This is page numbers 549 - 580 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 6th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. That is what I just finished saying. They are available for all those things. For high-income people, if they need to repair the unit, we can help them go to the bank for that or direct lend. The actual sale could be done through payments. We are very flexible. Any way that we can make it work with the client, we will do it. It is driven by what the client is capable of paying. That is how we approach it. Let me say that this program of selling the northern rentals has been in place for years. People have not taken advantage of it. It is just because it wasn't widely known. We are going to make sure people know that program exists and understand it, so we can help them get into it.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you. Mr. Ng.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I concur with the Minister that it isn't a widely-known program. If you do advertise it properly and explain the benefits to people, they would consider it.

The Minister replied about the Weber retrofit program that is funded by CMHC and I also noticed that there is the modernization and improvement program, where CMHC provides some cost-sharing for those programs for the upcoming capital year. Is that funding going to expire after the end of 1995-96 or is that an ongoing capital program that will still be accessible through CMHC? Thank you.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

The Chair Brian Lewis

Mr. Morin.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As far as I know, it is still ongoing, but you are dealing with CMHC; you never know. They could slice it tomorrow.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you. Mr. Ng.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Yes, recognizing that CMHC has hit our government hard on cutbacks, I am curious as to why we wouldn't have maximized this program in this upcoming year to get the dollars out of it while we could. Has it been maximized in the amounts in the budget for the CMHC share or are they at the maximum limits right now? Thank you.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

The Chair Brian Lewis

Mr. Morin.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ever since I have been the Minister of the Housing Corporation, we have maximized all federal funds. We have never turned back any dollars to the federal government because we couldn't match dollar for dollar. This program is matched and maxed out.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Morin. Mr. Ng.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

That is it for now, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

The Chair Brian Lewis

Mr. Ningark.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 574

John Ningark Natilikmiot

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, in the departmental overview under corporate mission, we talked about item 3, provide training. Item number 4 talks about promoting individual independence with increased responsibility and accountability. Under 5, it talks about promoting the establishing and growth of private housing markets in a northern economy. On the next page, under the corporate goals, item 5 is to support local economy.

I also know the Minister works very hard to make sure the outside contractor respects community laws and I would like to commend the Minister for that. The Minister tries to ensure that local contractors are used, subsequent to that they hire local people which helps the local economy very much.

We have not been able to fully utilize the local contractors or the local labour. In that respect, we have seen many problems, perhaps not only in Repulse Bay, Taloyoak or Pelly Bay, but in other communities across the territories, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I am not going to get specific or name contractors, but there are certain contractors who do not respect community law, especially in communities that have restricted alcohol consumption or are strictly dry. Above and beyond that, there are other social issues that came out as the result of hiring outside contractors. This is not always the case, though.

If the department is to hire local contractors, this would ensure that we help the local economy. Most of the small communities in this particular jurisdiction have a high rate of unemployment in the system. Most small communities in the territories have a high rate of social assistance, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I hope in the future years, we are able to make some corrections to the policy of hiring and using local contractors; or, one day soon, we will be fully utilizing local contractors. Subsequently, in the interim, they should hire local people, Mr. Chairman.

When you hire local people, you are not only ensuring that money stays in the community, but the economic well-being of a community is enhanced and subsequently, and when people are earning money, at least they are able to pay for rent. When they are able to pay for their rent, perhaps people who are working for a long time, even seasonal workers, are one day going to be able to own their own home through the access program of this government.

Again, Mr. Chairman, I commend the Minister. I know the Minister is working extremely hard in order to meet the needs in the communities. He knows the problems; he has been approached on them. I know he knows the problems because he talked to us in the advisory committee meetings. I know the Minister is trying very, very hard, but I hope one day we will be able to solve this problem.

I don't know, Mr. Chairman, if we are going to be able to get rid of the problem we have in this system because every time we try to use local contractors as opposed to outside contractors, there are people out there saying, what about fair business practice. I know this is the case. Until we have a fully legislated policy in the system, it is going to be very hard. But, I want the Minister to be aware of the social problems that are derived from some, not all, outside contractors who were awarded work in the communities.

I don't want to be all negative. There are wonderful things that come out of the work of outside contractors. The workmanship is good and they are able to meet deadlines on time. But, when you use local contractors, you ensure that money stays in the community, and you can be sure that people have pride in building their own homes. Mr. Chairman, you can also ensure that a person who is living in social housing also may know from the inside out of that house and, one day, if that person becomes the owner of a house, he or she will be able to maintain their home. It is very crucial and very important that these things are noted. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 575

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Ningark. I don't know if any questions were there, but maybe you would like to make a response, Mr. Morin.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 575

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are going to work with the local communities to ensure that the problem that Mr. Arvaluk and Mr. Ningark brought up about drugs and alcohol going into the communities doesn't occur. The RCMP should arrest and charge the people who are bringing in the drugs. And, as far as alcohol, if the community has made a decision to be dry, then contractors should respect that.

I've asked the Housing Corporation as well as DPW to look into building into our tender documents that the contractors should have dry camps. I know that in the majority of the camps in the Northwest Territories, if you are going to work for someone, you sign a paper and you can't bring alcohol into that camp. So, maybe we can address that problem through that means.

We would like to see as many local people benefit from contracts as possible. We have used many different approaches and have put in place many different training programs as well to try to benefit local people. In Mr. Ningark's riding, it has worked fairly well. In other ridings -- in some where we have bent over backwards to accommodate local contractors or people trying to get contracts -- all they've done is get the contract and turn around and hire people from Newfoundland. These are northern local people who have done this.

So, we still police those people as well. We know where they are, we know where they are working, and they are going to pay the price for doing those kinds of things. Next year, they will not get us bending over backwards to do the same thing for them again. It is as simple as that. They do it to us once, and that is it.

We want to hire local people; we want to ensure local people are working on the job, and we will do everything possible. Already we have amended the tender documents to tell contractors that if they say there are northern people in their employment in a community and there are 27 people all coming from Gitzel Street from a one-bedroom apartment, we are going to catch that and they are going to pay, accordingly. We are tired of getting defrauded by a few, bad contractors who live in southern Canada, work their way through the system, and who have lawyers and accountants working for them to show them how to beat the system. That's what we have to police.

A total of 95 per cent of our contractors are excellent contractors. There are just a few that give others a bad name. That's why there is a new business incentive policy. I know we would like to see a simple policy, but a very simple policy which would be developed for honest people. We have a fraction of people out there who are dishonest and that is why we have to state all the rules to try to corner those people and keep them out of our workforce.

We are doing as much as possible at this time, we are going to try to do more, and we are going to ensure that those people who call themselves local and call themselves northerners truly are. Thank you.