Off-Reserve Aboriginal Housing Resource Tool

Providing consistent, standardized information about Off-Reserve Aboriginal housing in British Columbia.

Housing Providers, Programs and Services

This section offers information about housing providers, programs and services, which are provided by Aboriginal organizations, the provincial government, the federal government and non-governmental agencies and organizations.

Aboriginal Housing Management Association

The Aboriginal Housing Management Association is:

  • A quasi-government entity that manages subsidized housing for Aboriginal housing providers; and,
  • A self-management housing organization that serves urban and rural Aboriginal people in BC.

Off-Reserve Aboriginal Housing Providers

There are several Aboriginal housing providers in British Columbia that provide a range of housing programs and services to Aboriginal people living off-reserve.

The following provides a comprehensive list of off-reserve Aboriginal housing providers in British Columbia (and web links where applicable) based on their geographical location. Please note that organizations have their own specific set of intake policies and criteria.

Lower Mainland

Vancouver Island



*Refer to the housing section of the Guide to Aboriginal Organizations and Services in British Columbia for detailed contact information.

All Nations Trust Company (ANTCO) - Individual Consumer Mortgages
All Nations Trust Company operates as an Aboriginal financial intermediary and provides the following services: development lending; trust and agent agreements; management/technical/financial advisory services. In particular, ANTCO offers Conventional and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) insured residential mortgages both on and off-reserve that are available for the construction/purchase of your new home or refinancing or renovations of your existing mortgage. On reserve mortgage financing requires Ministerial Loan Guarantee under Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) section 10 on reserve housing program.

BC Housing

The British Columbia Housing Management Commission (BC Housing) is a Provincial Crown agency. It was created in 1967 to fulfill the government's commitment to the development, management and administration of subsidized housing, as set out in the Shareholder’s Letter of Expectations. BC Housing’s vision is to ensure housing solutions for healthier futures and its mission is to create the best system of housing and support for vulnerable British Columbians.

Programs for the Homeless

  • Aboriginal Homelessness Outreach Program

    The Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program directly engages homeless Aboriginal people living on the streets and provides access to housing, income assistance, and community based support services to help break the cycle of homelessness.

  • Emergency Shelter Program

    The Emergency Shelter Program provides funding to homeless shelters and drop-in centres that help reconnect people who are homeless to housing and support services in addition to offering temporary shelter, food and other services.

  • Homeless Outreach Program

    Through the Homeless Outreach Program, BC Housing works in consultation with community-based agencies to reach out to individuals who find themselves homeless. This program is client-centred as it connects homeless people to housing, income assistance, and community-based social and health services in over 49 communities across British Columbia.

  • Provincial Homelessness Initiative

    Through the Provincial Homelessness Initiative, the Province allocates funding to developments that integrate subsidized housing with support services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, people with mental illnesses and physical disabilities, those with drug and alcohol addictions, Aboriginal peoples, youth, and women with children fleeing abusive relationships.

Transitional Housing

  • Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Hotels

    SRO hotels provide short-term or long-term accommodation in single rooms, typically without private bathrooms or kitchens.

  • Women’s Transition Houses

    BC Housing is responsible for Transition Houses, Safe Homes and Second Stage Housing and related support services for women and their dependent children fleeing violence.

Supportive Housing

  • Supportive Housing Registration Service

    The Supportive Housing Registration service offers a single point of access for applicants seeking low barrier supportive housing in the Province’s 24 Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels.

Housing for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

  • Independent Living BC

    Created in 2002, Independent Living BC (ILBC) serves seniors and people with disabilities who require some support, but do not need 24-hour institutional care. ILBC offers a middle option to bridge the gap between home care and residential care.

  • Seniors’ Rental Housing

    Through the Seniors' Rental Housing initiative, the Province is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to increase affordable housing and stimulate local economies by developing new affordable rental housing units for seniors and persons with disabilities in smaller communities across British Columbia.

  • Seniors’ Supportive Housing

    The Seniors’ Supportive Housing program provides specially modified rental units, in selected subsidized housing developments, primarily to low-income seniors who need some assistance in order to continue to live independently.

  • Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER)

    The SAFER program helps make rents affordable for BC seniors with low to moderate incomes. SAFER provides monthly cash payments to subsidize rents for eligible BC residents who are age 60 or over and who pay rent for their homes.

Subsidized / Social Housing

  • Aboriginal Housing Initiative

    Aboriginal Housing Initiative provides funding to develop new, affordable housing for Aboriginal people living off-reserve, meeting the long-term Aboriginal housing need.

