Housing Conditions for Indigenous People: Census Data, UN Report

Practice Point

Housing Conditions for Indigenous People: Census Data, UN Report

October 26, 2022

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN CANADA WERE ALMOST THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY to live in a dwelling in need of major repairs (16.4%) than the non-Indigenous population (5.7%) in 2021, according to data collected by Statistics Canada in the 2021 Census.

As well, over one in six Indigenous people (17.1%) lived in crowded housing that was considered not suitable for the number of people who lived there.

The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is narrowing, according to the data. However, these conditions persist despite the s. 4 declaration in the 2019 federal National Housing Strategy Act that it is a policy of the Government of Canada that “the right to adequate housing is a fundamental human right affirmed in international law”.

In the year that statute was enacted, a United Nations report “deliver[ed] a scathing assessment about the role ‘abhorrent’ housing conditions are playing in the poverty and exploitation that Indigenous people face in Canada” (Radio Canada International).

“Poor housing conditions have been associated with increased risk of the spread of infectious and respiratory diseases, chronic illness, injuries, poor nutrition, violence, and mental disorders” (National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health, Housing as a social determinant for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis health (2017)).

Information on Canada’s National Housing Strategy is available here.

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We acknowledge that the land on which we work is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.