N.W.T. Métis communities receive $34M from feds for housing projects

·2 min read
Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal speaks at a funding announcement in Manitoba. Vandal was in Yellowknife on Saturday for a funding announcement that included $34 million to Métis communities for housing projects.    (Ian Froese/CBC - image credit)
Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal speaks at a funding announcement in Manitoba. Vandal was in Yellowknife on Saturday for a funding announcement that included $34 million to Métis communities for housing projects. (Ian Froese/CBC - image credit)

The federal government is providing $34 million to four N.W.T. Métis communities for housing-related projects.

Dan Vandal, the minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada made the announcement on Saturday.

The Northwest Territories Métis Nation is receiving $20 million and the North Slave Métis Alliance $7 million, while the Fort Simpson Métis Council and the Fort Providence Métis Council are getting $3.5 million each.

Vandal said in his travels across the North, he has heard many concerns around housing.

"Well of course you've got the short construction season," he said. "The inflation is an issue that's real, construction inflation and housing inflation has been around for a long time, so that's also important."

The funding comes from the 2022 federal budget which dedicated $190 million to Métis institutions and governments in Canada to address urgent housing needs, according to a Wednesday press release from the ministry of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

The announcement comes shortly after a parliamentary committee recommended the federal government directly fund Indigenous governments and communities in the N.W.T. for housing programs.

The previous funding model involved the federal government providing housing-related funding to the territorial government, which communities and Indigenous governments would then apply for.

The committee wrote in a report how this model specifically hampered the N.W.T. Métis Nation, among other Indigenous groups.

"The committee heard that the Northwest Territory Métis Nation does not receive core funding for the delivery of housing programs and services to its members," the report said.

Vandal said he expects funding Indigenous governments directly will make the process easier.

"I think that something that we certainly heard of and heard about in our consultations and we're actively moving forward on distinction based housing with not only the Métis but with First Nations and Inuit," he said.