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

Bill 20: An Act To Amend The Student Financial Assistance Act, Carried
Item 17: First Reading Of Bills

Page 569

An Hon. Member

Question.

Bill 20: An Act To Amend The Student Financial Assistance Act, Carried
Item 17: First Reading Of Bills

Page 569

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Question is being called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Item 17, first reading of bills. Item 18, second reading of bills. Item 19, consideration in committee of the whole of bills and other matters: Tabled Document 14-12(6), "Open for Business" - Privatizing the Northwest Territories Power Corporation; Tabled Document 23-12(6), Report of the 1993-94 Electoral District Boundaries Commission Northwest Territories; Tabled Document 36-12(6), "Action Plan - Consolidation - Health and Social Services"; Minister's Statement 11-12(6), Return to Session; Committee Report 10-12(6), Report on the Review of the 1995-96 Capital Estimates; Committee Report 11-12(6), Report on the First Annual Report (1992-93) of the Languages Commissioner of the NWT; Bill 1, Appropriation Act, No. 1, 1995-96; Bill 2, Aboriginal Custom Adoption Recognition Act;Bill 3, Guardianship and Trusteeship Act; Bill 7, An Act to Amend the Arctic College Act; Bill 8, An Act to Amend the Public Utilities Act; Bill 15, An Act to Amend the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act, with Mr. Lewis in the chair.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Brian Lewis

Good afternoon. I would like to call the committee of the whole to order. What would the committee like to do this afternoon? Mr. Dent.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Mr. Chairman, I would like to recommend that the committee continue consideration of Committee Report 10-12(6) and Bill 1, specifically dealing with the NWT Housing Corporation's budget today. Should we conclude that item, I would like to recommend that we consider Bill 3.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Brian Lewis

Is the committee happy with the proposal from Mr. Dent? Well, no one is saying anything, so I presume it is all right.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 569

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

---Agreed

Bill 1: Appropriation Act, No. 1, 1995-96Committee Report 10-12(6): Report On The Review Of The 1995-96 Capital Estimates
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Brian Lewis

Mr. Morin, this is your department. Do you have any opening remarks, Mr. Morin?

Northwest Territories Housing Corporation

Minister's Introductory Remarks

Bill 1: Appropriation Act, No. 1, 1995-96Committee Report 10-12(6): Report On The Review Of The 1995-96 Capital Estimates
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to present the NWT Housing Corporation's 1995-96 capital main estimates. For 1995-96 we are asking the Legislative Assembly to approve total capital of $49 million. We will also receive $4.661 million from CMHC for retrofitting and modernization and improvement projects for existing social housing.

The first of these will improve on our use of current resources. One of the largest resources we have is our existing social housing units. As Members know, I will be proposing changes to the rent scale during this session. These proposed changes will encourage higher income people, who are currently in social housing, to get into home ownership. Badly needed social housing units will be vacated for those lower income households who are waiting to get a house. We must keep our social housing units for those lower income clients who most need this type of help.

For the 1995-96 year, all new units will be delivered through the corporation's home ownership programs. There will be no new rent supplement or social housing built this year. This will save approximately $80 million in leasing and operating costs over the next 20 years. Focusing on home ownership will provide the home ownership options necessary for tenants who can afford it to move out of social housing.

Another initiative is the introduction of the new downpayment assistance program. This new program provides a maximum of 25 per cent of the cost to build or purchase a new home. Up to five per cent of the home's value is provided as a grant, with the balance of 20 per cent being provided as a forgivable loan. The forgivable loan portion will be written off over a 15-year period.

We recognize that some families, whose incomes are just below the core need income threshold, could get into home ownership with downpayment assistance. The objective of this program is to help clients qualify for bank financing and make their mortgage payments affordable. Of the 313 units, 50 units will be provided for the downpayment assistance program.

For the last two years, I have talked about our loss of federal funding and the lobbying efforts to regain this funding for housing. Members of the Advisory Committee on Social Housing, my Cabinet colleagues, aboriginal leaders, both national and in the NWT, and myself, have lobbied hard to get the federal government to recognize their responsibility for aboriginal housing in the NWT.

I am hopeful that these efforts may be about to pay off, at least in a small way. The federal government is working on the development of an aboriginal housing policy. This signals that the federal government has recognized its responsibility for housing aboriginal people across the country. It is expected that this new policy will lead to longer-term funding commitments being made available to assist in housing aboriginal people, on and off reserves. However, I do not expect funding levels to return to the $47 million that was cut. We will continue to press our position with the federal government.

