Canada is undergoing a national crisis on its aboriginal reserves. The crisis involves the shortage, overcrowding as well as ramshackle homes in the many reserves of Canada. Several factors have led to this condition being faced, and the government is trying to look into the issue. It has set up some policies with the hope of tackling the issue. The formulation of policies to solve inherent issues has led to a major reduction in the problems faced by the aboriginal people (Wiles, 2008).
Housing shortages and poor living conditions in native reserves is the crisis being experienced in Canada. This has led to a significant increase in homelessness among people in the reserves. A native community on James Bay in northern Ontaria, known as Attawapiskat, experienced a housing crisis that got hold of the nation’s news (Thomson, 2008). It highlighted the various challenges been undergone by Canada’s First Nation reserves. The news, revealed residents living in makeshift tents and shacks. The housing report found out that more than 80 houses needed major repairs. Lack of clean water and use of buckets for toilets was observed. Up to three generation of families were noted to be living under the same roof. This means many people sharing rooms, a condition not fit for healthy human living due to congestion. Drainage issues were also highlighted in the news, as the number of people within the reserves has dramatically increased over the years (Stastna, 2011).
Many factors led to the housing crisis. Real estate agents are a major cause. Agents and brokers, working for title officers and appraisers, were at front line in their jobs. They earned commission by getting lenders to be in touch with buyers. As a result, many risky loans, as they thought that the estate prices would never fall. Currently, agents and brokers involved in that business have no income, nor commission, caused by directing people to homes they could not afford.
Lenders were another cause of the crisis. Brokers lent money to unqualified applicants, from banks. These brokers would earn commission as a result. In the process of lending money, these brokers came up with risky mortgages and options like optional-payment of loans. Many people therefore opted for this, and with no means of payment, the lenders were held responsible. These lenders have hence been paying for such huge amount of money and hence the cause for their poor housing.
As a response, various policies have been put forth to address this issue. They include, 30 years, instead of 35, as a maximum period for mortgage amortization, 85%,instead of 90%, of the value of homes set to refinance mortgages and government insured backing on lines of credit secured by homes were withdrawn.
We need to be aware of the fact that a state of emergency was declared by Chief Theresa Spense of Attawapiskat. She told the government to intervene and evacuate the residents from such terrible living conditions. However, the government declined her cry and this has led negative living conditions for the people living in the reserves.
De Beers, a company that extracts large amounts of carats per year decided to give a disclosed amount of money to Attwapiskat. Theresa insisted that the money directly goes to a trust fund for housing. Their negotiations, which seem to be getting nowhere, are still on.
Stastna, S. (2011). Shacks and slop pails: infrastructure crisis on native reserves. London: Oxford Publishers.
Thomson, N. (2008). The Criminal Event: An Introduction to Criminology in Canada. Toronto: Barns Publishers.
Wiles, R. (2008). The Housing Crisis: How we got here. Toronto: Arizon Pub.