Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform Members about changes to how the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation calculates rent for public housing tenants.
In the coming months, Canada Child Tax Benefit payments, and payments to foster parents will no longer be included as sources of income for the purpose of calculating public housing rents. I believe this change properly reflects the values of our people by supporting families who fulfill their responsibility to care and raise our children. In order to implement this change, I have directed the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation to update their policies and procedures and develop training material for Local Housing Organizations to allow for full implementation by October 1st of this year.
As Members are aware, the public housing rent scale was revised at the beginning of this government to improve consistency and fairness and address any disincentives to work. The further changes we are announcing today in the public housing program builds on that work through improved consistency in our government’s approach to social programming. This treatment of income aligns closely with the policies of the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and the Department of Health and Social Services.
In addition, Mr. Speaker, the NWT Housing Corporation will begin using the total income reported on the income tax returns of household members to calculate rent. This approach will reduce the burden of monthly reporting for tenants and is consistent with the decision to not include Child Tax Benefit and foster parent payments in rent calculations, as the Canada Revenue Agency does not consider them as income.
Reducing the reporting burden is especially important for tenants such as seniors and single parents. Not requiring income verification every month respects the dignity of public housing tenants by treating them more like other tenants and supports their self-reliance.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that we can continue to make the public housing system responsive to the needs of our people and through this change further support our families and seniors, improve the consistency of government and foster self-reliance.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.