within the community and the needed tools out there, even
with the funding that's available, if it's easier for communities to use
certain tools to go to a private or market housing fund to at least address
The way we fund infrastructure, just to broaden so it's not just housing,
most often it is cash-based funding. If it's a $10-million school, you take
the first six to twelve months to do the design and the next ten years to
finish it. Then you pay off that school over the next two years at $5
million a year and it's done. In one way, that makes a little bit of sense.
If we could all pay off our mortgages within two years, it would be to our
advantage; but at the same time, you're not really stretching those dollars
as much as you could.
In this situation, especially with housing on-reserve, the land is still
under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867; and there's still
section 89(1) of the Indian Act that prohibits seizure of assets. It's
difficult for any community member without certain tools like this to go out
and get their own mortgages, those that actually want to build their own
homes that could help address the need.
Within every community, be it remote, rural or more urban, you should
have social housing and market housing, rental regimes, rental housing to a
different extent depending on the location, but that's not possible in every
community. There are some communities that could actually take advantage of
that, especially going back to the discussion on individuals. There are
individuals in communities that I believe would really want to go off and to
get a mortgage to build a house that they want for their own needs but,
because of the land situation, I think there's an issue there. I think
there's an issue with the land situation, and some initiatives have been
promoted recently or proposed that I think could help address that.
I also think about the discussion we had about codes. We ask for
infrastructure codes and building codes, so it is in funding agreements. It
has been part of CMHC programming for a number of years now for housing to
be built to code, but, as we saw with water a number of years ago, and the
Auditor General told us to fix the situation, there was a regulatory gap
with water and waste water regulations. We face the same situation right now
with housing that building codes are not regulated. There isn't that
certainty of regulations that is there right now for building codes.
Again, the land, looking at the codes, I think, and keep building on
certain tools that First Nations could access would help a great deal,
because I don't think government will just be able to come up with the extra
billions of dollars that are needed to address that need right away.
Senator Wallace: Yes. I was just wondering. We all go through this
at times. You wake up in the middle of the night, and you've been involved
in issues, and all of a sudden, with clarity, gee, there's one big one.
There is what would break the logjam. I just wondered if there was anything
like that. I know you've got a number of programs, a number of issues, and
they all need tweaking, but I accept what you've had to say, unless there is
something more, if there was that major, fundamental issue that we should
focus our attention on. We can leave your answer where it is, if you wish.
Mr. Carisse: I think those are the big ones.
Senator Wallace: Great. One other question, if I could: You've
mentioned that dealing with these on-reserve issues, the housing issues and
other issues involves a partnership of the federal and provincial and
territorial governments and the First Nations chiefs and councils. I'm
wondering to what extent, if any, difficulties with the actual workings of
that partnership have created impediments to meeting the housing needs of
the Aboriginal people.
Mr. Carisse: There are those situations. I think some of it is
starting to break down, and I especially see it working with provincial
governments and industry, not for housing per se. I'm looking at a project
we did in northern Ontario with the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. We have 26
communities there who pulled together to do a broadband project to bring
fibre to these 26 communities. I think we're almost up to $90 million for
this project. It was a great partnership that you saw between the province,
between Bell Alliance and industry, between the First Nation communities,
and there were various ministries in the province and within various
departments in the federal family to pool all that money together to
actually get this project off and going. There was no way that any one group
could have pulled this off. That approach can definitely be applied to other
pieces of infrastructure, including housing. How can we best work together
between the departments, with the province? You never know. There may be
certain ways to do with it industry. As I mentioned earlier, it was Deloitte
that worked for housing P3 in Vancouver. So there may be some appetite out
there to look at doing something similar for on-reserve.
Senator Wallace: I suspect that with those partnerships there are
successes and less than success in certain projects. That really wasn't the
focus of my question.
I am wondering, generally speaking, about the working relationship of the
three parties to that partnership. Do they work together effectively? Again,
I realize it's a project-to-project determination, actually. Are there
rivalries and everybody has their own turf they want to protect so things
don't come together? Is that something we should focus on, the working
relationship of that partnership? That is what I'm asking.