Many recommendations were received from the communities. These recommendations have been reviewed by myself and members of the Advisory Committee on Social Housing at a meeting held in Taloyoak in late September. Through the consultation process, many good ideas were offered to make housing delivery more efficient, more cost-effective and more focused on the housing needs of families and the communities. I will be tabling the results of the consultation process in the House during this session.

At the district consultation meetings, community leaders expressed support for a number of initiatives the corporation has undertaken. These include the northern manufacturing initiative and the building and learning strategy. I am committed to continuing our support for both of these. The building and learning strategy, which is a joint effort between the corporation, Public Works and Services and the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, has been expanded to 12 communities. In the past year, 33 trainees received Construction Worker I and II certificates. With the expansion of the program, we can only improve on that number. Better trained workers mean better job opportunities and more local employment.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Housing Corporation and this will be the most challenging period in the corporation's history. The consultation meetings began a process of working with communities. I am committed to continuing this work with the communities to come up with innovative ways to meet those challenges.

The information in the published capital estimate document at the regional level for the NWT Housing Corporation is incorrect. As a result of the position of numbers, the budget for the Baffin region is incorrectly reflected in the Kitikmeot region, and the budget for the Kitikmeot region is incorrectly reflected in the Baffin region. Revised pages 03-11, 03-12 and 03-18 have been provided to the committee and, I understand, have been inserted in your capital estimate documents. So, Kelvin, you are not getting more money, it was a mistake.

That concludes my remarks, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, very much. I would be pleased to answer questions.

Bill 1: Appropriation Act, No. 1, 1995-96Committee Report 10-12(6): Report On The Review Of The 1995-96 Capital Estimates
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Brian Lewis

I would like Members to note, then, that there are inserts in the capital documents now. Thank you, Mr. Morin. Report from the Standing Committee on Finance. Mr. Dent.

Standing Committee On Finance Comments

Bill 1: Appropriation Act, No. 1, 1995-96Committee Report 10-12(6): Report On The Review Of The 1995-96 Capital Estimates
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On behalf of the Standing Committee on Finance, I would like to present our report on the NWT Housing Corporation.

The cuts in federal funding for housing programs in the NWT have forced a serious change of outlook on the corporation. While negotiations continue with the federal government and, as the Minister has just outlined, he doesn't expect funding levels to return to the $47 million that were cut, committee Members urge the corporation to prepare for a possible new reality of reduced federal funding, and to restructure in such a way as to better meet this challenge.

Recommendation 9

Therefore, the Standing Committee on Finance recommends that the NWT Housing Corporation develop a restructuring plan to be presented to the committee by January 9, 1995, which will allow the corporation to better meet the challenge of reduced funding.

Mr. Chairman, this restructuring should include consideration of more cost-effective ways of delivering housing programs, of constructing housing and of assisting northerners to purchase existing housing.

In considering how to best address the social housing needs of the NWT, the committee also encourages the corporation to consult with northern aboriginal organizations. It may be possible to access new federal funding for aboriginal housing and to provide that funding directly to aboriginal organizations. Those organizations can then provide more housing for those NWT aboriginal residents who need it the most.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, committee Members are anxious to see the completed transfer of responsibility for staff housing to the corporation.

Recommendation 10

The Standing Committee on Finance recommends that the NWT Housing Corporation finalize a plan for transferring responsibility for staff housing from the Department of Personnel and the Department of Public Works and Services to the corporation by April 1, 1995 and that the plan be presented to the House during the winter session before March 31, 1995.

Mr. Chairman, that completes the report of the Standing Committee on Finance. I would now like to present the two recommendations in the form of motions.

Committee Motion 39-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 9, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

October 27th, 1994

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

I move that this committee recommends that the NWT Housing Corporation develop a restructuring plan to be presented to the committee by January 9, 1995, which will allow the corporation to better meet the challenge of reduced funding.

Committee Motion 39-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 9, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 571

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Dent. Your motion is in order. To the motion.

Committee Motion 39-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 9, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 571

An Hon. Member

Question.

Committee Motion 39-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 9, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 571

The Chair Brian Lewis

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Mr. Dent.

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

Page 571

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move that the committee recommends that the NWT Housing Corporation finalize a plan for transferring responsibility for staff housing from the Department of Personnel and the Department of Public Works and Services to the corporation by April 1, 1995, and that the plan be presented to the House during the winter session before March 31, 1995.