Canada’s northern, remote and isolated communities face unique housing needs because of the challenges presented by geography, climate change, infrastructure and remoteness. And partners of the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework identified the need to address housing in the North as part of its goal of supporting resilient and healthy northern and Indigenous people.
The Government of Canada is working with partners in the Northwest Territories to respond to housing needs and address issues of housing availability, overcrowding, affordability and quality that disproportionately affect Northerners and those living in Indigenous communities.
Today, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, and the Honourable Paulie Chinna, Minister Responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, Minister Responsible for Homelessness and Minister Responsible for the Public Utilities Board, announced the establishment of a dedicated, intergovernmental housing working group for the Northwest Territories. The working group will develop an intergovernmental approach to respond to the housing needs of the territory and find collaborative solutions to address northern housing. It will help inform areas of policy, as well as harmonize strategies to better respond to housing needs in the Northwest Territories. The working group will also help to inform the future of housing in the territory and foster greater intergovernmental collaboration, together with partners.
The working group, co-chaired by the governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada, will tackle a broad array of housing issues and will bring in expertise as required, including Indigenous governments, municipal governments, industry leaders and federal departments, including Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, Infrastructure Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Employment and Social Development Canada, and Natural Resources Canada.
Establishing a formal working group and consulting with community members, Indigenous partners and other housing stakeholders is vital to establish the best path forward to address housing needs in the Northwest Territories.
Minister Vandal also announced that $25 million from Budget 2021 for immediate housing needs is now being made available to the Government of the Northwest Territories. The Government of Canada will work with partners to support-through funding and dialogue-solutions to current housing needs and issues in the territory. Investments made by the Government of Canada have already provided housing support for over 9,000 northern families in need.
“The Government of Canada recognizes that access to safe, affordable and sustainable housing is particularly challenging in northern and remote communities. True progress is made possible when we have an understanding of the priorities, desires and needs of those who are impacted most. This collaborative approach to addressing housing needs in the Northwest Territories will ensure solutions reflect on-the-ground priorities. This working group, and the continuation of our strong partnerships, is a critical piece to closing the unacceptable housing gap that exists in many northern communities.”
The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs
“We are pleased to participate alongside federal and territorial government representatives and Indigenous partners in this important new housing working group for the Northwest Territories. Collaboration is absolutely critical if we are to improve the current housing situation and build the foundation for safer, healthier homes for Indigenous Peoples.”
The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
“Today’s announcement represents an important step towards establishing safe housing for communities in the North. Living in dignity and safety is directly connected to the health and well-being of northern communities and is top priority for the Government of Canada. Increased collaboration through this working group will help us to address both short- and long-term housing needs in the Northwest Territories.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. As we continue steadily down the path to social and economic recovery, we have a real opportunity in the Northwest Territories to make a difference in how we deliver housing-this funding is the next step in that journey. We are listening to our stakeholders, co-creating with them, and I’m confident that, soon, the working group’s recommendations will boost capacity in the territory and help build a housing system that is equitable and serves the needs of all Canadians.”
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“Addressing the Northwest Territories’ housing needs is a critical priority that is bigger than any single government or its individual departments. This new working group, which I have been advocating for, will help bring housing partners together to discuss ways to better coordinate all our programs and funding sources to help deliver housing solutions in our communities. The group also intends to reach out to Indigenous governments to ensure their views and perspectives inform this work. I am very pleased to take this new step in our partnership with Canada and look forward to working closely with all our partners to get more Northwest Territories residents into homes.”
The Honourable Paulie Chinna
Minister Responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation and Minister Responsible for Homelessness, Government of the Northwest Territories
“Adequate housing for people is the means to many successful outcomes-increased health, education and safety are all improved when people have a home. Both the Housing Working Group and the additional $25 million will continue to help us, collectively, provide solutions and improve the lives of Northerners in need.”
Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories
Budget 2021 provides $25 million, in 2021-22, to the Government of the Northwest Territories to address housing priorities. Funding will support the construction of 30 new public housing units across the territory.
To help Canadians find affordable housing, Budget 2021 proposed to provide an additional $2.5 billion over seven years to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
- An additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative to address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by providing them with adequate affordable housing in short order.
- $600 million over seven years to renew and expand the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund. This new funding will support the creation of up to 12,700 more units.
- $315.4 million over seven years through the Canada Housing Benefit to increase direct financial assistance for low-income women and children fleeing violence to help with their rent payments.
- $118.2 million over seven years through the Federal Community Housing Initiative to support community housing providers that deliver long-term housing to many of our most vulnerable people.
Budget 2021 also proposed to advance and reallocate $1.3 billion in existing funding to speed up the construction, repair or support of 35,000 affordable housing units across Canada.
- This includes $750 million in funding under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, which is proposed to be advanced to 2021-22 and 2022-23. This will accelerate the creation of 3,400 new units and the repair of 13,700 units.
- $250 million in funding under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, which will be allocated to support the construction, repair and operating costs of an estimated 560 units of transitional housing and shelter spaces for women and children fleeing violence. This targeted funding is being reallocated-including advancing $200 million to 2021-22 and 2022-23.
With a historic investment of over $18 billion, Budget 2021 helps close the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples; supports healthy, safe and prosperous Indigenous communities; and advances meaningful reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation.
Budget 2021 proposes distinctions-based investments of $6.0 billion over five years, starting in 2021-22, with $388.9 million ongoing, to support infrastructure in Indigenous communities. This includes $4.3 billion over four years, starting in 2021-22, for the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund, a distinctions-based fund to support immediate demands, as prioritized by Indigenous partners, with shovel-ready infrastructure projects in First Nations, including with modern-treaty and self-governing First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities.
Through Canada’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, Canada is working with Indigenous, territorial and provincial partners to identify immediate and long-term priorities for the North. The Framework will guide the Government of Canada’s priorities, activities and investments in the Arctic to 2030 and beyond and will better align Canada’s national and international policy objectives with the priorities of Northerners.
The Government of Canada launched Canada’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework on September 10, 2019. For the first time, the federal government worked collaboratively with Indigenous representatives and six territorial and provincial governments to define and co-develop this long-term vision. The Framework reflects the priorities and perspectives of Arctic and northern people and is grounded in inclusive engagement across the Arctic and the North.