This is page numbers 1883 – 1930 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 2nd 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.


Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. McNeely, Hon. Alfred Moses, Mr. Nadli, Mr. Nakimayak, Mr. O'Reilly, Hon. Wally Schumann, Hon. Louis Sebert, Mr. Simpson Mr. Testart, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Vanthuyne.

The House met at 1:30 p.m.


The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Transportation.

Wally Schumann

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, last December the Department of Public Works and Services took measures to secure the core assets of the Northern Transportation Company Limited, or NTCL, a company that went into receivership after serving the Northwest Territories through more than 80 years of operation.

NTCL was the largest marine transportation service provider in the Northwest Territories, delivering essential petroleum products and cargo, including customer goods and construction materials, to communities along the Mackenzie River and across the western Arctic.

NTCL served ten Northwest Territories communities, including four that are inaccessible by winter road. Marine resupply is the only realistic option for these four communities, where it is prohibitively expensive or impossible to provide fuel and large cargo by air transport. For other communities accessible by water, marine transportation provides an economical and reliable alternative.

Mr. Speaker, in purchasing the vital marine assets once owned by NTCL, the Government of the Northwest Territories supports the continuity of dependable and competitive marine services and delivery of essential goods to our communities on the Mackenzie River and our ocean waters. The importance of a viable Mackenzie River marine transportation service to meet the needs of government, industry, and residents cannot be understated.

The Department of Public Works and Services has made efforts to secure a marine carrier to operate the assets purchased by government and offer the comprehensive transportation services once provided by NTCL. Those efforts were unsuccessful, and by November it had become quite clear that the gap left by this company's exit would not be easily filled.

The Government of the Northwest Territories has the staff, expertise, and resources needed to run this operation and is now focused on making sure that marine transportation services in the Northwest Territories continue unaffected through the 2017 sailing season. This requires that we inspect and make ready the tug and barge fleet and our port facilities and fill key positions to manage the operations of the 2017 sailing season. We will engage a professional marine crewing operator to hire experienced and reliable crews to maintain and operate our vessels. We expect many of these individuals will be Northwest Territories residents, knowledgeable people who worked for NTCL for many years performing the very operations that the government will now execute.

We are committed to ensuring that services are provided this sailing season, that fuel and cargo is delivered to all of the marine-accessible communities of the Northwest Territories, and we are committed to operating safely and responsibly. The experience of operating the business this season will inform the Government of the Northwest Territories as we determine the future model of operation. We are well into the development of maintenance plans to reactivate the tug and barge fleet. We are taking stock of the properties and assets purchased. We will draw upon our expertise in environmental site assessment and management of potentially contaminated lands to determine the nature and extent of any environmental contamination associated with these properties.

While our purchase was made out of necessity, it has also revealed opportunities. Our investment in the marine transportation sector can lead to improved marine infrastructure, the creation of meaningful jobs, and a comprehensive self-funding, made-in-the-North marine transportation service that is essential to our communities. The Government of the Northwest Territories' marine transportation services secures a vital link that connects Canada's northernmost railhead to its northernmost inland port and preserves the final northern link of an intermodal supply chain that stretches all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Mackenzie Delta.

Mr. Speaker, this unique situation has presented us with a short window to prepare, but work is well under way to make sure that this sailing season is a success. Our future operating model is yet to be determined, but it will be one that balances the needs of government, residents, businesses, and small barging operators, who will all benefit from the continued presence of a reliable and affordable marine carrier. Our focus is on safety and reliability, and we will endeavour to limit increases in shipping rates that would negatively impact the cost of living in the NWT and, critically, in the service of citizens and businesses. We will preserve and deploy the marine assets that are so important to the future economic activity and to the development of the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Glen Abernethy

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has made a commitment in its mandate to continue implementing the Early Childhood Development Action Plan to improve early childhood development, and by enhancing access to early intervention services for children zero to five years of age, and supporting community wellness initiatives with early childhood development funding and subject matter expertise.

Today, I want to share with you some of the progress our government has made in supporting children and their families through the first three years of the Right from the Start Framework.

Three early childhood intervention pilot projects enhancing access to services for children zero to five years of age in specific regions are showing early successes. These projects have improved access to rehabilitation services and increased uptake in early childhood development programs.

The Deh Cho Region Early Childhood Intervention Plan saw a 100 per cent increase in the number of children and families attending follow-up appointments with the service or program specialists to whom children and their families had been referred. Four workshops on early childhood development topics were also offered to parents, schools, and the community to help increase awareness of community resources.

