This is page numbers 1443 - 1480 of the Hansard for the 19th 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.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Diane Archie, Hon. Frederick Blake Jr., Mr. Bonnetrouge, Hon. Paulie Chinna, Ms. Cleveland, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Hon. Julie Green, Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Lafferty, Ms. Martselos, Ms. Nokleby, Mr. Norn, Mr. O'Reilly, Ms. Semmler, Hon. R.J. Simpson, Mr. Rocky Simpson, Hon. Shane Thompson, Hon. Caroline Wawzonek

The House met at 1:31 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 1443

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It has always been my belief that partnership between our communities, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and other levels of government is the key to increase affordable housing in the Northwest Territories. Through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, we have an opportunity to make this a reality.

The co-investment fund has the potential to bring significant investments into communities across the Northwest Territories, working in partnership with all levels of governments, private market investors, and non-governmental organizations.

Working with the federal government to improve the programs in the Northwest Territories is ongoing. Although, we have had a number of successes, including the dedicated "carve off" of $60 million under the fund, in the Northwest Territories. There is still more work that needs to be done to ensure that this funding works for the Northwest Territories. We have heard that applications can take a long time to process. The applicants are in favour of northern applications. In both 2019 and 2020, the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation met and worked with the federal government to discuss identified problems with the National Housing Co-investment Fund and to seek clarity around easing the restrictions and the process of making applications more accessible under the fund.

Mr. Speaker, achieving the goals of the national housing strategy will only be realized once applicants can successfully access these funds. The number of applicants coming into the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is increasing, and we are hearing more and more interest from community partners.

The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is continuing to support and implement these federal programs throughout the Northwest Territories. We are conducting joint presentations with CMHC at the community level. The NWTHC and community housing corporation have formed a joint review committee for the program, which will work to ensure applications are handled in a timely manner. The Housing Corporation also assists the CMHC by taking a "no wrong door approach" that field introductory questions by stakeholders, providing an overview of the process, and funneling proponents to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation specialists.

Additionally, we recognize that the proposal and application approach of the National Housing Co-investment Fund is a barrier for smaller communities, that they face challenges due to limited proposal development capacity. As such, as creating community engagement advisor positions to promote and market the program, assisting developers with applications, and help communities to be clear and develop project ideas.

The territorial government, through the Housing Corporation has the potential to be a primary partner in the co-investment fund projects with the CMHC, and other housing stakeholders. This could include partnership in co-investment projects through access to NWTHC's Community Housing Support Initiative.

However, the Housing Corporation is not required by CMHC to commit upfront 25 percent of the project costs without first having an opportunity to review and develop a business case and a resourcing plan that has fully vetted all possible sources of funding. For example, a proponent's application could have them accessing up to 95 percent of federal financial assistance through a combination of both low-cost financing and grant or additional partner contributions. Maximizing federal partnership and other partners' contributions is critical to ensure that GNWT funds can be leveraged across numerous projects.

Mr. Speaker, we are also making progress in the community housing plans. As we get further into the completion of those plans, we will be identifying other opportunities of investment. This will help with the creation of the business plans and needs assessments that will assist in the selection of projects under the co-investment fund.

This is the future of suitability, adequacy, and affordability for affordable housing in the Northwest Territories. With our limited resources, we cannot do this alone. The National Housing Co-investment Fund will allow the community-led responses to housing development that will need to meet the needs of Northerners. I encourage all the interested partners to reach out to the NWTHC and CMHC, and I look forward to seeing all the new applications come in. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Mr. Speaker, I move that this statement be moved into Committee of the Whole for further discussion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you. The motion is in order. To the motion.

Some Hon. Members

Question.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

---Carried

The Minister's statement will be moved into Committee of the Whole. Thank you. Ministers' statements. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Increasing the number and variety of culturally respectful, community-based, mental health and addictions programs, including after-care is a mandate commitment of the Government of the Northwest Territories. Addictions continue to be a prevalent issue in the Northwest Territories and one that affects far too many of our residents. This government, led by the Department of Health and Social Services, continues to work towards addressing residents' unique needs and to reduce addictions by providing access to treatment, after-care supports, and recovery.

Addictions recovery looks different for each individual. There is no "one size fits all" approach. As such, the department is working to improve options and choices for individuals and families as they pursue recovery in a way that works for them. The Stepped Care 2.0 Model provides rapid same day access to mental wellness and addictions recovery supports that include e-mental health apps, online self-help services, and skill-based programming options. The implementation of a Stepped Care 2.0 Model and approach to care will provide residents with a range of options that they can choose from as and when needed. Stepped Care 2.0 aligns with the seamless care pathway approach. The seamless care pathway, which is the foundation of the Mental Wellness and Addictions Recovery Action Plan, ensures individuals and families have timely access to the right level of care that is solution-focused and based on their present needs.

