Making Houses Homes

The 12th Annual First Nations Northern Housing Conference took place on February 11, 12 & 13, 2014 at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The First Nations Northern Housing Conference Working Group would like to thank our generous funders and sponsors for their continued support, and the speakers and tradeshow exhibitors for sharing their knowledge and expertise. Most importantly, we would like to thank the delegates for coming from across Ontario and Canada to join us. Your participation is the reason this conference has been such a resounding success for so many years.


Constance Lake First Nation

Constance Lake First Nation began a new housing program in the late 1990’s and built 10 houses in the inaugural year of the program. They continue to build new houses almost every year, including a Senior’s Complex with 10 apartments, a 5-plex for single tenants and a 6-unit row housing project.

The First Nation is the main contractor and they sub-contract tasks such as, plumbing, heating, electrical, and foundation work. The remainder of the required labour to construct the homes comes from the community. One of the goals of the housing program is also to develop the skills of community members to ensure the future of the housing program and maintenance of the newly constructed homes.

Batchewana First Nation

A successful housing program is about empowering community members with ownership and pride. The First Nation realizes if an individual is to receive a home they should have some say in the building process. Each new home owner is given the opportunity to choose from different floor plans. By offering these options, the individual is able to make personal choices and becomes invested in the home.

In Batchewana, a new homeowner is expected to participate in a Home Maintenance Workshop. Where they are instructed on how the house works, as well as how the furnace, water heater, sump pump, stove, and fridge are maintained. They are also instructed on seasonal maintenance for equipment and home maintenance, easy care tips, preventable maintenance to enhance their knowledge as a new Home Owner.



The Builders Challenge event was once again hosted by TV and Radio personality and all ’round handyman Jon Eakes. The challenge consists of 4 demonstrations and competitions detailing proper techniques for building Stairs.

These demonstrations taught delegates:

  • to build the plumbing drain, waste and vent (DWV) system making sure the stack is ready to receive each of the various drains and fittings;
  • to install the various plumbing fixtures and connect their drains and vents back to the main plumbing vent stack;
  • how to properly use and install PEX style supply piping and its various fittings, valves, etc.;
  • and to properly seal the poly at these penetrations to ensure the continuity of the air and vapour barriers.


Can’t remember that one detail? Watch all the Conference sessions again and again!

The Web-Cast Live allows you to watch each session and workshop from the comfort of your own space via the On-Demand videos! Whether you’re refreshing your memory of watching it for the first time, the On-Demand videos will be a resource for you.