AFN National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak Calls for Action Following Auditor General’s Reports on First Nations Policing and Housing

Published: Mar 19, 2024Press Release

(March 19, 2024 – Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa, Ontario) – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak is welcoming the Auditor General’s report on the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNIPP) and housing conditions within First Nations communities and calling for urgent action from the federal government to address the significant gaps impacting First Nations.

The policing report highlights serious concerns with Public Safety Canada’s (PSC) management of the FNIPP. While First Nations were urgently requesting additional funds needed funds to continue to operate their police services, millions of dollars from PSC went unspent. The report also highlights inadequate services from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

“The Auditor General’s reports shed light on the urgent need for change in how First Nations policing and housing are handled,” said AFN National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak. “The FNIPP’s failure to meet our needs has had tragic consequences, as seen by the events at James Smith Cree Nation in 2022.”

“We once again call on the federal government to ensure the establishment of a First Nations-led policing model that respects our Inherent and Treaty rights, as affirmed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We expect First Nations to be fully involved in the development of any new legislation to ensure it recognizes First Nations’ jurisdiction over policing, ensures equitable funding, and acknowledges First Nations police services as essential.”

The housing report reveals significant gaps in the government’s allocation of funds and implementation of housing programs, leading to a critical shortage of safe and adequate housing. It is estimated that 55,320 new housing units and repairs to 80,650 existing units are necessary to address the housing needs of First Nations communities. The estimated cost to close the housing gap has tripled from $44 billion to $135 billion.

“The housing report reaffirms the housing crisis First Nations have been voicing for decades and the government’s inability to effectively address it. Adequate housing is a fundamental human right. Addressing our housing needs starts with a real partnership and recognition of our rights to self-determination. This begins by ensuring dedicated, long-term funding for First Nations in Federal Budget 2024. The Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu herself has again reminded us of the magnitude of the housing and related infrastructure gap in First Nations, which will only continue to grow until decisive investments are made. The full costs to close the gap are now well over $400 billion.”

“Public Safety Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation have failed First Nations,” said AFN National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak. “These reports provide a clear path forward for the changes urgently needed. I look forward to the Ministers working in partnership with First Nations to take meaningful action to address these challenges. This will ensure that the promises made to First Nations are not only upheld but lead to improvements in policing, housing, and infrastructure.”

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. 

Contact information:

Kelly Reid
Senior Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
(613) 292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]