Mr. Speaker, as part of the larger Stepped Care 2.0 approach, we are continuing to enhance the community counselling program. We are now offering same day appointments across the territory to increase access and reduce wait times for residents seeking counselling. The department is also continuing to support regional and community Indigenous governments to deliver land-based programming for mental wellness and addictions recovery. Beginning this year, the department will also be working with communities to establish peer support programming like Alcoholics Anonymous and Wellbriety at the community level. Additionally, because the availability of safe sober housing close to home is a key piece of supporting individuals in their recovery, we are also exploring options for a transitional housing model that will meet the needs of NWT residents in recovery.

Mr. Speaker, one of the ways we are enhancing services for addictions recovery is by adding more options for facility-based addictions treatment. The department recently issued a request for proposals from southern addictions facilities to provide treatment programming to NWT residents.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that as a result of this RFP process, the number of treatment facilities contracted by the GNWT has increased from four to six. Effective October 1, 2020, the department has contracts with Thorpe Recovery Centre, Renascent, Poundmaker's Treatment Lodge, Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Edgewood Treatment Centre, and Aventa. I have toured some of these facilities myself, and I can confirm that services provided are excellent and much appreciated. By increasing the number of service providers, we can ensure we provide a wide range of specialized services, including gender-specific programing, family programming, programming for individuals with FASD, medical detox options, expedited intake of pregnant women, and extended care options.

Mr. Speaker, we also anticipate that the addition of these two new facilities will help to reduce wait times for treatment. However, because of the pandemic, every treatment facility is currently operating at reduced capacity. While we anticipate better access in the future, we will likely continue to see longer wait times until these facilities return to full service. In addition to the expansion of these facility-based options for residents, the department is also working to implement several eMental Health options. One of these options is an interactive after-care recovery app. This will be available for NWT residents to support them in their recovery and wellbeing.

Expanding the range of options, Mr. Speaker, means more choice for residents. The availability of additional options for facility-based treatment, and the enhancement and introduction of other addictions recovery and after-care programs and support options will ensure residents have access to the right combination of supports at the right time.

These are important steps in providing an improved ability to support mental wellness and addictions recovery, thereby creating meaningful change for individuals, families, communities and the territory as a whole. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Appropriate community engagement is vitally important to all Government of the Northwest Territories departments and agencies, including the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation. I know first-hand the value of having the voice of small communities heard at the political level. It is also important to me that, instead of having community representatives come into the capital to discuss their issues and concerns, that I come to them to speak to our people in their home community, to see housing conditions for myself, to speak with the staff on the ground.

Mr. Speaker, this summer, I travelled to 14 out of the 33 communities. I had the opportunity to discuss with local and Indigenous leadership in those communities and took those opportunities to highlight the many opportunities of the Housing Corporation programming and promote the community housing plan process and also the co-investment federal funding opportunity. During these community visits, I toured assets and ongoing construction to see what we are putting on the ground. It is one thing, Mr. Speaker, to read in briefing notes about good work that the corporation is doing, but it is another to see that infrastructure come to life. I also had the opportunity to talk with district and local staff, congratulating them for the work that they have done and discussing areas of improvement. These people on the ground, the LHO staff in our communities, are working hard to get this work done.

Mr. Speaker, it was very critical for me to highlight on these trips that one of the most effective tools for the community engagement is the community housing plan process. These community housing plans are developed hand-in-hand with local and Indigenous governments to ensure that locally and appropriate housing solutions are developed for all communities. When completing these plans with the guidelines and support the housing aspirations of all communities in the NWT. Mr. Speaker, at this time, one of these plans for the community of Whati has been completed. Further, the Housing Corporation staff have met with representatives of 15 other communities to discuss their community housing plans. Despite the difficulties that the pandemic can present to the community engagement activities, I am pleased to say that four more community housing plans are close to completion.

We recognize that the development of community housing plans for all 33 communities in the Northwest Territories is ambitious, and it's an undertaking we are committed to work with, all of our partners and the community members in a meaningful and a respectful way. Developing these community plans can take time, especially while ensuring that all of our staff, partners, and community members are following appropriate COVID-19 precautions. However, these plans are too important. I am confident that these plans will be tremendously of benefit, a huge benefit, to all the communities of the NWT. I look forward to sharing the completed plans with the Members as they become available, and importantly, I look forward to the improvement of housing outcomes these plans will bring to our communities.

