Mr. Speaker, a few months ago I had the pleasure of signing the Bilateral Agreement between the Northwest Territories and Canada on the National Housing Strategy. One of the first funding allocations Canada proposed under the Strategy was the Northern Housing Fund, which brought $36 million in funding to the Northwest Territories. However, this is just a starting point.
Through diligent work by both the Government of Canada and the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, another agreement was reached that better reflects the housing needs in the Northwest Territories. The federal government saw that there was an opportunity under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund to expand the partnership between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories.
The National Housing Co-Investment Fund is application-based funding. The approach we negotiated involves a dedicated “carve off” of $60 million under the Fund for the Northwest Territories. This $60 million is ours and ours alone. We will not have to compete with other jurisdictions or entities that have greater access to resources and a greater competitive advantage to see if we get approved for projects.
In addition, the federal contribution to a project in the Northwest Territories can be up to 75 per cent. Further, we are still able to compete for funds above and beyond the $60 million at the national level, and, if we are successful, we will still be eligible for that 75 per cent contribution from the federal government.
Mr. Speaker, this arrangement recognizes Northern needs, and it is unique. No other province and territory will receive a “carve off” with the exception of Yukon, and provinces only qualify for a federal contribution of up to 40 per cent for approved projects. Through the life of the National Housing Strategy, which expires in 2028, this $60 million “carve off” and the Co-Investment Fund as a whole has the potential to bring significant investments into communities all across the Northwest Territories, working in partnership with all governments, private market investors and non-governmental organizations.
Now that we have the deal finalized, it is time to take advantage of it. We are already reaching out to stakeholders, and have put forward a small number of initial projects. We are promoting this fund with our stakeholders, including community governments, Indigenous governments and other partners. We are also working very closely with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to help stakeholders develop proposals for the Co-Investment Fund. This outreach is critical so northerners can make the best use of funds such as the Co-Investment Fund.
Mr. Speaker, as we make progress with other initiatives such as the Community Housing Plans, we will be identifying opportunities for investment. The National Housing Co-Investment Fund allows our communities to bring their own assets to the table and partner with us and the federal government to meet local housing needs.
I cannot overstate the opportunity this fund gives us. This money will help address all aspects of housing in the Northwest Territories, from homelessness to affordable homeownership. Everyone will benefit, from businesses in communities to residents who need housing. I am very proud of the work that led to this new agreement. I am looking forward even more to the work ahead, as we endeavor to make the most of this fund and build new and innovative housing projects across the Northwest Territories.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.