Addressing the ongoing need for access to safe, equitable and modern infrastructure for First Nations.

Our Work We work to close the infrastructure gap for First Nations communities.

Unlike most Canadian towns and cities, many First Nations communities lack modern and acceptable roads, plumbing, clean water, and housing infrastructure. There has been little movement toward improving these conditions for decades, causing serious physical, health and social issues for First Nations people. The AFN’s Infrastructure sector promotes access to safe drinking water and quality infrastructure rooted in the needs and aspirations of First Nations.

There is currently $4.8 billion worth of federally funded assets on-reserve that are rated as in "poor condition."

These present a danger to communities and are a federal liability in need of either immediate repair or replacement.

As of July 25, 2022, there were still 31 long-term and 14 short-term drinking water advisories in effect.

Limited access to water is an ongoing issue for many on-reserve communities across Canada.

Initiatives & Priorities The policy areas, initiatives and committees driving changes in infrastructure for First Nations.

Operations and Maintenance Policy Framework

The AFN Infrastructure Sector is committed to working with First Nations and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to identify options for the implementation of a new O&M Policy Framework and formula that will reflect new infrastructure technologies as well as economic and environmental factors that will contribute to addressing the socio-economic gap in First Nations.

The current funding formulas and cost indices as identified in ISC Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Policy are outdated, inadequate and do not provide sufficient funding for First Nations to protect and prolong the life of their community assets.

Asset Management

Most First Nations have no asset management systems in place to better plan for their short- and long-term infrastructure needs. These factors have caused the true capital and operations costs of existing and needed infrastructure assets to be unknown to both First Nations and ISC.

The federal government must deliver on their commitments by providing First Nations autonomy and self-governance to administer and manage a comprehensive and valuable infrastructure asset portfolio. Sustainable operations and maintenance funding is also absent, which has resulted in an inability for First Nations to implement a First Nations-led asset management framework.

First Nations Water Commission

Building on the last four years of work since 2018 dedicated to the repeal and replacement legislation for the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act (SDWFNA) the AFN and federal partners have entered the next phase of this project.

The Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG) made up of AFN and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) representatives and other federal partners have been moving forward to co-develop the draft framework for new legislation and the framework for a First Nations Water Commission.

The Class Action Lawsuit settlement agreement committed the Federal government to introduce replacement legislation by December 31, 2022. It is hoped that during the 2022-2023 fiscal year, Canada will commit to true consultation on a draft replacement legislation and accommodate First Nations to provide meaningful input supported by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Documents The latest resources on this topic.

View All 24 Documentsarrow_forward
These are our latest reports, resolutions and other documents on the subject of Infrastructure. To see more documents on this topic, and all other public AFN documents, visit the Document Library.

The Assembly of First Nations is committed to making all our digital sites and products accessible for people living with disabilities. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone while applying relevant accessibility standards: we strive to meet or exceed the W3C’s WCAG 2.1 Level AA for all our digital offerings.

Latest News

View All

Sign up for our Newsletter

Get the latest updates from the AFN in your inbox.

Contact Us

Reach out to the Assembly of First Nations

Assembly of First Nations
50 O’Connor Street, Suite 200
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6L2

Map & Directions

Tel: +1 (613) 241-6789
Toll-free: +1 (866) 869-6789

Fax: +1 (613) 241-5808

To top