Paulie Chinna: Housing Delivery Status Update

Déclarations et discours de ministres

Yellowknife — 8 mars 2022

Check against delivery

 

Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is delivering an exceptionally large capital program to cost share the delivery of 60 new single public housing units. Forty-six of those units are projected to be completed in 2022-2023, and 14 are projected to be completed the following year. The majority of this funding is coming from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation under the Co-Investment Fund.

In addition, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada is also contributing funding towards the delivery of 30 new public housing units:

  • seven are expected to be completed this year;
  • 21 are expected for 2022-2023; and,
  • two are expected for 2023-2024.

This will be the largest expansion of public housing units in the Northwest Territories in over 20 years.

The annual capital delivery plan of approximately $94 million involves the construction and renovation of more than 364 housing units in the Northwest Territories. This represents almost a 100% increase in capital investment compared to the previous year’s $47 million capital plan.  This plan includes new and replacement public housing units, major retrofits, a large biomass district heating project, market housing, and the remaining units for the RCMP Housing Initiative.

Mr. Speaker majority of this delivery is now either already complete or in the construction phase. Over the last year, the NWT Housing Corporation has awarded negotiated contracts for the construction of 12 new housing units being delivered by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and Gwich’in Tribal Council (Delta North Alliance);
Fort Smith Metis Council; and the Norman Wells Claimant Corporation.

Under the Tłı̨chǫ Infrastructure Cooperation Agreement, the Northwest Territories has also awarded the construction of a Local Housing Organization Office in Behchokǫ̀.  The NWT Housing Corporation is continuing its discussions with other Indigenous governments and Indigenous organizations in support of this exceptional delivery.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to our own delivery, we will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations, community governments, and NGOs to help them access funding through the Government of Canada’s National Housing
Co-Investment Fund. The Co-Investment Fund application process can be very time consuming and requires significant resources to move through the different application phases. There are currently ten active projects we are aware of in construction phase, two nearing completion of the application process and more than 20 projects the Housing Corporation are engaged in supporting through the Federal Co-investment application process.  The Housing Corporation will continue to support applicants from across the NWT as they move through this complex process.

Mr. Speaker, beyond the benefits of adding housing options in communities where new units are built, the economic benefits of the construction delivery can provide meaningful employment opportunities. The NWT Housing Corporation is committed to working with Northern contractors as much as possible to maximize the benefits of these projects.

To support these training outcomes, on April 1, 2020, the NWT Housing Corporation amended its construction contracts to require general contractors to support at least one northern apprentice work assignment for the duration of the construction project.  I am very pleased to advise that, in addition to the dozen apprentice positions the Housing Corporation supports each year with Local Housing Organizations, this new apprentice hire requirement for general contractors has supported the creation of 33 new apprentice work assignments to date.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has made a commitment to increase the number of affordable homes and reduce core housing need in the territory. With support from our partners, we have made and continue to make great progress towards fulfilling this commitment. From home repairs and community housing plans to investments in new housing units and addressing homelessness through the Northern Pathways to Housing program, the Housing Corporation and its partners are taking big steps to ensuring residents most in need have access to comfortable, safe and affordable homes.

Yet despite the progress being made, there is still more work to be done. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for affordable housing and shown us that adequate housing plays a critical role in the success, health and wellness of residents and communities across the territory. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation will continue to engage the Government of Canada, Indigenous governments, and other stakeholders to help make housing in communities across the NWT more affordable and more accessible for residents who need it most.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.