Results from the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation's Early Childhood Program have seen a 50 per cent increase in accessing speech language pathology services, including increased clinic time and services in three communities through the addition of a half-time speech language pathologist. Nine workshops were held with early childhood educators that improved staff's speech and language intervention skills by 24 per cent, based on testing before and after the training. In addition, six parent speech language workshops were conducted in three target communities to increase awareness of the program.

The Tlicho Community Services Agency Speech Language Pathologist Plan showed a 300 per cent increase in accessing speech language pathology services. This included increased clinic time and services in Behchoko through the addition of one speech language pathologist. Improvements were also seen in the quality of services through the growth in children's speech and language practice.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has also made a commitment in its mandate to develop options to enhance access to birthing services and prenatal and postnatal care for mothers and their families, including the development of a territorial midwifery model. As part of our work on this commitment, the Department of Health and Social Services will be hosting sharing circles in several communities over the next few months to discuss the potential for a territorial midwifery program. The department is looking to hear from women and their family members with experience receiving maternity care services. People interested in attending these sharing circles or taking an online survey can visit the department's website for more information.

How we deliver the Healthy Family Program is also being reviewed, Mr. Speaker, to determine if there are more effective ways to reach families at risk. The Healthy Family Program is a voluntary home-visitation program that supports parents and caregivers with children under five years of age. This early intervention program promotes the importance of the nurturing parent-child relationship and aims to increase the child's developmental opportunities while fostering positive interaction for improved outcomes in the child's future. The department is looking at building on the strengths of the program with the potential of expanding it from the current 16 communities that it serves. A learning evaluation framework and a territorial workshop are also being organized to support continuous quality improvement.

Mr. Speaker, even though we have made progress in supporting children and families, we still have much work to do. As part of this work, the Departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Health and Social Services have collaborated in the development of a renewed action plan that my colleague, the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, and I will be tabling at a later date.

The renewed Early Childhood Development Action Plan supports the GNWT's efforts to offer high-quality, inclusive, and accessible early childhood development programs that are community-driven and sustainable, as well as culturally relevant. The GNWT is committed to developing a system that serves the needs of children and their families so that children are healthy, school-ready, and can reach their full potential. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Alfred Moses

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today is national Pink Shirt Day, a day celebrated during the last Wednesday of February of each year. We provided pink carnations for all of the Members, and I am pleased to see all the pink in the House today, marking our acknowledgement that bullying in any form is unacceptable.

This initiative was started by two brave young men in Nova Scotia, David Shepherd and Travis Price, who gave away fifty pink shirts after a grade 9 student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.

These two young men raised national awareness of a significant societal problem that does not only exist in our schools. It is a behaviour that has spread around the world.

Mr. Speaker, Canada is well known for its tolerance and diversity. Global events of late have seen a surge of racism, bullying, and discrimination, and we must stand against that. We must all stand up for those who are ruthlessly harassed in person, online, and in whispers. We are the examples for our children as they grow and develop their sense of self.

The Northwest Territories is an inclusive, multicultural region where we celebrate our different cultures and lifestyles. We must work together to protect the growth and progress we have seen, do our part to change attitudes, and show the rest of Canada, and the world, that bullying stops here.

Mr. Speaker, we began this journey in 2013, with amendments to the Education Act that included bullying prevention measures. Since that time, we have engaged with schools and students across the North, with pledges and contests, and a Stop Bullying – Stand Up NWT Facebook page which continues to grow. We currently have nearly 3,500 likes on the page and consistent engagements.

I am very proud to see that students across the North have heeded this call to action and are standing up in groups, through songs, videos, plays, and actions.

As I mentioned in my statement on responding to the mandate commitment of community wellness and safety, in September 2016 the Territorial School Code of Conduct and Safe Schools Regulations came into effect. The regulations set a standard of behaviour for NWT students, school staff, and the school community. The department has provided education bodies with templates and exemplars to assist in the required development of safe schools plans, and is currently providing support in the development of emergency response plans to be implemented in the 2017-18 school year. These plans will be reviewed and updated annually.

As well, the department is working with non-government organization partners and education bodies to develop policies and resources to support students and staff from the LGBTQ2+ community.

We are excited to see the progress that has been accomplished in this important initiative.

Mr. Speaker, I am most excited, however, to see the faces of students as they fight against bullying, racism, and discrimination. They are the ones who will change the attitudes that will form the policies and shift the perceptions that bullying in all forms is unacceptable. I look forward to the day when Pink Shirt Day, Day of Pink, Bullying Awareness Week, and all of the great initiatives that have sprung up to fight bullying and discrimination are days marked in history. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Cory Vanthuyne

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, providing safe, secure, affordable housing for Northerners, especially in isolated communities, is among the biggest challenges facing the NWT.

