Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. It is getting harder and harder for our lower-income families to make ends meet. These days, people have to scrimp and save every penny to pay the bills. This often means that things which were once considered a necessity, like insurance, are becoming a luxury that people cannot afford.
According to a 2018 study by JD Power, the average annual home insurance premium in Western Canada is $1,200, meaning is it likely to be even higher in the North, and, with the catastrophes wrought by climate change, insurance costs are on the rise. When it comes to the choice between spending $100 per month on food for your children versus paying the money to an insurance company for peace of mind, I know what choice most people would make.
[Translation] just not long ago, I talked to the chief of K'atlodeeche First Nation. They wanted to fix their house, but they could not because Northwest Territories Housing Corporation said no. So a lot of them do not have any homes, like the Katlo Deedhe, too, and we need to do that. That is why we need to do these things. We need to review it. We need to look at it. [Translation ends]. Under these programs, their household income must be below the core need income threshold for their community, which means that these people are of modest means. Most of them have worked very hard to be able to own their own homes, and they have a long history of being responsible and independent.
It is important for people who own their homes to keep up with repairs. Routine maintenance can help lower heating costs and keep a home safe and cozy. Other repairs such as roofing or structural improvements require specialized work, but they are also important for ensuring that a house will be liveable for many years to come.
While I can understand that the Housing Corporation wants to make sure their investment in these homes is protected, the requirement for homeowners insurance is a big barrier to accessing the program. As my constituent pointed out, for some seniors, it's not just an affordability issue. Sometimes, people get denied for other reasons. As he pointed out, "It is not like seniors have a right that the insurance companies must honour." In the North, people have the added challenge that they can't shop around for the best insurance rates. In Hay River, there is only one insurance provider. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to continue my statement.
---Unanimous consent granted