Courses & Learning Objectives
There are five courses in the First Nations Housing Professionals Program. After successful completion, students take the National Professional Examination and gain 2 years of practical experience before being presented to the board for certification.
The National Competency Standards have been used to develop the certification criteria and five courses. The following information outlines each course, the topics for each lesson, and the related learning objectives.
Lesson 1 - History and Legislation
- understand the history, structure and legislation pertaining to First Nations housing services;
- understand how legislation and laws influence housing policy and planning;
- understand methods for implementing housing policy within the framework of the law, including housing regulations and standards, community development processes and plans, and other implementation techniques; and,
- be able to identify and utilize First Nations community support structures in the provision of housing.
Lesson 2 - Programs and Funding
- understand different housing programs and funding available to a community;
- identify the true cost of housing programs and services;
- develop, model, and implement a payment regime for housing programs and services;
- understand the financial and housing portfolio aspects of charging for housing programs and services; and,
- understand the benefits and risks of charging and collecting for housing programs and services, including the points to consider before charging and collecting for housing programs and services.
Lesson 3 - Cultural Considerations
- understand the traditional and community role of decision-making at the individual, family, and community level;
- utilize the understanding of community and family histories and decision-making to engage in housing planning and provide related services;
- understand and be able to incorporate First Nations perspectives in the provision of housing and related programs;
- understand protocols with respect to approaching the Chief and Council and Elders;
- understand the limitations of one’s own knowledge and accept and incorporate new ways of respecting and understanding with regard to First Nations housing needs and requirements;
- incorporate traditional approaches and protocols as instructed by community (e.g. Elder);
- understand First Nations teachings of trust, respect, honour, honesty, humility, courage and know how to apply them when interacting with others; and,
- apply culturally appropriate approaches when engaging with your community.
Lesson 4 - Current Developments and Issues
- understand challenging conditions that may be encountered in a First Nations community and why they continue to persist;
- understand the housing issues that relate to various stakeholders within a First Nations community;
- understand and be able to assess housing and infrastructure issues; and,
- consider preventative and reactive methods of addressing housing issues and identifying promising practices.
Lesson 5 - Key Elements of Housing Construction
- understand housing construction and renovation standards and best practices, including the elements of housing construction and safety;
- understand material and labour costs;
- understand fundamental heating, mechanical and electrical systems;
- understand basic landscaping principles and issues;
- understand basic environmental implications as they pertain to housing and sound environmental business practices;
- understand the requirements of applicable building codes and knowledge of various levels of inspection;
- interpret drafting and blueprint documents; and,
- participate in construction coordination, scheduling and contract administration.
Lesson 6 – Housing Infrastructure
- understand housing infrastructure and its importance;
- understand different housing and infrastructure options;
- understand land survey methods, applications and processes;
- apply the components of property management; and,
- inventory housing and infrastructure assets.
Lesson 7 – Housing Governance
- understand the process and structure of governance in First Nations, along with the legal, functional, and political roles and responsibilities of the Chief and Council;
- understand the relationships between Chief and Council, community members and staff;
- understand the stakeholder relationships that exist between Council and Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments and agencies, and how they may impact housing management;
- explore how effective housing governance may be structured, including composition and functions; and,
- understand the key roles and responsibilities assigned to those responsible for housing services governance.
Lesson 1 – Role of the Housing Manager
- understand the role of the housing professional in relation to other stakeholders;
- ensure the housing professional’s role, as defined by a job description, is understood by other stakeholders;
- understand strategies required for working with Chief and Council, the housing governing authority and/or the assigned housing councillor;
- understand how to support an effective relationship between governance and management;
- assess your current efforts at working with others and how improvements can be made;
- establish and work with desirable structures and policies and practices to support the development and delivery of housing programs; and,
- understand the housing professional’s role related to knowledge-based decision-making in setting strategic direction, monitoring progress, evaluating results and making improvements.
Lesson 2 – Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
- understand the basic steps in decision-making and problem-solving;
- know how to identify and evaluate options and alternatives with scenario planning;
- know the components of a business case and its value in a housing context in decision- making;
- develop and use a business case for decision-making;
- understand risk and its importance in decision-making; and,
- assess problem-solving and decision-making activities and recommend improvements.
