First Nations Market Housing Fund Marks 5th Anniversary With New Partnerships in BC

OTTAWA, ON, May 15, 2013 —Five years after opening its doors, the First Nations Market Housing Fund (the Fund) continues to gain momentum. In fact, the Fund, a tool created by the Government of Canada to broaden the range of housing options available to eligible First Nations, marks its 5th year in operation with 100 partners — including two new partnerships with Malahat Nation and Tsawout First Nation in the province of British Columbia.

“Today is a great day for the Fund and for First Nations Communities across the country,” said John Beaucage, Chair of the Fund. “Every First Nation family deserves the opportunity to have a home on their own land, in a strong community, and the Fund is proud to be partnering with so many strong First Nation communities to help make this dream a reality.”

“The Assembly of First Nations is committed to continued advocacy efforts to ensure all First Nations have safe, adequate and affordable housing in their communities to address the continuum of need, including the ability to pursue homeownership. As such, we would like to recognize the efforts of the Fund over the past five years in getting First Nations approved for loan backing and supporting their goals,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.

Launched in May 2008, the Fund supports the creation of market-based housing agreements between First Nations and lenders. The Fund was created with a one-time federal investment of $300 million that can potentially be leveraged into $3 billion in on-reserve housing investments across Canada. Through its partnership with 100 First Nations communities across the country, the Fund now has over $500 million approved in potential loan credit for First Nations citizens to use in applying for housing loans to start on home renovation and construction, as well as for First Nations to provide rental accommodation.

“Malahat Nation, through my voice, welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the First Nations Market Housing Fund to deliver sustainable home ownership options for our citizens that will help us meet our goals for self-determination,” said Chief David Michael Harry. “Being the 100th First Nation to partner with the program clearly demonstrates how the new and innovative approaches the First Nations Market Housing Fund initiative provides are needed to meet the increasing demands of housing and healthy communities for our community and for all Aboriginals. We are pleased to be a part of this important milestone and continued success of the First Nations Market Housing Fund.”

It is completely voluntary for First Nations to make use of the Fund’s market-based fund — which makes signing 100 partners all the more exciting. The Fund recognizes the differences amongst First Nation communities and works with them on their own timelines to provide them with the choice and flexibility they need to address their unique housing challenges.

"The Fund will support financing arrangements for our housing on reserve,” said Chief Harvey Underwood of Tsawout First Nation — who recently partnered with the Fund. “Key to us is their respect of communal ownership of reserve land. Through the Fund’s Capacity Development Program, Tsawout First Nation will be able to develop its own Housing Authority, something we have long wanted to do.”

“The number of First Nations working with the Fund in BC has more than tripled in this last year, including several like Malahat and Tsawout who are on the island,” said Mr. Beaucage.

About the First Nations Market Housing Fund

The Fund is an innovative initiative established by the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC), to give First Nation members greater access to housing loans on reserve and on settlement lands, where appropriate. The $300 million fund became operational in May 2008.

The Fund helps First Nation communities by:

  • Providing a 10% backstop for housing loans guaranteed by the First Nation;
  • Providing financial leverage to negotiate with lenders that results in lower interest rates, reduced program access fees, risk sharing and administrative arrangements;
  • Strengthening First Nation communities and supporting the idea of self-sufficiency by providing new financial literacy and financial management tools, encouraging good governance and financial transparency and developing capacity with education, information and innovative services.

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

Media Contacts:

Deborah Taylor
First Nations Market Housing Fund

Robert Sagmeister
Malahat Nation

Peter Mitchell
Tsawout First Nation


Malahat Nation

The Malahat people, Me’ le’ xelh Mustimuhw, have resided on the western shore of the beautiful Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island since time immemorial, and have used the territories around their villages for hunting, fishing, berry gathering, and for ritual and ceremonial activities. There are 302 Malahat Nation members, with 121 people living within its two reserves of approximately 224 hectares near Mill Bay, Goldstream and the highland districts of Vancouver Island. The Malahat First Nation is a member government of the Naut'sa mawt Tribal Council and their ancestral tongue is the Hulquminum language.

The Malahat Nation was party to the historic Douglas Treaties signed between 1850 and 1854, and most recently have signed an Incremental Treaty Agreement transferring the Shawnigan Lands back to the Nation. This will provide increased lands, economic development opportunities and meaningful employment opportunities for Malahat Nation members.

The Nation’s housing portfolio, consisting of approximately 30 houses, is growing. Four new homes were constructed in the community just this year, with members taking possession March 1st. The Nation is removing barriers and following those teachings that contribute to the future generations of the Malahat Nation.

Tsawout First Nation

The Tsawout First Nation is located on Vancouver Island. Tsawout is one of five bands that constitute the Saanich Nation. The other bands of the Saanich Nation are Tsartlip, Tseycum, Malahat and Pauquachin. Tsawout is a member of the Sencot’en Alliance. In the 1850s, Tsawout became a signatory to the Douglas Treaties, a series of treaties signed by some First Nations on Vancouver Island and the Colony of Vancouver Island.

East Saanich IR No. 2, the Tsawout First Nation’s main village, is approximately 241 hectares in size (595 acres) total area. East Saanich is approximately 15 minutes north of the City of Victoria and is located on the east side of the Saanich Peninsula. Tsawout First Nation has approximately 1600 residents (year 2006 est.), 485 are registered band members, and others are residents who are leasing lands from landowners. The total registered First Nation population is 828. There are single family residential, leased modular homes, band administration and commercial developments. The commercial developments include motels, restaurants, offices and gas stations.

Saanichton Bay has historically been, and continues to be significant to the Saanich peoples of Tsawout. The bay provides shelter from the prevailing southeast gales of winter, a year-round source of food, and plays an integral role in the Tsawout economic, societal, social, and spiritual life. Because of these reasons, Saanichton Bay was one of the main winter village sites of the Saanich peoples, and that is why Tsawout First Nation is located there today. Tsawout plans to use the Fund`s backing for homeownership and renovation loans.