Re-Establishing Community Structures at Reserve Residences

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The socio-economic problems that plague many First Nations communities on reserves are complex and the subject of ongoing dialogue and debate. Nevertheless, it is widely recognized that the disruption caused by reserve relocations, residential schools and discriminatory laws such as the Indian Act created enduring hardships that hamper the re-establishment of stable community structures. A lack of economic opportunities, inadequate housing and poor water infrastructure are some of the key issues.

As a consequence of their location in remote areas, it can be challenging for residents to access employment and the amenities that they take for granted in other parts of Canada. In addition, because reserves are held in trust by the Crown, residents do not “own” their land and cannot obtain mortgages or small business loans as they would in other Canadian jurisdictions.

To mitigate these challenges, some communities have developed programs to help their residents obtain financial support to build, renovate or buy houses on reserve lands. These include CMHC’s On-Reserve Housing Program, which helps First Nations people leverage financing to get loans from financial institutions; and Ministerial Loan Guarantees that ensure that bands can borrow funds to buy or build houses on reserve. reserve residences

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