Canada now has a 10-year housing strategy, intended to help some of the 1.7 million Canadians with core housing needs.

Cape Dorset’s new five-plex under construction in September. That community is one of eight that will have new public units for 2017-2018. Progress varies by community and most were in the very early stages of construction. photo courtesy of Nunavut Housing Corporation

In Nunavut, the core housing need is 36.5 per cent.

“This is the highest in the country, and much higher than the national rate of 12.7 per cent,” said Nunavut Housing Corporation (NHC) president Terry Audla.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos made the $40 billion announcement Nov. 22 in Vancouver.

“Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Canada’s first-ever National Housing Strategy is a once-in-a-generation vision to reduce homelessness, support community housing and shelter spaces, and address challenges of housing affordability,” said Trudeau.

Audla says the housing corporation participated in the national strategy.

“Over the past two years, the NHC has been involved with discussions with the federal government, as well as provinces and territories, regarding the development of the National Housing Strategy, and associated multilateral and bilateral agreements,” he said.

The NHC released its own strategy in late 2016. Called Blueprint for Action on Housing, the strategy – along with identifying plans and partnerships – was intended as a solid business case to solicit federal funding.

“The Blueprint for Action identifies the importance of federal commitment to long-term predictable funding for housing in Nunavut. The long-term nature of the National Housing Strategy is important to addressing this need,” said Audla.

The federal government states its strategy will focus on the needs of the most vulnerable through a human-rights-based approach to housing.

“Within the next year, legislation will be introduced obligating the federal government to maintain a National Housing Strategy and report to Parliament on housing targets and outcomes,” according to the news release.

But what does housing as a human right look like in Nunavut?

“The NHC will work with the federal government regarding its vision of housing as a human right. Details of this have yet to be determined,” said Audla.

“The NHC has been working hard to ensure that the federal government understands Nunavut’s unique situation. The National Housing Strategy identifies housing in the North as a key priority area, and the NHC will continue to work to ensure funding is flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of Nunavummiut.”

Nunavut’s “unique situation” has long required an estimated 3,500 new homes at an estimated cost of $1 billion. Despite approximately 100 new houses each year, that figure never really changes. For now, Nunavut is funded for 2016-17 and 2017-18 through the SIF (Social Infrastructure Fund) at $84.1 million, said Audla. This means new builds into 2019.

Also, as announced in the 2017 federal budget, Nunavut will receive $240 million over 10 years for housing. The NHC will begin using those dollars for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

“The details of the spending, however, have yet to be determined,” said Audla.

The housing corporation doles out new housing builds according to a needs formula.

“Other than this, the funding allocation for the remaining pots (of the new strategy) has yet to be determined. We look forward to receiving more details in the coming weeks as we continue to work with the federal government,” said Audla.


FACT FILE: National Housing Strategy

Government of Canada goals for the 10-year, $40 billion National Housing Strategy

  • reducing chronic homelessness by 50 per cent;
  • removing more than 530,000 households from housing need;
  • creating four times as many new housing units as built under federal programs from 2005 to 2015;
  • repairing three times as many existing housing units as repaired under federal programs from 2005 to 2015; and
  • protecting an additional 385,000 households from losing an affordable place to live.
source: Government of Canada


FACT FILE: Breaking down $40B

  • $15.9B for a new National Housing Co-Investment Fund
  • $8.6B for a new Canada Community Housing Initiative in partnership with provinces and territories, and $500M through a new Federal Community Housing Initiative
  • $4B for a new Canada Housing Benefit to be launched in 2020 in partnership with provinces and territories
  • $2.2B to reduce homelessness
  • $300M in additional federal funding to address housing needs in Canada’s North
  • $241M for research, data and demonstrations
source: Government of Canada

Michele LeTourneau

Michele LeTourneau first arrived at NNSL's headquarters in Yellowknife in1998, with a BA honours in Theatre. For four years she documented the arts across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Following...

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