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Groundbreaking held on first of five on-reserve shelters

WIKWEMIKONG UNCEDED INDIAN RESERVE, October 12, 2017 — A groundbreaking has been held for the first of five shelters to support victims of family violence on reserves across Canada.

The Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), provided Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve with more than $2.3 million in funding in the form of a forgivable loan over the course of 15 years.

The community held a groundbreaking ceremony on September 6, 2017, with dignitaries and community members celebrating at the site of the future shelter. Construction will begin in Spring 2018 with anticipated completion in Fall 2018. The ceremony included a blessing of the land of the future shelter and a traditional pipe ceremony, prayer, and honour songs.

Budget 2016 included $10.4 million over three years for the construction of five new shelters for victims of family violence on reserve, delivered through CMHC. Four other communities have been identified for the construction of new shelters:

  • Lake Babine in British Columbia;
  • Black Lake in Saskatchewan;
  • Nisichawayasihk in Manitoba;
  • Kawawachikamach in Quebec.

CMHC invested in the initial construction and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada will fund the ongoing operation of the facilities, which will make a significant difference in these communities.


“The Government of Canada is working to renew its relationship with Indigenous Canadians and part of that commitment is ensuring community members on reserve are housed safely and securely. These shelters will ensure survivors of domestic violence have access to the support and services they need for themselves and their families.”
— The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

“‎Our government's commitment to improving housing for First Nations communities remains steadfast, and this investment through CMHC contributes to this important work. These shelters will not only provide a safe space for families when they need it most, they will contribute to a more prosperous community.”
— The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services

“I am very pleased that Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve will be able to provide a shelter for victims of violence, including men. What is particularly important to us is that it will incorporate our Anishinaabe history and culture. Our history and experience with traditional healing methods will greatly assist individuals on their healing journey”
— Duke Peltier, Chief, Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve

Quick facts:

  • The Government of Canada has begun working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners to co-develop distinct housing strategies that will improve outcomes and move towards greater Indigenous autonomy and responsibility for their housing.
  • To address urgent housing needs on reserve, Budget 2016 provided $554.3 million over two years beginning in 2016-17.
  • Of this amount, $416.6 million over two years was provided to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to address immediate housing needs on reserve. An additional $137.7 million over two years was provided to CMHC, most of which supports the renovation and retrofit of existing housing on reserve.
  • Budget 2016 also provided up to $33.6 million over five years, beginning in 2016–17, and up to $8.3 million in additional ongoing funding, to better support shelters serving victims of family violence in First Nations communities.

Associated links:

  • As Canada's authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. For more information, please call 1-800-668-2642 or follow us on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Media contacts:

Émilie Gauduchon
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Duclos

Audrey-Anne Coulombe
Public Affairs
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation



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