  • Subsidized Housing

    Subsidized housing in British Columbia provides a range of housing options for people with low to moderate incomes, including seniors, people with mental or physical disabilities, individuals who are homeless or homeless at risk, women and children fleeing abuse, Aboriginal people, and low-income families.

Rental in the Private Market

  • Rental Assistance Program

    The Rental Assistance Program was launched in October 2006 as part of Housing Matters BC. The program provides eligible low-income, working families with cash assistance to help with their monthly rent payments.

Homeowner Protection Office

The mandate of the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) is to help bring about improvements in the quality of residential construction and increase consumer protection for new home buyers. The HPO is responsible for: licensing residential builders and building envelope renovators province-wide; administering owner builder authorizations; monitoring the performance of the third-party home warranty insurance system underwritten by the private sector; and carrying out research and education which benefits the residential construction industry and consumers.

Residential Tenancy Branch

The Residential Tenancy Branch provides landlords and tenants with information and dispute resolution services. The Residential Tenancy Branch is part of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, providing information on: (1) knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant; (2) how to resolve tenancy issues; (3) how to apply for dispute resolution; (4) completing the dispute resolution process.

Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation (CMHC)

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s national housing agency. CMHC provides mortgage loan insurance, mortgage-backed securities, housing policy and programs, and housing research.

Off-Reserve Programs and Financial Assistance
CMHC offers programs, financing techniques and information to meet the housing needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people off-reserve. Click here to access this information.

Financial assistance takes the form of forgivable loans or non-repayable contributions, and can be used to fund repairs, renovations, accessibility modifications, the creation of low-income rental units, and home adaptations. These programs are available for low-income households, seniors, and persons with disabilities.

On-Reserve Programs:
CMHC offers programs, innovative financing techniques, training tools and information to increase building capacity and address housing needs in First Nations communities.

Department Of Human Resources And Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) is a department of the Government of Canada. The mandate of HRSDC includes:

  • policy development;
  • programs and support initiatives that help Canadians move through life’s transitions;
  • providing service to Canadians through Service Canada and other partners; and
  • creating employee engagement and building leadership capacity.

Homeless Partnering Strategy - Aboriginal Communities
The Homelessness Partnering Strategy partners with Aboriginal groups to ensure that services meet the precise and unique needs of “off-reserve” homeless Aboriginal people in cities and rural areas.

Aboriginal communities are also eligible to apply for funding under the Designated and Outreach Communities Funding Streams.

Indian And Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) – On-Reserve Housing Only

INAC is one of the federal government departments responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and for fulfilling the federal government's constitutional responsibilities in the North. INAC's responsibilities are largely determined by numerous statutes, negotiated agreements and relevant legal decisions. Most of the Department's programs, representing a majority of its spending - are delivered through partnerships with Aboriginal communities and federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreements.

On-Reserve Programs

Non-Governmental Organizational

British Columbia Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA)
The BC Non-Profit Housing Association’s (BCNPHA) programs and services are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of non-profit housing providers. BCNPHA offers several educational programs and services including an annual conference, courses, workshops, special topic seminars and other educational services. BCNPHA also provides an array of resources including financial information, bulk purchasing programs, bulk insurance programs, templates and guides and many other resources. BCNPHA also conducts research and is involved in strategic planning and development of the non-profit housing sector in BC. BCNPHA creates strategic partnerships between the three levels of government, the private and the non-profit sectors to facilitate and increase the housing availability within BC.

Housing Related Training

Please refer to the post-secondary institution or training organization's website for the most current scheduling to ensure availability of training programs.

This section provides information about the Industry Training Authority (ITA), ITA Aboriginal Initiatives and various housing related training opportunities in British Columbia that fall within the following categories:

  • Aboriginal Trades Programs

    There are a variety of trades programs in British Columbia that are specifically designed for Aboriginal people. These programs are offered by Aboriginal training, public post-secondary and private training institutions. Refer to this training program table for more information about available programs.

  • Trades Training: Pre-Apprenticeship (Foundation) Programs

    Foundation trades training programs are pre-apprenticeship programs that provide trainees with the basic knowledge and skills needed for entry into a particular trade. They are typically conducted in a classroom or shop setting, and do not involve any significant work-based training component. As a result, trainees do not require an employer/sponsor to participate.