Lesson 3 – Plans, Strategy Formulation
- understand the value and critical elements of a strategic plan;
- understand the importance of developing and maintaining a strategy formulation process;
- incorporate and integrate key components of strategic planning such as vision and mission statement development, SWOT analysis, issue identification, strategy development, implementation and innovation in the strategic planning process;
- involve staff and relevant stakeholders in the strategic planning process;
- develop a strategic plan to set direction for the operational plan; and,
- assess your own or other First Nation organization’s orientation toward strategy formulation and identify opportunities for improvement.
Lesson 4 – Plans, Strategy Implementation
- understand how an operational plan drives implementation of strategy;
- understand the critical elements of an operational plan and what information and decision-making support is required;
- understand how performance indicators and policy support strategy implementation;
- establish an operational plan to carry out strategy;
- develop monitoring and reporting practices to support the operational plan;
- develop business cases, as required, to support implementation of the operational plan; and,
- link the operational plans to individual staff or teamwork plans and performance reviews.
Lesson 5 – Plans, Strategy Evaluation
- understand the connection between strategy formulation, implementation and evaluation;
- understand the importance of evaluating strategy;
- understand processes to support the evaluation of strategy;
- identify what should be evaluated by whom and when; and,
- evaluate strategy and know how to report your findings with community and other relevant stakeholders.
Lesson 6 – Accountability and Performance Management
- understand what accountability is and its importance to your organization;
- understand how accountability relates to plans;
- know the different types of accountability, the elements of accountability and the accountability cycle;
- demonstrate an understanding of accountability concepts and practices, and the role of stakeholders involved in housing;
- identify, communicate and implement accountability requirements and deal with accountability problems;
- understand what performance management is and its importance to high performance organizations;
- understand how performance management relates to the measurement of planned programs, activities and people;
- develop acceptable evaluation criteria for performance management;
- capture performance management activity in reports; and,
- apply performance management policies and practices.
Lesson 7 – Policies
- understand what policies are and their importance to your housing programs and community;
- understand how policies relate to strategies and the implementation of operational decisions;
- understand how staff, committee, board, council policy motions, resolutions and by-laws are developed and implemented;
- provide advice on business, alternative policy issues and compliance issues on housing matters, as required;
- develop and recommend policy options with supporting analysis as appropriate; and,
- establish policies and practices to support housing activities.
Lesson 1 – Development of Programs and Projects
- understand successful approaches that have been implemented to address the housing needs of First Nations peoples, locally, regionally or nationally;
- understand the value of research and community-identified needs in housing planning;
- understand how to gather, analyze and apply research principles and information;
- explain to community and leadership about the value and process of collecting community housing data;
- use the information from engagement and needs activities to support program development and improve communications;
- understand the key activities of developing programs or projects;
- undertake community assessments and asset mapping;
- collect, analyze and apply information including data, concepts and theories, consider housing and infrastructure options, and make evidence-based decisions;
- apply the components and concepts of property management and land tenure in developing programs and projects;
- facilitate others to apply the mission and strategic priorities in developing a program or project;
- develop a program or project with goals, deliverables, timelines and budgets while maximizing available resources; and,
- understand how and when to use registered professional advice (legal, architects, engineers, environmental specialists).
Lesson 2 – Funding and Project Proposals
- understand your organization’s protocols regarding funding proposals, such as who needs to be informed, who is involved in the proposal, who approves them, and who monitors the results;
- understand how to identify the scope of a housing proposal project, including different housing and infrastructure options and the criteria or conditions to be used for a housing proposal project;
- understand how to interpret community profile and historical demographic data and apply to proposals;
- understand environmental impact and energy opportunities for housing proposals and other considerations that may impact a proposal;
- identify potential sources of revenue for program development, both governmental and non-governmental;
- understand how to access those sources of revenue through partnerships, sponsorships and other forms of relationships;
- demonstrate an understanding of funding criteria and steps required to submit a proposal to stakeholder parties;
- apply technical and general writing skills as they relate to program and project proposals, and prepare a clearly written proposal, interim and final reports;
- understand environmental impact and energy opportunities for housing proposals and other considerations that may impact a proposal; and,
- negotiate and manage funding arrangements with a financial partner.