We recognize this as a top-level priority in the mandate to which we committed ourselves at the outset of the 18th Assembly.

Solutions are not easy and nothing comes cheap. That is why the NWT Housing Corporation has a budget of over $50 million for community housing services.

There was a story last fall that I found inspiring, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to talk about it for a moment.

In Deline there was a 53-year-old man who for 10 years had lived in a shack. His shack was made of crates and plywood, and it had no insulation. He had lived there for 10 years and he had not complained, but his shack was becoming infested and it was becoming too much for him. Unable to sleep, he asked a friend if he could borrow a camper trailer to live in.

Community members thought that they could do better than the trailer. They determined that, with some donated construction materials and volunteer labour, they could build the man a small home of his own. So over three weekends, local carpenters, electricians, and other volunteers built an insulated, wired, 16-by-16 tiny house for the man. They say, compared to what he had, this was 100 per cent improvement.

Mr. Speaker, I relay this story not because I think the NWT's housing issues can be solved by donations and volunteers. Clearly, that is not the case.

This story is an example of what can be accomplished with resources you can find in any NWT community -- ingenuity, dedication, and commitment. New ideas, innovations, and partnerships can be brought together to achieve things that previously seemed impossible.

Here in Yellowknife -- and right across North America -- we have seen start-ups of new innovation of tiny houses, new ideas in storage, insulation, recycling all contribute to the viability of this new idea. They are inexpensive, have a much smaller footprint, and can be portable, meaning an inventory of tiny houses can be moved to different communities as and when needed.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT's housing challenges are not going away, but the Deline example shows just what can be accomplished when people come together. Innovation, new ideas, collaboration, and partnerships with communities can help us take on this major challenge. Tiny homes can be a significant part of the solution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Herbert Nakimayak

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in 2015 the Government of the Northwest Territories signed a four-year intergovernmental agreement with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. That agreement exists to guide both governments working together to improve the programs and services in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, or the ISR.

One of the issues in serious need of improvement, Mr. Speaker, is housing. It is something that has been a problem not just in the Northwest Territories but across the 53 communities in the Inuit Nunangat. Here in the NWT, though, even just in my riding of Nunakput, single people and single-parent families are stuck on public housing waiting lists, living with overcrowding or other inadequacies. These families are among most likely to be hungry, too, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, a full 56 per cent of Inuit single-parent families in this country have suffered from food insecurity and added stress on top of housing worries; and even if you do get through the housing waiting list or if you have market housing, about 28 per cent of Nunakput homes are still in core need, never mind that expense remains a huge obstacle, Mr. Speaker.

Last year's federal budget earmarked $15 million to be delivered through INAC for housing in the ISR in the Northwest Territories. When I asked the Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation about working with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to make the most of that money, she let us know that, while the IRC took the lead, she would be taking on a supportive role.

Mr. Speaker, I believe in responsible, effective working relationships, and this is a good example of coordination and corporation. I have talked a little about this before, but now we are almost a year on and I will be looking for an update from the Minister today on the progress of this agreement. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Michael Nadli

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

"Houses are for display only."

"The housing issue is awful; nothing is being done."

"There at 16 houses sitting empty and have been empty since 2008."

Those are a few statements from residents at the K'atlodeeche First Nation.

I had understood that work was progressing between the Hay River Dene Band and the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, but residents tell me that repair and maintenance program and services, not to mention the houses themselves, remain out of reach.

Mr. Speaker, residents have shared with me their frustration and their despair. They talk to me about the lack of available housing, houses sitting empty, unmanageable arrears, and debts carried over from family members who have passed on.

Young people who want to live on their own have no choice but to live with their parents or leave their community. If they choose to leave, families are separated and traditional ways of life are threatened.

Unfortunately, I have also heard of increased homelessness in Hay River, a growing concern when housing problems have driven young people, single adults, and single-parent families from the reserve. They are left to struggle through the housing waiting lists.

To secure stability, safety, and food security, to ensure basic human dignity, our residents need homes. These homes must be adequate, affordable, suitable and accessible.

This is a fundamental right that belongs to every individual under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Not only that, Mr. Speaker, but the Members of the K'atlodeeche First Nation are also party to Treaty 8.

When Treaty 8 was signed in 1899, it was understood by the Dene that they and their descendants would be served by the Crown's fulfilment of Treaty terms, including rights to housing.

Instead, today I see unfulfilled promises and commitments and empty promises, layers of excuses, complicated problems with land and program access.