Mr. Carisse: I think it can't hurt, obviously. One thing that
helps is knowing what everybody's roles and responsibilities are, and if
that's always clear, be it for housing, water, schools or infrastructure,
that always helps out because when you have that lack of clarity, people get
confused and there's misinformation. Then a certain approach somewhere may
be different in how we approach a situation in Quebec than how we'd approach
it in Alberta. Somebody would say, how come? There are good reasons why,
depending on the organizations that are there. There is the issue of
everybody's vying for that same dollar. If we're doing a project somewhere
and somewhere else at the same time, it's nice to be able to able to go off
and try things. I mentioned P3s or what we did with ABSCAN to try things
somewhere and say we're doing this — let's call it a pilot, for lack of a
better word — but if we can actually replicate that somewhere, then we have
to start somewhere, and I think there's possibilities. We're on the cusp of
doing things really differently, which is good, so we'll be able to start
addressing the need not just on housing but on the other infrastructure
that's out there.
Senator Greene Raine: Thank you very much. I really appreciate
what you've been telling us today. One of the nice things about being one of
the last people to ask questions is that most of my questions are already
asked, but I would like a little bit of clarification, if you don't mind,
Mr. Carisse. You mentioned that for First Nations that have not opted into
the 1996 housing policy, which includes those in British Columbia and a few
in Ontario, funding operates on a subsidy basis. Could you elaborate on that
a little bit? Why haven't they opted in? Now we have two different systems,
one where it's First Nations controlled, basically, and the other, which is
a subsidy from the department.
Mr. Carisse: That's right. In 1996, that policy that was put
together did give a lot more flexibility and control into the hands of First
Nations, as chief and council receiving that allocation of funding and
deciding where to apply it and what to do with it. The situation is
basically numbers. In British Columbia, for the 200 communities that are
there, a vast number of them are very small communities, so to try to do a
formula-based funding for their community of 35 or 40 people, the numbers
just weren't there. With the amount of money that you would have received,
the community would not have been able to do much with that funding, so it
was pretty much a collective decision at that point to just have a project
proposal based in British Columbia. It made it a lot easier for those
communities to get a bigger pool of funds, although it's not on an annual
basis obviously, but when you get that pool of funds, you can actually do
something with it, more than just a few thousand dollars that wouldn't have
accomplished anything. So grosso modo, that's why they decided to
just stick to the subsidy the way it was done in the past.
Senator Greene Raine: Thank you very much. I've always wondered
why the houses that are built on reserves, I guess mostly designed by CMHC
or by somebody, are all the same, and why they are all kind of plain Jane.
Who designed them? Were they designed by the people who were actually living
there? Were they designed all across the country the same, or do they take
into consideration climate? I guess I would really like some clarification
on that going backwards but also moving forwards. Can we do it better so
that the people who live in their communities have a real ownership of their
Ms. Darke: I can answer the question for CMHC's funded programs.
CMHC does not design the houses. The homes themselves are designed and built
and managed by the First Nations themselves. We don't have a standard
design. We don't have standard requirements in that respect that are in
Mr. Carisse: I can add for the department: It's a bad term, but I
guess what a lot of people call them in communities is INAC houses, and
those are dating from the 1960s and so on. There was one point, and I'd have
to look back in the history where the design came from, but it was pretty
much that same design that was applied everywhere. We're going away from
that. Since 1996 with the policy, it's up to chief and council to look at
that and address the need for multi- housing and different sizes of housing
so that individuals have more of an opportunity to build housing that meets
Obviously these are some of the examples and it's not like this
everywhere, but if you drive into Wendake or Westbank, you're going to
notice that it's not the same design everywhere. There's some really nice
housing going on there. That would be nice to see in other communities.
It will be different. Obviously, in some rural remote communities,
economic development is not there as you would see in a more urban reserve,
but I still think you can't have that same type house. If you're a single
person, you don't need a three-bedroom home; if you're a family, you may
need something different. There has to be a variation of housing in
communities, which makes sense — like you would see off-reserve — as well as
the variations on how to finance and fund that housing, which includes
social housing, rental housing and market housing. That's what I think the
end state would be.