In closing, I want to thank the community leaders, the residents who are able to meet with me and simply greet me on the street. Schedule with our leaders, schedule with our Indigenous groups and governments are jam-packed, but we were able to be everywhere and not to be everywhere at once. I want to get the point sometime in our four years that, when an appearance by the Housing Minister is given on the street and the community does come forward with ideas, that I take them seriously. I take them seriously to enhance our programming that we display as the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, and I look forward to continuing my trips throughout the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Ministers' statements. Colleagues, just before we continue, please be mindful of the interpreters. I think they are in overdrive right now. Just take your time. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Hay River South.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the North, we have a severe deficit when it comes to housing for our residents. Although the NWT Housing Corporation is responsible for upwards of 2,400 public housing units, we still know of families and individuals living on the streets, in shelters, or with relatives. In the southern part of the NWT, this is costing this government on average approximately $600,000 per unit to build. While in the North, it can be around $1 million per unit. This, in many instances, does not take into account the cost of administration, land, and land preparation.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT Housing Corporation is planning for a combination of 22 new and replacement units across the NWT. I am pleased to hear that two new units are for Hay River. However, these two units will be used to replace the six that were demolished to make way for RCMP housing in the community. That is correct, Mr. Speaker. Hay River lost six units and received two. It does not take a mathematician to figure out that the community is now in a deficit compared to last year.

Mr. Speaker, without the support of the federal and territorial governments, housing problems facing our northern residents would be worse than they are now. However, saying that, it does not take away from the fact that we are not utilizing our funds as efficiently as we could. There is $60 million in the co-investment fund provided by the federal government, and approximately two years later, not a penny has been accessed. In September, the federal government announced the rapid housing initiative, a $1-billion program. These funds, if accessible, would not only provide much-needed housing but also provide safe places for family to access services from organizations like the Hay River Family Support Centre and others.

Mr. Speaker, from the outside looking in, the NWT Housing Corporation appears to have become stagnant and lost sight of its purpose. It appears to have raised a white flag and surrendered. I know that people employed by the Housing Corporation are good people. I know they have great ideas, are passionate and enthusiastic. I look to the Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and this government to show leadership and provide that encouragement and support.

Mr. Speaker, times are changing; family sizes are changing; lifestyles are changing; the NWT is changing. It is reasonable to expect that the NWT Housing Corporation will embrace this change and consider adopting a new business model for public housing delivery. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Members' statements. Member for Great Slave.

Housing
Members' Statements

Page 1446

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As the 19 of us gathered this time last year to discuss our priorities for our term in office, we had a rare moment of actual consensus where all of us agreed the Northwest Territories was dealing with a housing crisis. One year later, we have not moved the needle on this critical issue as our government continues to focus mainly on COVID, creating additional layers of bureaucracy, rather than on the needs of our vulnerable citizens and how we have been failing them.

My home is my sanctuary. It is my refuge where I calm my soul and recover from the stresses of my day. It is my legacy and my security, the means to one day help my nieces and nephews or my plan B should life throw new challenges my way. I am proud of my home, that I was even able to purchase it, given I arrived in the North with nothing in my pocket 14 years ago. I am proud that it is a place to entertain my friends as well as to offer them comfort and solace in their times of need.

When people do not have the security of a place to safely lay their head at night, it affects all aspects of their lives. Without safety, sleep is elusive. Without sleep, people cannot function, and the mental health effects ripple throughout their lives. The stress of not having a home often leads to mental and physical abuse, addictions, and public health matters. Embarrassment of one's home or lack thereof can lead to depression and suicide. Intimate partners will stay in domestic violence situations longer rather than risk being homeless by themselves or with their children.

Mr. Speaker, this is not right. This is a situation we can start to deal with immediately. Throughout our territory, there are numerous empty housing units awaiting repair or retrofits. Why is this not a priority of this Cabinet, to get these units into circulation? Elsewhere, contracts are awarded for new units that often cost the public purse double what a private sector developer could build for. Why does this continue to happen? Why are we not being smarter with our dollars and ensuring we get quality work for what we pay for? Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister of housing. Thank you.

Housing
Members' Statements

Page 1447

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. I would like to paint the picture of the plight, struggles, addictions, and a host of other mental health issues of many of the vulnerable demographic of my community. Mr. Speaker, my community is no different than many of the other Indigenous Dene communities, where people are dependent on income assistance or are fortunate enough to find a job, eking out a living, and living from paycheque to paycheque. Because of the lack of jobs in a stymied local economy, my people are very susceptible to addictions such as alcohol and drugs. With this comes a myriad of issues, including the mental health of the vulnerable population. When faced with a bleak future and threatened, the mental health of these people escalates, and more often than not, they are driven deeper into their addictions and depression.

