Canada’s Response to the On-Reserve Housing Crisis: A Study of the Kelowna Accord




Housing shortages and poor quality housing are challenges for many of Canada’s First Nations living on-reserve. Adverse housing conditions are associated with negative health consequences.

The main aim of the study is to examine a seminal example of failed on-reserve housing policy, the Kelowna Accord, which occurred in November 2005.

John Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Model (MSM) is used to highlight key events and circumstances that led both to the initial prominence of the Accord on the government agenda and the ultimate failure to act on this Accord. Three streams of processes (problems, politics, and policies) described in MSM are analyzed to determine how participants influenced the Kelowna Accord’s place on the governmental agenda.

The Kelowna Accord was most influenced by MSM’s problems and politics streams. The change in social climate, increasing scorn for the Liberal party, and the introduction of a new party removed Aboriginal issues from the agenda.

Altering the presentation of the on-reserve housing problem may focus more attention on First Nations housing and facilitate policy change, leading to better health. Lessons from this analysis may be used to inform future advocacy for better policy in this area.

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