The Ontario government announced earlier today that it will allocate the remaining $60 million of an $80 million federal off-reserve Aboriginal housing trust fund to the Ontario Aboriginal Housing Support Services Association. The federal dollars were authorized by Parliament in 2005 and assigned to Ontario in 2006. It has taken Ontario almost three years to allocate the federal dollars. The province signed a deal with the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, the Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat and the Ontario Native Women’s Association to fund more than 500 low-income Aboriginal households outside the Greater Toronto Area at an average of $120,000 per-unit.
The province signed a legal agreement with Aboriginal housing and service providers in the GTA to allocate $20 million for 350 new homes (an average subsidy of $62,500) in November of 2008. In both announcements, Ontario housing minister Jim Watson and Aboriginal affairs minister Brad Duguid claimed full credit. Minister Duguid said: “This initiative is another example of the Ontario government taking action to improve social conditions for Aboriginal people,” without thanking or acknowledging that the funds came entirely from the federal government.