Delivered on May 31, 2018
Mr. Speaker, I would like to report on the progress being made on the National Housing Strategy.
On April 9, 2018 I, along with my provincial, territorial and federal counterparts, met in Toronto to endorse a multilateral Housing Partnership Framework. The Partnership Framework further advances the National Housing Strategy and sets the foundation for federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together towards achieving a long-term, shared vision for housing.
This endorsement means that we are now moving towards accessing funds beyond the Northern Housing funding previously announced. One such fund is the Canada Housing Benefit. To address the affordability of market rents, the Canada Housing Benefit will launch in 2020 and provide affordability support directly to families and individuals in housing need.
Another area of funding under the strategy is the National Housing Co-Investment Fund. This fund is application and partnership-based, and will support the construction of new affordable housing and the repair and renewal of existing community and affordable housing.
A major component of the strategy is the support under the Canada Community Housing Initiative. To support this Legislative Assembly’s priority of addressing the cost of living, we committed to increasing lobbying of the federal government to halt the continued reduction in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation operation and maintenance funding for public housing units. This was a key aspect of our negotiation with the federal government. As a result, while our previous agreement with Canada is still in effect, the federal government has agreed to provide under the Canada Community Housing Initiative funds equal to the cumulative decline of public housing operations and maintenance funding for the life of the National Housing Strategy.
Mr. Speaker, it was a long and hard fight to get the recognition that existing public housing needs long-term support, especially in the North, where public housing forms such a large part of the total housing stock. I am proud to say that we have made significant progress. While this victory is good news, we must continue to advocate on the importance of public housing to ensure that any future agreements and strategies beyond this National Housing Strategy see such housing supported long into the future.
Further work is underway to address the disproportionate allocation of funds under the Northern Housing Fund. I met with federal Minister Jean-Yves Duclos to raise the issue and to find opportunities to address this funding gap. During this meeting, I had the opportunity to discuss our concerns about the lack of information being shared on the Indigenous Housing Strategy. It is critical that all Indigenous peoples in the Northwest Territories are able to access these funds, and I will continue to place pressure on the federal government on this issue.
Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories is working through its ongoing engagement with the Government of Canada to access funding for the Northwest Territories that will directly benefit residents. The Housing Corporation is now negotiating our bilateral agreement with Canada, which I anticipate may be concluded prior to our next sitting. Once completed, I will share the full details with this House, including funding amounts.
The road ahead involves tough, critical work to ensure that our final funding agreement with Canada truly works for the benefit of our residents. I know the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation will work tirelessly to ensure a result that will have a meaningful impact on housing in the Northwest Territories.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.