Lesson 3 – Program and Project Management
- understand and be able to apply the concepts underlying managing programs and projects;
- initiate a process for the development and implementation of specific policies and processes to support programs and projects;
- understand successful practices for acquisition and application of facilities, equipment and services;
- develop and provide relevant and accurate reports on housing program and projects;
- conduct a program review and make recommendations for improvement;
- develop an applicable housing manual to support program management and projects;
- demonstrate an understanding of leasing processes and requirements;
- demonstrate an understanding of the function of private financial institutions and their role in the provision of housing;
- facilitate the systems required for processing applications and loans;
- understand the principles behind client leases, along with the requirements precedent to a legal document;
- develop, maintain and implement a rent and mortgage collections policy, and an arrears and eviction policy;
- understand the protocols required for victims of violence; and,
- understand the roles required arising from emergency measures protocols and manuals.
Lesson 4 - Tenders and Project Management
- review and understand basic terminology associated with tenders;
- understand the fundamental components of the tendering process, including the types of contracts, tendering problems and insurance requirements;
- set up, monitor and manage service contracts;
- set up a tendering document, including the tender selection process, contracting guidelines and the contract award process;
- understand basic terminology associated with contract administration;
- understand the construction and contract management process including different types of contracts and agreements;
- use problem solving methods for contract management;
- understand the construction completion process;
- understand basic terminology associated with project management;
- understand the fundamental components of project management, including terms associated with project management, the key areas of project management, and basic project management practices;
- understand the role of a project manager in construction management;
- use the tools available in project management;
- understand the five phases of construction project management;
- develop a project charter and communication plan;
- prepare a tendering document and risk management plan; and,
- prepare resource and cost tracking data.
Lesson 5 – Housing Maintenance
- review and understand basic terminology associated with housing maintenance;
- learn the philosophies, principles and strategies of basic maintenance management;
- understand the need to develop good maintenance management practices;
- understand what a Maintenance Management System is;
- know the different maintenance strategies that can be used for your housing;
- understand the different types of maintenance programs for housing;
- identify the top reasons why your maintenance plan may not be working;
- define your maintenance priorities;
- know how to schedule when you should complete maintenance needs;
- review the different types of inspections that can be used for your housing programs;
- understand how to schedule inspections and the importance of quality data gathering;
- learn how to budget for housing maintenance; and,
- develop a basic Capital Replacement Plan.
Lesson 6 – Working with Clients
- understand the different types of clients, issues related to client relations, and practices necessary to maintain good client relations;
- evaluate current client relations efforts, and develop, implement and manage a client relations program;
- develop and implement a client onboarding/orientation process;
- deal with general enquiries in a professional manner;
- report on client relations compliance, appeals and identification of improvement opportunities for the program and its policies;
- understand how conflict can be constructive as long as it is managed effectively, directly and quickly, and how to deal with difficult situations;
- understand processes to deal with disputes arising from managing the housing program;
- develop and implement a dispute resolution mechanism;
- follow guidelines and steps to prevent conflict and deal with conflict between clients and within a team; and,
- use tools to understand difficult situations and take positive steps to reducing conflict.
Lesson 7 – Program Evaluation, Reporting and Communications
- review and understand terminology associated with program evaluation, reporting and communications;
- understand the role of evaluation in the administration and delivery of programs and projects;
- know the requirements (from funders, community, leadership, etc.) for evaluation of your programs and projects;
- conduct an evaluation, and where necessary engage evaluation consultants to achieve effective evaluation results;
- integrate evaluation results to improve ongoing housing programming;
- communicate evaluation results linked to plans to different audiences (funders, community members, leaders, etc.);
- identify and undertake compliance activities to meet special reporting requirements;
- understand the role that effective communication plays as part of delivering your housing programming;
- understand the different approaches that are effective with different target audiences and what communications mediums to use;
- evaluate current member communications and stakeholder efforts and develop a plan for improvement; and,
- develop a communications strategy and implement a range of communications activities for various stakeholders.