Mr. Speaker, in the face of this, I could only conclude that the GNWT and the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation are failing to meet their obligations because Dene people are First Nations and choose to live on a reserve.

We keep hearing that it's a federal responsibility; we are told that it's someone else's problem.

No, Mr. Speaker.

Immediate action is needed on the part of this government -- immediate action and collaboration with both the chief and council and the federal government.

A small bit of progress has been made with the recent purchase of 10 houses, but it will be at least another year before residents can access them. Has the community not waited long enough? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Taltson River Dam
Members’ Statements

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marci cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker [English translation not provided] Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Last November I spoke about the community of Rocher River and the people of the Taltson River. I mentioned a dam that was built after the federal government refused to rebuild the school that had burnt down.

The people of Rocher would say that the loss of the school in 1959 and the federal government's push to move everyone to Fort Resolution made it possible to build the Taltson River dam without any real opposition. Only the chief of the day told the government that he was in opposition to the dam.

The dam is needed to provide electricity to the Pine Point Mine; the mine operated from the early 1960s to 1988.

When the dam went into operation, the muskrat and beaver that lived on Taltson either moved inland to small lakes and creeks or were killed by the fluctuating water levels on the river.

Mr. Speaker, over the last few years muskrat and beaver had been returning to the Taltson River; however, this winter there was a great surge in the water level and it appears that the ice belt was broken up. At least one outfitter sustained thousands of dollars in damage due to the flood.

This outfitter has been operating there for 31 years, and has only seen this change in the water level happen once before, in December 2006. At that time, the NWT Power Corporation was pursuing the Deze project that would have extended the hydro line from the Taltson River dam to the diamond mines.

A couple of trappers were affected by the flood, and the NWT Power Corporation made some sort of settlement with them. The problem was clearly caused by water released by the dam, which made it impossible for the trappers to pursue their traditional economy safely.

Mr. Speaker, sudden floods and ice breaking up in the middle of winter is not a natural phenomenon; the water is coming from water held back by the Taltson dam.

Elders speak of when the river sustained the livelihood for a community of 200 to 300 people. Today, there is almost no traditional economy on the Taltson River. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Taltson River Dam
Members’ Statements

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marci cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, there are a handful of trappers who continue to live off the land and a couple of outfitters who are still able to operate, but now, Mr. Speaker, one outfitter at the mouth of the Taltson River may be wiped out. He has built his business over years and employs at least six people each summer.

Mr. Speaker, at this point the NWT Power Corporation has refused to take responsibility for this problem. The Minister indicates the dam is too far away to have caused the problem.

This claim is not consistent with the traditional knowledge of the river and area. Ever since the federal government built the dam, there has been battle after battle over damage caused by flooding, and usually a refusal by the Power Corporation to take any responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to think that our new devolved and evolving government and the Power Corporation we own would listen to people on the land, but so far we hear the same old denial of responsibility. This is not acceptable, Mr. Speaker. Marci cho.

Taltson River Dam
Members’ Statements

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Nahendeh Housing Challenges
Members’ Statements

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, when somebody or a department is doing something right or is improving the way we do business, we need to recognize this work.

In the past 15 years I've had a number of challenging issues regarding housing and, more particularly, arrears to deal with.

In addressing the arrears issues, the Minister and the Housing Corporation sent out an e-mail regarding the eviction process this past year. To me, the most important message in this e-mail was that the NWT Housing Corporation and its local housing authorities want to ensure that tenants stay in their homes. To successfully keep tenants in their rental units, they need to meet their obligations of paying rent on time, not building up arrears, taking care of the unit, and not disturbing their neighbours.

However, like most things in life, challenges pop up and people end up in arrears. This is an issue and can lead to a notice of eviction.

Mr. Speaker, I'm happy to say this is not the end. With the help of the Corporation and the Minister we have been able to set up repayment plans that work for the tenants.

Sometimes it is as simple as bringing in their income tax forms and the Housing Corporation does a recalculation and the arrears might be reduced.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister and the Corporation for their willingness to work with the residents of the NWT.

Mr. Speaker, I wish I could end my statement here and say everything is great with housing; however, like everything else in this world, things aren't always great.

In my budget address I wanted to share an issue with you about homes that did not have running water, power, and heat except for a wood stove. They also have sewer challenges. These people live in third-world conditions, and nothing is done because they live in private homes. They continue to try, but fail to get the government to put more funds into their homes for a number of reasons. The government needs to do a better job of addressing this issue of looking after our residents. Mr. Speaker, the Housing Corporation needs to look at this issue and start working on ways to help them.