Mr. Speaker, we have to understand the local situation in terms of what is available to combat the addictions in our community. There is nothing. Let me repeat that again: there is nothing. My community does not have an addictions treatment centre. My community does not have a family violence centre. My community does not have a woman's shelter, nor do we have an alcohol and drug counsellor, which I may add is a much-needed position for our community. What I know most of all is that we don't have a homeless shelter for people who are facing evictions or have been evicted from a public housing rental unit.

Has this government ever contemplated trying to deliver these resources into the community, to help my people to try to better themselves or have places to go, rather than walk the streets? I will have questions for the housing Minister at the appropriate time. Mahsi.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Deh Cho. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, I am bringing up our northern airlines. On September 10, 2020, the federal government and our territorial government gave the airlines $31.9 million, which we are really grateful for. This funding was intended to support northern airlines to continue essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airlines provided essential services to the NWT residents, especially living in the remote communities which we represent.

I am glad that the federal government and our territorial government stepped up with this COVID funding as this will make the northern airlines continue to provide essential services such as medevacs or food resupply chain and providing medical travel for the people up and down the valley. The funding is meant to ensure that northern airlines can return to their full schedules, now; minimize layoffs; and stay financially viable during this long pandemic crisis that we're in.

This is not enough, to throw money at the airlines and make sure they are spending it for the right reasons. Nine point three million dollars was given to the Canadian North, Mr. Speaker. I fly that airline. You fly that airline back home to the Delta. At this time, I'm seeing no evidence of improvement of service. We give them that money. We fly in overcrowded flights, which people are already scared of getting COVID-19, travellers at greater risk, and not seven-days-a-week service. What's up with that? We're not even getting jet service, now. We're getting turboprop and smaller jets when we should be getting 734 service. We paid for it. We're paying for it. It's plus, plus, plus for them. They get government travel, medical travel. It's ongoing.

Nunavut also, Mr. Speaker, gave $24 million to Canadian North, so that is doubling up. Earlier this month, the Nunavut government assured Nunavut MLAs of their agreements that prohibit the airlines from using COVID-19 money to pay out bonuses. I want to make sure that their executives are not using it to do the same with our funding that we're giving them. Mr. Speaker, it is important to support our essential services sectors. The government needs to ensure accountability on how the money is spend. Later today, I will have questions for the Minister of Finance at the appropriate time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. The Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment launched the long-awaited review of the fiscal regime for the NWT mining industry last week. It got off to a rather rocky start with the release of a review of taxation and royalty rates across a number of jurisdictions that did not deal with actual revenues or even a full comparison of competitiveness.

I said in this House last week that it's hard to envision a fair and balanced approach to reviewing government revenues from mining when those amounts are kept totally secret. There is a solution that does not compromise the financial competitiveness of the mining industry: the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, or EITI, was started in 2004. It is a partnership among governments, companies, and civil society with an office located in Norway. A global standard to promote the open and accountable management of oil and gas and mineral resources has been developed and adopted by 54 countries. The corporate supporters of the EITI standard include Anglo American and Rio Tinto, that are owners or operators of two of the three NWT diamond mines.

The standard requires the disclosure of information along the extractive industry value chain from the point of extraction to how revenues make their way through the government and how they benefit the public. The initiative and its standard seek to strengthen public and corporate governance, promote understanding of natural resource management, and provide the data to inform reforms for greater transparency and accountability in the extractive sector. Canada is a supporting country, along with others such as the US, UK, the Scandinavian countries, and European states. Although Canada is not an implementing country, the federal government's Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act provides an equivalent level of reporting to the EITI standard.

The public and the Minister can already see the revenues paid to GNWT and Indigenous governments by the three mines currently in production, although there are problems with the way this is reported. Cabinet could change the Mining Regulations to require public reporting of mining royalties next week, if there was the political will. Private multinationals seem more committed to transparency than our Cabinet. What democratic government doesn't support openness and transparency in public reporting of resource revenues? I will have questions later today for the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Members' statements. Member for Thebacha.

Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, my Member's statement today is about unity. As someone who served as an elected leader for 14 years, most of which within Indigenous governance, I have come to know a thing or two about working together. As a public government and as elected officials in this House, we have certain expectations by the public that we must fulfill and uphold. Among our many responsibilities as leaders, first and foremost is about the importance of relationships, whether it's the relationship between us and our constituents, the relationship between Regular Members and the Cabinet, or the working relationships that all MLAs must maintain while in the Legislative Assembly.