    These programs offer a linkage to one or more apprenticeship programs and may precede enrolment in a full apprenticeship. They result in an ITA certificate of completion in Foundation program and often also result in Level 1 credit towards apprenticeship training. Refer to this training program table for more information about available programs.

  • Trades Training: Apprenticeship Programs

    Trades training is delivered through an apprenticeship model which is a form of post-secondary education that combines paid, work-based training (about 85% of training), with technical training in a classroom or shop setting (about 15% of training). Successful completion of both components, along with examinations, is required to earn a certificate or ticket, and become a certified tradesperson.

    There are over forty public and private training institutions who receive ITA funding to offer the technical training component. Training requirements vary widely by trade, and can take two to five years to complete (the average length is four years).

    There are also a small number of programs offered specifically for Aboriginal students in housing-related trades such as residential building maintenance worker, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and exploratory trades programs. Refer to this training program table for more information about available programs.

  • Housing Management and Business Leadership Programs

    There are numerous business administration programs, ranging from certificate to masters programs, offered by post-secondary institutions across the province. While these programs typically do not provide courses specific to property management or the Aboriginal context, they do provide general business administration skills that could be transferred. There are also business leadership courses and programs specifically for Aboriginal students, and some training available related to non-profit housing management. Refer to this training program table for more information about available programs.

  • Other Programs

    There are several other housing-related training programs that have been included in this section that do not fall within any of the above categories. Refer to this training program table for more information about these programs.

Aboriginal Trainers Aboriginal Trades Programs Trades Training: Pre-Apprenticeship (Foundation) Programs Trades Training: Apprenticeship Programs Aboriginal Housing Management and Business Leadership Other Programs
Gitksan Wet'suwet'en Education Society Bridging to Trades        
Metis Skills and Employment Center Construction Orientation and Retention for Employment (CORE) Foundation Carpenter        
NEC Native Education College Trades Training        
Secwepemc Cultural Education Society Entry Level Carpentry (ELC)        
Access to Trades        
Residential Building Maintenance Worker        
Building Inspector        
Skeena Native Development Society         Trades Apprenticeship Partnership Program
Vancouver Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership Carpenter        
Cement Mason        
Heavy Equipment Operator        

Public Post Secondary Organizations and Institutions Aboriginal Trades Programs Trades Training: Pre-Apprenticeship (Foundation) Programs Trades Training: Apprenticeship Programs Aboriginal Housing Management and Business Leadership Other Programs
Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development     BladeRunners    
British Columbia Institute of Technology   Carpenter Carpenter    
  Electrician Electrician    
  Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technician      
  Plumber and Gasfitter Combined Plumber    
    Domestic / Commercial Gasfitter    
    Geothermal & Heating Technician    
  Joiner Joiner    
    Residential Construction Framing Technician    
  Sheet Metal Worker Sheet Metal Worker    
        Trades Discovery for Women Certificate
        Trades Discovery General Associate Certificate
Camosun College   Carpenter Carpenter    
  Electrician Electrician    
  Joiner Joiner    
  Plumber Plumber    
    Domestic / Commercial Gasfitter    
    Residential Building Maintenance Worker    
    Residential Construction Framing Technician    
  Sheet Metal Worker Sheet Metal Worker    
      Business Administration Diploma: Chinook Option  
      Indigenous Business Leadership  
Capilano University     Residential Building Maintenance Worker    
      Applied Business Technology Certificate - Ch'nook Foundation  
      Business Administration Diploma: Chinook Option  
College of New Caledonia   Carpenter Carpenter    
  Electrician Electrician    
  Plumber Plumber    
      Chinook Diploma (Business)  
        Career Technical Centre
    Residential Building Maintenance Worker    
    Residential Construction Framing Technician    
College of the Rockies       Aboriginal Financial Management  
  Carpenter Carpenter    
  Plumber Plumber    
  Electrician Electrician    
    Floor Covering Installer    
        Timber Framing
Douglas College         Building Environmental Systems
    Road Builder & Heavy Construction (Heavy Equipment Operator)    
Justice Institute of BC       Aboriginal Leadership Certificate / Diploma  
      Customized Training for Aboriginal Communities  
Kwantlen Polytechnic University   Carpenter Carpenter    
  Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning      
  Bricklayer (Mason)      
  Plumber Plumber    
  Electrician Electrician    
    Residential Building Maintenance Worker    
    Floor Covering Installer    
Langara College       Chinook Diploma (Business)  
        Applied Urban and Rural Planning Diploma
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology       Aboriginal Community Economic Development Certificate / Diploma  
      Business Administration Certificate  
      Business Administration  Diploma  
      First Nations Public Administration Certificate / Diploma  
Bridging to Trades - Mobile Training Unit        
North Island College     Residential Building Maintenance Worker    
  Bricklayer (Mason)      
  Electrician Electrician    
  Domestic / Commercial Gasfitter      
  Road Builder & Heavy Construction (Heavy Equipment Operator)      
Northern Lights College   Domestic / Commercial Gasfitter      
  Plumber Plumber    
  Carpenter Carpenter    
  Electrician Electrician    
Northwest Community College   Carpenter Carpenter    
  Electrician Electrician    
  Road Builder & Heavy Construction (Heavy Equipment Operator) Heavy Equipment Operator    
    Logbuilder   Timber Frame Craftsman
    Residential Building Maintenance Worker    
        Construction Certificate
        Registered Housing Professional (RHP) Courses
        Workforce and Industry Training Courses
Okanagan College   Carpenter Carpenter    
  Domestic / Commercial Gasfitter      
  Plumber Plumber    
  Electrician Electrician    
    Residential Construction Framing Technician    
Selkirk College   Bricklayer (Mason)      
  Carpenter Carpenter    
  Electrician Electrician    
  Plumber Plumber    
Thompson Rivers University         Construction Orientation and Retention for Employment (CORE)
    Certified Heating Technician (Hydronics)    
    Domestic/ Commercial Gas Fitter    
  Carpenter Carpenter    
  Electrician Electrician    
  Plumber Plumber    
University of Northern British Columbia       Certificate in Aboriginal Community Resource Planning  
      Certificate in First Nations Public Administration  
University of the Fraser Valley   Domestic / Commercial Gasfitter      
  Electrician Electrician    
  Carpenter Carpenter    
    Residential Construction Framing Technician    
Vancouver Island University Aboriginal Construction Certificate        
British Columbia First Nations Building Inspector        
    Residential Building Maintenance Worker    