Tara Hutchinson, Senior Policy Analyst, Aboriginal Affairs and
Northern Development Canada: If I could add one thing, we received $150
million through Canada's Economic Action Plan. One of our key funding
categories was multi- units because we are seeing a lot of interest among
First Nations for housing that meets the needs of elders and of people
starting out for the first time on their own. As a result of this funding,
we were able to construct many multi- units across the country. I think
we'll see that area expanding as we continue.
Senator Greene Raine: Modular homes and trailers, portable homes,
are also valuable in the housing mix. In the residential development on
First Nations communities, are there trailer courts with pads that you can
rent so that you could have a motorhome or a mobile home and, if you get a
job up north somewhere, you could take it with you and come back for the
winter? Is this kind of planning happening in First Nations communities now?
Maybe we could hear from Ms. Jeannie Dempster, who is involved in
strategic policy coordination. Is that something your department gets
Jeannie Dempster, Director, Strategic Policy Coordination, Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corporation: I can't speak specifically to that
last idea about the transport of a mobile home from a policy perspective.
However, that's an interesting idea that we could take back and explore from
a research perspective as well.
In the North, for example when you're talking about housing design, there
are different applications of design to address climate, durability of the
home, the harsher climate there and sustainability of products because of
the transportation cost — that is, looking at reducing costs, but again in a
sustainable way. CMHC has researchers who specifically focus on the North
and on more rural remote climates for that purpose. Certainly, there are a
variety of research projects and initiatives that have occurred and continue
to occur. They are experts on heating systems and that sort of approach.
I don't think that's really answering your question on the latter part,
but from a policy perspective and in terms of design, I would reaffirm what
Debra Darke said earlier, namely that there are some interesting examples of
sustainable housing and sustainable communities and approaches there that
CMHC has taken and is continuing to take. We have some published research on
that as well.
Senator Greene Raine: I think we, as a group, look forward to
calling on people in the industry of prefab and mobile housing to come
forward and let us know what's happening. The door is open for every kind of
housing, I understand.
The Chair: Would you kindly make those papers and those examples
available to our committee through the clerk, please?
We are on the second round now and I've got two people on the list,
Senator Moore and Senator Meredith.
Senator Moore: I want to ask a question with regard to the
Attawapiskat situation raised by Senator Sibbeston. The news report on that
situation yesterday said that the people were living in interconnected
construction trailers and that the fire was caused by candles used for
lighting after the storms knocked out electricity.
Mr. Carisse, I presume that your department would have been the one that
provided the construction trailers that these people were living in. When
that happened, would you also provide generators? Given where the location
is, and that storms are prevalent at this time of the year until spring,
would generators be provided so they would not have the loss of electricity
Mr. Carisse: The trailer unit itself was provided by De Beers.
Senator Moore: Provided by whom?
Mr. Carisse: De Beers mines. That was for the people who were
there working for the mines. We refurbished them and helped with that. I
know some renovations were needed and, as you saw in the media, there was a
housing crisis in Attawapiskat. We tried to put some people in there. The
fire happened. From what I know, it was an issue with a candle. It's on the
west wing. They still have the smell of smoke in the common area, in the
middle. It's U-shape and on the east side there is some smoke. They're
cleaning that out. The idea is to get people back there as soon as possible.
Is that a permanent solution? No, obviously, but it's something that's there
in the community right now.
Senator Moore: What about the generators?
Mr. Carisse: For the generators, I don't know the specifics of
what was knocked out in the community, if it was a line just going right to
that specific unit or if it was more general. I'd have to get back to you on
For electricity, as much as possible we try to get communities on the
grid. As you know, power gets knocked off every once in a while. Some
communities are on diesel for generation, but if you're on diesel you get
some wires going to the infrastructure in the community so that can be
knocked out, too.
Senator Moore: Can you check on that and let us know whether
adequate generating power was provided when those units were installed
Mr. Carisse: Yes; definitely. I'll get back to you.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Carisse.