Lesson 1 – Human Resources
- understand how human resources requirements relate to plans;
- understand relevant labour law and employment practices and the importance of documentation;
- assess workloads, develop HR plans, and salary scales;
- handle a recruitment, orientation, retention and termination processes;
- handle the performance evaluation process and determine learning requirements;
- train and supervise staff and helping boards and committees achieve approved plans; and,
- develop, monitor, update and enforce human resource policies and procedures.
Lesson 2 – Financial and Management Accounting
- understand the role and importance of financial and management accounting for a housing program;
- understand basic knowledge of accounting concepts, principles and standards and the value of having sound fiscal practices and controls;
- understand budgets, transactions and accruals, financial statements, balance sheets, valuation of capital assets, audits and other financial activities;
- understand what financial software can do to support housing transactions;
- prepare a budget, revenue and expenditure statement, cash flow statement, and special reports for costing of services and developing funding proposals;
- use financial information to support efficient and effective planning, decision-making and reporting;
- work with unique financial reporting requirements needed to adhere to program and project funding arrangements; and,
- evaluate financial and management accounting efforts, recognize variances and identify opportunities for improvement.
Lesson 3 – Information and Technology
- review and understand basic terminology associated with information and technology;
- develop and enforce appropriate information storage, management systems and related polices;
- develop and regularly review policies for information retention and preservation/destruction of files;
- ensure that information management protocols are part of the orientation process for new employees;
- understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality and privacy principles where appropriate as it relates to communications, data entry and storage, and records/document management;
- follow the legal requirements for ensuring privacy and confidentiality of client information; and,
- use appropriate computers to complete work and make informed decisions and keep current on housing related technological applications.
Lesson 4 – Housing and Systems
- review and understand terminology associated with Housing & Systems;
- understand the fundamental elements of corporate information systems;
- understand the role of basic IT components in a CBIS;
- understand the difference between General Purpose software and Application
- understand different IT software applications and reporting systems to manage, monitor
and report on Housing programs and activities;
- be able to evaluate & assess software programs and their effectiveness;
- understand the uses for and differences between Geographic Information Systems
(GIS) vs Global Positioning Systems (GPS);
- understand how GIS and GPS systems work; and,
- be able to complete basic activities in applying GIS systems to housing and infrastructure
Lesson 5 – Legal
- understand provincial, federal and First Nation labour and occupational health and safety and other legislation and implications for housing programs;
- understand the issues and legal background surrounding matrimonial property rights, wills and estates;
- communicate to community members their rights, responsibilities and roles in terms of housing programs;
- understand the principles behind client leases, along with the requirements precedent to a legal document; and,
- understand the role and use of contracts and manage contractual arrangements.
Lesson 6 – Quality, Benchmarking, and Risk
- identify quality improvement indicators for your housing activities;
- apply quality principles, objectives, and indicators to enhance your planning, program and projects development and delivery and share this information with others;
- understand the concept of benchmarking and know how it can be used to measure the effectiveness of an organization's programs and make improvements where necessary;
- understand the concept of best practices and be able to integrate them into your organization’s processes;
- through benchmarking, best practices and innovation, be able to bring improvements to your organization;
- understand the principles of risk management and how to conduct a risk assessment; and,
- understand the importance of risk management activities to identify, manage and/or mitigate risks.
- Understand the value of investigating complaints and ensuring safety.
Lesson 7 - Strategic Alliances and Partnerships
- understand the importance of alliances and partnerships to support collaborative efforts, overcome barriers, and reach agreements;
- identify potential collaborators and be able to create and maintain beneficial alliances and partnerships for the community;
- evaluate efforts to establish and operate strategic alliances and partnerships, and, through benchmarking, identify opportunities for improvement;
- develop and work with alliances and partnerships to support collaboration; and,
- clearly communicate and “sell” the benefits of alliances and partnerships.