Note: Housing-related Foundation and Apprenticeship training programs listed here are those programs for which the Residential Construction ITO is accountable for the standards and outcomes, except for Domestic / Commercial Gasfitter and Heavy Equipment Operator.

Private Trainers Aboriginal Trades Programs Trades Training: Pre-Apprenticeship (Foundation) Programs Trades Training: Apprenticeship Programs Aboriginal Housing Management and Business Leadership Other Programs
BC Floor Covering Joint Conference Society     Floor Covering Installer    
BC Wall and Ceiling Association     Drywall Finisher    
    Wall and Ceiling Installer    
Christian Labour Association of Canada   Road Builder & Heavy Construction (Heavy Equipment Operator) Heavy Equipment Operator    
Discovery Community College Electrical Joint Training Committee     Residential Construction Framing Technician    
Finishing Trades Institute of BC (D.C. 38 Joint Trade Society)     Drywall Finisher    
    Painter and Decorator    
    Wall and Ceiling Installer    
Nechako Northcoast Construction     Heavy Equipment Operator    
Operating Engineers Training Institute Ltd.   Road Builder & Heavy Construction (Heavy Equipment Operator) Heavy Equipment Operator    
Pacific Vocational College     Domestic / Commercial Gasfitter    
Piping Industry Apprenticeship Board   Plumber      
Roofing Contractors Association of British Columbia     Architectural Sheet Metal Worker    
    Residential Steep Roofer    
Sheet Metal Workers Training Centre     Sheet Metal Worker    
Southern Interior Construction Association   Road Builder & Heavy Construction (Heavy Equipment Operator)      
Sprott Shaw Community College     Electrician    
    Residential Construction Framing Technician    
Trowel Trades Training Association     Bricklayer (Mason)    
    Concrete Finisher    
Vancouver Career College   Electrician      

Industry Training Authority (ITA)
The Industry Training Authority (ITA) is the organization responsible for managing the trades training and certification system in B.C. The ITA provides services for employers, training participants, and those who wish to pursue certification on the basis of their existing skills. The ITA funds pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship technical training, for designated trades, at public post-secondary and private training institutions.

ITA Aboriginal Initiatives
Through the Labour Market Agreement, the ITA also offers a number of trades training opportunities for Aboriginal people who meet the eligibility criteria.  For the most current information regarding these opportunities refer to the ITA website.

