Sol Mamakwa MPP, Kiiwetinoong

Government of Ontario

Ford failed to take action on First Nations housing conditions hurting children’s health

Published on January 24, 2022

TREATY 3 TERRITORY – Doug Ford should have acted years ago to fix the housing conditions in First Nations communities outlined in a new study that shows poor housing conditions are hurting the health of First Nations children, said MPP Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong), the NDP’s critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations.

“I want to thank Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the researchers for their work on this study that has found and quantified what First Nations have been saying all along: poor housing conditions are making our children sick,” said Mamakwa.

“Since being elected MPP, I have been telling Doug Ford and this government to take action on fixing the housing crisis in First Nations communities. Jurisdictional ping-pong should never be an excuse for inaction when it comes to protecting the health of First Nations children affected by poor housing. Some of our elders have even died because of the mould. Doug Ford never acted, passing on the responsibility to the federal government.”

The study released Monday examined four First Nations communities in the Sioux Lookout region, and provides real evidence of how poor housing conditions that include high levels of mould and bacteria are affecting the health of First Nations children who have elevated rates of respiratory illness.

The majority of houses studied where 98 children three and under live have no controlled ventilation, damaged windows, many have water penetration in the exterior walls, and some had immediate safety issues. Overcrowded and substandard housing conditions can also lead to fires, such as the recent tragic fire in Sandy Lake that resulted in the fatalities of three children.

“Governments must take this study as an alarm bell, and finally take action to prevent our children from getting sick and being hospitalized and our elders from dying,” said Mamakwa. “While Doug Ford and the Conservatives refused to take action to help First Nation children, an NDP government will prioritize community-led housing solutions in First Nations.”