Just 13 out of 60 Iqaluit condos that fall under Government of Nunavut Staff Condominium Program have been sold, said Lorne Kusugak, minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation, at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly on Oct. 26.
Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Lightstone inquired about the current status of the program.
Out of those 60 units, 36 are along the Road to Nowhere and 24 are in the Plateau. The units sold thus far have all been in the Plateau.
Lightstone pointed out that interest rates are rising through the Bank of Canada and also noted that the Canada Revenue Agency has identified the GN Staff Condo Program as a taxable employee benefit.
“Mr. Speaker, these factors have resulted in a number of disincentives to participate in the program,” said Lightstone. “Applicants have had to apply and reapply for the 90-day mortgage pre-approval with frustration as the rates have steadily increased.”
Kusugak acknowledged issues surrounding the program and said his department is actively looking for ways to address those despite ongoing challenges.
“We’ve had to deal with, like other departments and workforces around the country, staff turnover; Covid is still very real; we’ve also had issues where successful proponents were having problems getting approval once they’ve went to the bank exchange,” said the minister.
One of the options the Nunavut Housing Corporation is looking to explore is whether the program can be opened up to non-government employees so that the tax implications would be removed.
“We continue to get those units sold, as many as we can,” Kusugak added. “They are still quite a bit cheaper than if you went after a non-government housing condo unit purchase.”