Mr. Speaker, later on today I'll have questions for the Minister responsible for the Housing Corporation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Nahendeh Housing Challenges
Members’ Statements

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. The City of Yellowknife has explored innovative ways to improve energy efficiency of our housing, reduce the cost of living, create local employment, and help fight climate change. Their focus is on reducing use of space heating energy, and the proposal is expertly researched in the excellent Pembina Institute Report, "Loans for Heat: Towards a Yellowknife Energy Savings Program." I will be tabling that document later today.

Energy retrofits could include installing wood or pellet stoves, improving insulation and air sealing, and switching to more efficient furnaces and boilers.

Many people lack savings or credit to apply for energy retrofits upfront; that's where local improvements charges, or LICs, come in and why they're being used across Canada. Under an LIC program, the municipality enables homeowners to get low-interest loans for energy retrofits, then pay back the loans on their property tax bills through lower energy costs for home heating. The loan is tied to their property rather than to the property owner, so if an owner sells the house, the debt passes to the new owner. Because LIC has enabled people with limited savings and poor access to credit to go ahead with retrofits, LICs can bring lower energy bills to low-income families who need the savings the most.

Our Cities, Towns and Villages Act already allows municipalities to use LICs to help cover the cost of infrastructure investments such as sewers and sidewalks. LICs are not being used for improvements to individual properties, because the wording of the act is poorly suited for an effective energy efficiency financing program.

For some years, the city has been asking this government to amend the Cities, Towns and Villages Act to allow for LICs. A 2013 resolution of the NWT Association of Communities urges this action. The GNWT's 2013 Energy Action Plan commits to doing this, as well. I was very pleased last week to hear the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs say this legislative amendment has moved onto the department's list of legislated priorities for this Assembly. With a very simple legislative amendment, our government can enable our cities, towns, and villages to more effectively join the fight on climate change, reduce our cost of living, create local jobs, and improve our housing stock. Let us make this happen, Mr. Speaker.

I will have questions later today for the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Daniel McNeely

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. This government, as it draws closer to the budget completion, identifies and continues to support youth programming.

In preparation for tomorrow's generation on challenges and opportunities, the public alliance sector is a prime example of opportunities for careers and training positions. These and in preparation are listed in the Skills 4 Success strategy.

Last year the Sahtu Educational Division sponsored an excellent gathering turnout targeted to the region's youth. This group held career identification through departmental visits, senior personnel presentations, and so on.

Marketing the public sector opportunities is not only the right thing to do, but provides awareness and confidence in the NWT residents, particularly the youths, to enhance further education on broadening their potential.

The benefits are twofold, Mr. Speaker: upgrading our youth into entering the workforce; secondly, provide life skills security.

Mr. Speaker, just the words "early childhood development" gives meaning to this government's initiative. This, however, starts with a sound and stable home. I will have questions for the appropriate Minister later. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today, I want to speak about a catch-22 facing some of the retirement-aged seniors in my riding. They are well into their 60s, and they would like to retire after a long and full work life. They have worked hard, but for limited income, and they haven't been able to buy a condo or home along the way; and they don't have future income to look forward to, except the most basic federal pension. They cannot afford to retire and pay market rent for a place to live. Where will they live in the so-called "golden years"?

One potential remedy is Avens Court. It has 32 units that are subsidized so that tenants pay no more than 30 per cent of their income on rent. The down side is that demand for these units vastly exceeds the supply. There are about 60 people on the waiting list. Just three of these units turned over last year, so at that rate, people will spend 20 years on the waiting list.

Mr. Speaker, another potential remedy is Northern United Place. It also offers subsidized living to seniors. It also has a waiting list, although not as dramatic as Avens. There is also subsidized housing with Yellowknife Housing Authority, yet again, it has a substantial waiting list, especially of single people waiting for units.

There is another catch-22 working seniors face. While they are working, their income is too high to qualify for subsidized housing, and they have the money to pay market rent. Once they stop working, their income decreases dramatically. They have to continue to pay market rent until they get to the top of one of the waiting lists and into a subsidized apartment they can afford. The problem is that when being evaluated for eligibility or seniors housing, be it Avens, Northern United Place, or public housing in general, their income is assessed not as it would be if they were retired, but as it is while they continue to work.

This makes no sense, Mr. Speaker. For one of my constituents, this basically means he can never retire. If he quits work and does not have a low-cost housing spot, he cannot make his rent. If he keeps working, his income means that he will never get to the top of a crammed list.

This individual set of circumstances obviously begs the larger question of the availability of seniors housing, or innovative rent supplement solutions which might enable the much lower-cost option as seniors age in place. I will have questions for the Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.