In Canada 79.7% of Indigenous Peoples live in urban centres yet an Indigenous Urban Housing strategy has yet to be developed.
Aboriginal Housing Manager Association (AMHA) applauds the Federal government efforts in the National Housing Strategy to address the needs of Metis/First Nations/Inuit groups on a distinction basis, it has failed to recognize the majority and the most vulnerable; the urban Indigenous peoples. As per the Special Rapporteur’s report “states should recognize the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination and that indigenous peoples must be able to influence decisions that affect them in housing and related areas. Indigenous peoples must be meaningfully consulted with a view to obtaining their free, prior and informed consent to all decisions made regarding housing policy, laws and programmes that may affect them.”
“As the newly formed federal government opens parliament, on International Human Rights Day – we share this statement in the sincere hope that urban Indigenous housing conditions and homelessness are prioritized in the federal government’s implementation of the National Housing Strategy, as a matter of human rights and consistent with the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The public statement written below was created collectively by AHMA, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing Leilani Farha, and a variety of Indigenous Housing Leaders from across Canada at a public press conference in Toronto at the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.
We demand the federal government:
- Recognize the right to an adequately resourced National Urban and Rural Indigenous Housing Strategy developed and implemented by urban, rural and northern housing and service providers;
- Recognise urban, rural and northern housing and service providers as expressions of Indigenous self-determination, as recognised by the Federal Court of Appeal in Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (Misquadis) and as per articles 4, 21 and 23 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Create new legislation, mirroring the rights and accountability framework articulated in the NHSA, which recognises culturally relevant housing as a human right for Indigenous people in urban, rural and northern areas;
- Domesticate and implement the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law;
- Finally, we challenge the newly formed government to meet these four demands in the first 100 days of government.