Housing conditions are recognized as a key determinant of health with effects across the lifespan. In 2011, 12.5% (1.55M) of Canadian households were in core housing need, with the most egregious housing-related inequities experienced by Indigenous Peoples.

Across Canada, access to adequate housing has been a social, ecological, and health problem in Indigenous communities in Canada, since the movement toward sedentary living. Investments in house construction in most Indigenous communities have never been adequate to the needs. Overcrowding and poor quality housing are still commonplace in many Indigenous communities, especially in the Arctic where the rapidly growing population and harsh climate are putting pressure on the housing stock.

Housing-related projects of the Place, Health and Well-being Research Group will improve our understanding of the health and well-being impacts of housing conditions, interventions, and policies for Inuit and First Nations populations. It will provide an evidence base of the highest quality for the implementation of social, housing, and land-use planning policies to create communities that are supportive for health.


1. Housing, health, and well-being across the Arctic: Regional, local, and family perspectives

Prof Riva and Prof Christopher Fletcher from Université Laval lead this population health intervention research project which brings together Inuit and Western epistemologies (ways of knowing) and methodologies (ways of doing) to assess the impacts of housing conditions on individual, family, and community health and well-being in Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut. This project was developed and is conducted in collaboration with Inuit housing and public health organizations, and academic researchers from various disciplines.

Partners: Nunavut Housing Corporation, Government of Nunavut Department of Health, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau, Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, Nunavik Nutrition and Health Committee, and Société d'Habitation du Québec.

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Population Health Intervention Research grant (2014-2016)
ArcticNet - a Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada (2015-2018)

Follow the project on Facebook


2. Housing and Indigenous peoples’ health: A knowledge synthesis of research and housing initiatives in support of practice, policy, and advocacy

This knowledge synthesis project will assess the state of the evidence linking housing conditions to health for Indigenous peoples and the range of housing interventions implemented in Indigenous communities in Canada and similar countries. This project is lead by Prof Riva, in collaboration with Prof Christopher Fletcher, Suzanne Bruneau head of the Aboriginal Health Unit at the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, decision makers from Indigenous public health and housing organizations, and national and international researchers. This project will provide decision makers and communities with information to support and inform decisions on housing and health issues in their regions.

Partners: CISSS de la Gaspésie, Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social ServicesKativik Municipal Housing Bureau, Governmment of Nunavut Department of Health, Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, Nunavut Housing Corporation.

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Project grant (2017-2019).


3. Housing, access to health care, education, and employment among First Nations living on- and off-reserve: moving evidence to policy

This project will conduct policy-amenable research on, and translation of research about, the links between housing conditions and access to health care, education, and employment for First Nations living on reserve in the province of Quebec, and in metropolitan areas across Canada (off-reserve). It will also examine indigenous housing policies implemented in Canada and elsewhere, and analysed for their applicability in the Montreal census metropolitan area.

Partners: First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission, Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, and Native Montreal.

Funding: Trottier Institute for Science and Public Policy, Faculty of Science, McGill University (2017-2019)


4. Habiter le nord québécois / Living in Northern Quebec

Prof Riva is a co-investigator to the SSHRC partnership Living in Northern Quebec lead by the School of Architecture at Université Laval. This project studies culturally appropriate design and sustainable development of communities in Innu and Inuit communities in northern Quebec. The project espouses a collaborative approach between holders of different forms of knowledge to widen perspectives and practices on how to best address housing design and the sustainable planning of communities. This project is funded by a Partnership grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2015-2020).