Caroline Cochrane: Milestone Statement – Housing Strategies

Mr. Speaker, in order to address the Priorities of the 18th Legislative Assembly, the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has made the commitment to work in partnership with other orders of government to address affordable housing requirements in support of their service delivery to Northwest Territories residents.

The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is addressing this priority through its mandate commitment to develop northern solutions for northern housing as part of its strategic plan, Building for the Future. Today, I want to provide Members with an update on this collaborative work.

There has also been strong collaboration with the other two northern territories around our common goal of increased federal engagement.  Given our unique economic and geographical conditions, Canada’s three territories face greater challenges and levels of housing need than our country’s southern jurisdictions. To that end, the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories worked together to develop a Pan-Territorial business case outlining the key housing priorities that we all share.

The increased support for northern housing in the 2016 federal budget is a product of that work: $100 million dollars for the North and specifically, over $35 million for the Northwest Territories.  Fiftenn million dollars of the Northwest Territories allocation is going directly to the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to address housing issues in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.  The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is working on an arrangement with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to coordinate the delivery of housing programs with this money. Discussions have been productive and I am looking forward to a productive partnership.

Supporting the housing aspirations of Aboriginal and local governments is one of our commitments to support safe and affordable housing.  The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has also been working with the K’atl’odeeche First Nation to support the development of social housing on the Hay River Reserve.  This work has led to the completion of the land designation process for ten lots, which will allow for federal leases on reserve land.  It is anticipated the Public Housing Program will be delivered on these lots.  The parties are working to complete the land designation process for six more lots.

I have also been approached by the Akaitcho First Nations, the Hamlet of Aklavik, the Salt River First Nations and the K’asho Got’ine of Fort Good Hope about partnering in housing projects, which demonstrates the commitment of community governments to working in partnership to meet the needs of their community members.

Additionally, my territorial colleagues and I successfully obtained a commitment from the federal government to include addressing northern housing issues as a major pillar in a National Housing Strategy that is under development.  Work has now been initiated with our federal, provincial and territorial counterparts to translate these broad goals, priorities and outcomes into a multilateral agreement that will lead to greater federal involvement in northern housing.

Mr. Speaker, good progress has been made in achieving these milestones.  I expect that in the near future, we will be close to delivering on most of the areas related to our mandate commitments.  This will be perfect timing as the results of our housing engagement survey will help to inform us on the future direction of housing.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.