Question Period: Indigenous Housing

By: The Hon. Brian Francis

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Hon. Brian Francis: Senator Gold, yesterday, the Auditor General of Canada tabled a report on housing in Indigenous communities which found that Indigenous Services Canada, or ISC, and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or CMHC, have made little progress over the past two decades and are not likely to close the housing gap by 2030. Another report on the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program found that Public Safety Canada has poorly managed the program and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has not been able to fully staff positions funded through it.

Will the federal government finally allocate the necessary funding and resources to address what Ms. Hogan has described as “. . . a distressing and persistent pattern of failure” on federal programs intended to support Indigenous people?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. Both of the reports painted a disturbing picture of the progress that still must be made — though some has been made — on those files. The government has accepted all of the recommendations of the Auditor General with regard to her report on housing and a report on policing.

With regard to the financial dimensions, the issues are quite different, senator. There is no question that the gap that has persisted for decades — if not centuries — between adequate housing in Indigenous communities and elsewhere has now been stabilized thanks to significant initiatives by this government, which now offers the hope that, with more efforts and resources, that gap will be narrowed.

The issue with policing is more complicated engaging, as we know, the provinces and the territories.

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