Lesson 1 - Professionalism
- understand the elements of professionalism and how to teach and encourage professionalism;
- recognize one’s own assumptions, values and beliefs and show that you have integrity and are completely reliable;
- demonstrate competence, high quality work habits and a dedication to community and housing development;
- interact respectfully with all people, including staff, community members, leadership and stakeholders;
- build and maintain a valuable professional network; and
- create a positive and productive working environment.
Lesson 2 - Continuous Learning, Mentoring and Self-Care
- understand the value of self-assessment, mentoring and staff development and how to apply related techniques and practices;
- stay current on and incorporate new housing management information and knowledge to ensure quality services are provided to the community;
- demonstrate how your continuous learning plans align with achieving your organization’s strategies;
- understand the principles of self-care and the importance of life balance;
- know how to promote and encourage self-care for yourself and others;
- know how to incorporate housing coping strategies to help deal with stress;
- understand the signs of stress and know how and when to suggest help; and
- know where to access resources and be able to direct staff on how to access resources on self-care.
Lesson 3 - Ethical Considerations
- understand ethical concepts, responsibilities and dilemmas for the housing professional;
- know your responsibilities and considerations required (legally and culturally) for sensitive issues;
- demonstrate adherence to established or desirable ethical standards;
- set highest standards for self and others and monitor practice; and
- apply an effective process when dealing with an ethical issue.
Lesson 4 - Critical Skills 1 - Leadership and Facilitation, Conceptual and Managing Meetings
- understand the knowledge and abilities of staff leadership necessary to plan and implement strategy, and programs and policies;
- motivate, inspire and facilitate others to identify opportunities and solve problems to successfully implement the mission and build capacity;
- anticipate, respond and adapt approaches and styles to different leadership demands;
- provide self-direction and self-motivation and demonstrate commitment to housing programs;
- make effective presentations and use effective communication skills;
- demonstrate self-confidence, a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, good listening skills, and show appreciation;
- understand decision-making tools and their applications in developing problem-solving strategies using a systems-thinking approach;
- identify and analyze situations and problems such that viable solutions are found, approaching tasks and problems such that the total system and strategies are taken into account by self and others;
- understand what conceptual skills are, and why they are necessary for effective managers;
- understand the better practices (preparation, roles and rights, keeping focused) necessary for efficient and effective meetings;
- plan, run and participate in efficient and effective meetings; and
- document decisions, evaluate the success of the meeting, and follow up on actions.
Lesson 5 - Critical Skills 2 - Working Together and with Change
- understand your role and relationships with your staff, Chief and Council, members, volunteers, colleagues and consultants;
- understand team building techniques and dynamics;
- apply practices to facilitate a team based approach within housing program;
- assess your current efforts at working with others and how improvements can be made;
- resolve conflict in the organization using interest based conflict resolution and mediation techniques;
- understand the stages of change and ways to guide and manage change, consistent with the vision and values of the organization; and
- use change management plans and processes to benefit the housing program, involve key stakeholders and sustain positive changes.
Lesson 6 - Critical Skills 3 - Innovation and Creativity
- understand the value of innovation and know how to establish an organizational culture that values innovation and creativity;
- understand successful practices to establish innovative and creative environments;
- implement innovative and creative policies, services and practices; and
- look at other critical skills and acquire information to understand how other skills can support innovation and creativity.
Lesson 7 - Integration of Information and Knowledge Project
- understand the housing professional competencies required to address complex integrated situations;
- based on an identified issue, understand how to conduct effective research;
- develop approaches to assess and make recommendations to develop or improve complex integrated situations;
- undertake research to support decision-making around complex integrated situations;
- integrate and incorporate cultural aspects in the decision-making process; and
- develop effective reports to support decision-making for complex integrated situations.
Individuals who have completed courses recognized as equivalent to portions of the certification requirements may qualify for an exemption.
If you have taken Cégep Garneau, SAIT, or VIU housing courses or you are a CAFM or CAPA through AFOA, you may receive approval for exemptions.
To qualify, you require a 60% pass mark, supported with a transcript. A processing fee of $20.00 per course is required to process requests.
For more information on FNHP courses and course exemptions, contact Sarah McCabe, Membership & Education Manager - 1-(800) 360-6114