Senator Meredith: Senator Wallace kind of asked my question before
I stepped out of the room. I was asking about the challenges, but I always
get back to the leadership, the chief and council and their true commitment
to ensure that they're collaborating with Aboriginal Affairs to get these
homes erected quickly, given the shortages on these reserves.
What kind of commitment has been given? How can this committee work with
or encourage the chiefs so that we can say in our report, which will be
provided, ``Here are some things that we've uncovered in terms of
collaboration''? How can we quickly do that?
My other question to Ms. Darke is with respect to technology and
collaboration of new technologies around mould to ensure that there is less
resistance to mould, which is causing health issues. Have there been any
discussions around the construction materials that are used? For example,
looking at construction materials that are non-combustible or in terms of
steel in construction rather than wood so that it doesn't absorb any
moisture, and so forth? Has there been any talk about that?
Going forward, we see that the problems exist currently. We see that
there are deficiencies in the construction of some of homes that are being
built. How are we looking at best practices to move forward with the new
homes that are going to be constructed so that they last longer and so that
we don't consistently have this need to repair going forward?
The Chair: Could the answer be shorter than the question, please?
Mr. Carisse: In regard to commitment by leadership, I know you've
had many representatives here from leadership, from First Nations themselves
or from organizations to talk about various issues such as water, education,
et cetera. From my travels, I think housing is probably the number one issue
all the time. There are many issues, but housing always comes up with
leadership. I think there is commitment from leadership to actually address
this issue. I think the leadership is looking for some of the tools they can
I think certain things are not being utilized as much as they could, for
instance, rental regimes in First Nation communities. In comparison to
off-reserve, there aren't many communities that have adequate rental
regimes, although the department provides for shelter allowances. It's up to
chief and council — their government — to decide where their priorities lie,
but I think it's that mindset to know if the shelter allowance is being used
for shelter and if the rental regimes are there and in place and people are
That is, for the homeowner to feel ownership and pride in the home that
they're in, it's not just a house that was given by the chief and council,
but it's your home. Take pride in that. I think you get a big shift in the
mindset for the operations and maintenance of that house, as well as in the
mindset of chief and council for that. You will be hearing from
representatives — it will definitely come up — about treaty rights to
housing. I'm not going to open up Pandora's box. I'll leave it to other
officials from the Department of Justice to go into that. It's an issue that
is present, but I think to wait for the government to come up to address the
35,000 or 85,000 units based on a treaty right, there's just not enough of
the funds there. If we can put that issue aside, we need to work together
with the communities and to get that commitment, that buy-in. Also, if you
push that down the line, the way I see it, housing off-reserve is an
economic driver everywhere you go. On-reserve, it's a cost driver. It's
completely different. If you can switch that to become an economic driver,
if you can get private home ownership so that somebody can start their own
business and use that as their own asset, I think you can start to see a lot
of change in communities. To me, if it's a dartboard, housing is in the
centre. You work on housing, and I think everything else can start to get
fixed. It's the home, the unit, that needs to be addressed. We're doing a
lot of good stuff and getting there, but there will definitely be commitment
from leadership to try to address this issue.
Ms. Darke: I'll go as quickly as I can. To answer your question
about mould, CMHC is currently working on a resource document that will
provide information on design and construction details to help First Nations
build homes that will not have mould problems. Information transfer is one
of the main things we're doing in this area, and, as I said, that will
provide them with some good technical design advice. It will include things
like construction materials, heating and cooling systems and the technology
that is part of a home.
We also do best practice case studies. We have a mould resource tool kit
that helps people to identify mould, to address mould-related issues and to
avoid mould. CMHC has a series of different products in this area.
The Chair: Thank you. We have a quick yes or no question from
Senator Dyck before we break.
Senator Dyck: Does the 2 per cent cap that was applied to federal
funding in 1996 apply to funding for on-reserve housing? Has that been
lifted from housing?
Mr. Carisse: The cap is on our A base, which would include
housing. I'll go back and make sure on that, but it's on the full A base of
the department, so that would include housing.
The Chair: Thank you very much to everyone. Meeting adjourned.
(The committee adjourned.)