Building and Safety Information

This section contains important building and home safety information that everyone should be aware of. More specifically, you will find information about:

  • Building and Safety Standards Branch

    The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Building and Safety Standards Branch is responsible for regulating safety in the design, construction and occupancy of buildings. The branch works to balance the safety, economic and social concerns in building regulation for all British Columbians.

    Core Activities Of The Branch

    • Governance of aspects of the building regulatory system;
    • Stewardship of the development and application of the BC Building Code;
    • Management of the administrative agreements with delegated authorities under the Safety Standards Act;
    • Acting as secretariat to the Building Code Appeal Board, the Province of British Columbia's building code dispute resolution board;
    • Working with the Homeowner Protection Office to strengthen consumer protection for buyers of new homes under the Homeowner Protection Act;
    • Liaising with the BC Safety Authority created under the Safety Authority Act; and
    • Promoting and facilitating British Columbia's interests in national standards while working with stakeholders to balance safety, economic and social priorities

    More Information About The Building and Safety Standards Branch

    Appeal Mechanisms

    • The Building Code Appeal Board hears appeals about a dispute or disagreement between an Authority Having Jurisdiction (Building Official) and an owner or his agent (designer, builder, etc.) over interpretation or application of the B.C. Building Code;
    • The Safety Standards Appeal Board hears appeals from decisions of the registrar appointed under section 7 of the Homeowner Protection Act. These decisions relate to residential builders licenses and owner builder authorizations regulated by the Act and its associated regulations. The Safety Standards Appeal Board also hears appeals from decisions of safety officers and safety managers appointed under sections 11 and 12 of the Safety Standards Act. These decisions apply to work and products regulated by the Act and its associated regulations, including adopted codes and standards.

    BC Building Code Inquiries

    • If you have a BC Building Code inquiry, click here.
  • Provincial Emergency Program

    The Provincial Emergency Program / Emergency Management BC enhances public safety and reduces property and economic loss from actual or imminent emergencies or disaster through integrated emergency mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery based on proven practices for enhanced public safety.

  • BC Office of the Fire Commissioner

    The Office of the Fire Commissioner is the senior fire authority in the province with respect to fire safety and prevention. Services include administration and enforcement of fire safety legislation, training of local assistants to the fire commissioner, fire loss statistics collection, fire investigation, fire inspection, response to major fire emergencies, advice to local governments on delivery of fire protection services, public fire safety education and fire fighter certification.

  • Home Inspections

    Attached are useful links regarding home inspections:

    • Consumer Protection BC - Consumer Protection BC is responsible for licensing and administering BC's Home Inspector regulations. Click here for consumer information.
    • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) - CMHC provides mortgage loan insurance, mortgage-backed securities, housing policy and programs, and housing research. For more information, including information on hiring a home inspector, click here.
    • Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors of British Columbia (CAHPIBC) - The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors of BC (CAHPIBC) is a branch of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors. The organization serves the public and its members with support services and resources essential to the practice of professional home inspections.

Green Programs Information

This section provides information about green programs and initiatives linked to housing that are offered by various provincial, national and international organizations.

  • BC Hydro – Power Smart

    The Power Smart program offers tips and information for homeowners on how to reduce their home’s energy consumption, energy costs (monetary), and impact on the environment. The information provided also includes low cost and no-cost tips, as well as information on rebates and incentives for “greening one’s home”.

  • Built Green Canada

    Built Green is an industry driven voluntary program that promotes "green" building practices to reduce the impact that building has on the environment. It benefits the homebuyer, the community and the environment and is an opportunity for everyone to choose a "green" future.

  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation [Equilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative]

    EQuilibrium™ is a national Sustainable Housing Demonstration initiative, led by CMHC that brings the private and public sectors together to develop homes that combine resource- and energy-efficient technologies with renewable energy technologies in order to reduce their environmental impact.

  • Cascadia Region Green Building Council

    Cascadia helps the U.S. and Canada Green Building Councils meet their goals in the Pacific Northwest, which are focused on becoming leading force in green building by forging alliances with organizations that have a stake in the future of this region.

  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™

    The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. It provides building owners and operators with the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on a building's performance.

  • LiveSmart BC

    The LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive program offers incentives and information to help homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The first step to become eligible for these incentives is to have an energy efficiency evaluation of your home by a certified energy advisor.

Agencies and Organizations

Provincial organizations involved in Housing

What Other Provinces Are Doing






Nova Scotia

New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island


Federal organizations involved in Housing and/or working with urban Aboriginal people