After serving in this House for just over a year, I have come to see a growing division among many Members, and I find it very concerning. I know that disagreements on policy, programs, and services are a given. That is expected. However, I am seeing certain disagreements being taken to new heights, resulting in unnecessary personal attacks and mudslinging done constantly.

Mr. Speaker, the media always thinks that this House is disorganized and chaotic, so I think it's extremely important that we as MLAs rise above that sort of behaviour to ensure we maintain public confidence in their government. People who demonstrate good leadership skills can put aside their differences and work through animosity for the sake of the people they serve. At this time, I am not seeing that being done in this House, at least not enough. We should be able to respectfully disagree and provide constructive criticism to one another while still being able to govern the territory effectively. We should not just attack each other for the sake of attacking or for getting a good news headline.

I will admit, Mr. Speaker, I have had some disagreements with people in this building. However, I don't carry it around with me all the time wherever I go. That isn't healthy, for either my personal health or for the health of the government. Therefore, I always ensure that any animosity that comes my way is left in the room where it has occurred. I seek unanimous consent to complete my statement, Mr. Speaker.

---Unanimous consent granted

Frieda Martselos

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate the importance for leaders to always treat all staff members with respect and dignity and to be thankful for the work they do. Everyone deserves to work in a safe and healthy environment, and I hope we can set a good example of that in this House. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Steve Norn

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Today, I am going to talk about the need for more assistance regarding home-ownership opportunities for residents of the NWT. Mr. Speaker, in the coming days, many of our residents are going to see an influx of money from class action law suits. The Indian Day School and Sixties Scoop survivors in our communities will see a one-time payment to them. I won't tell our residents how all they should spend their money, but they have told me they will look at home ownership. I would like to explore ways to assist them.

Mr. Speaker, there are some barriers I have seen when it comes to home ownership in the North. I believe we must expand on these services offered to our residents. One barrier is the massive amount of arrears that we are seeing at the local housing authority level. We often see assessing of people's incomes to pay for rent arrears. The GNWT needs to address the way assessments are done to account for fluctuations of income. Many of my constituents have different levels of income on any given day, depending on seasonal work and short-term contracts.

Other barriers, Mr. Speaker, include the inability to buy land or homes on certain lands, an inability to get home insurance, and government programs which require land tenure before any work gets completed. This is a huge problem in my riding in particular where a program such as the CARE program is inaccessible to people who are unable to buy the land on which the home sits. At the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, I think we all want to see our residents invest in themselves to get away from this, being perpetually dependent on public housing rent, and move towards being home owners wherever they can. Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Members' statements. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Homelessness
Members' Statements

Page 1449

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Homelessness is not something new, but when I was growing up, I did not see it in my community. What I see now are elders to youth homeless. One thing that I do remember is: there were people who lived out on the land who did come to town. There were people who had a home in town and had a home on the land. Then there were people who lived just on the outskirts of town in my community, in tents. To me, that was their home.

The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has committed to development of an NWT-wide homelessness strategy. Through this strategy, the NWT Housing Corporation has committed to working with the NWT, federal, and Indigenous partners to increase policy and program alignment and to support the work of community members who provide our much-needed, front-line programming.

Mr. Speaker, we know mental health and addictions are common factors that lead to and keep people homeless. In the NWT, we have two shelter programs that we could consider a public health response to addressing homelessness and addictions, the Yellowknife day shelter and sobering centre and the Inuvik Warming Centre.

Mr. Speaker, the delivery of homelessness programming is hard work that requires attention and support from our social envelope GNWT departments. I would like to raise the attention of the Inuvik Warming Centre in my community, which is struggling to provide this valuable programming. They need support. They need assistance to develop a program plan with trained staff, board training, programming management. Mr. Speaker, they need support to secure a permanent location to offer this programming. Without this program in our community, we know people are in danger of dying. People experiencing homelessness have died in my community. This was the reason the shelter was developed. I would also like to thank all of those in my community who have been volunteering and putting their time in and their heart into the Inuvik Warming Centre over the past year, since its creation. I will have questions for the Minister responsible for Homelessness. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Homelessness
Members' Statements

Page 1449

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Homelessness and Housing
Members' Statements

Page 1450

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was glad to hear both of the Minister's statements today on housing and my colleagues' statements on housing. I am confident this is a shared priority for all Members of this House. However, it's going to take significant community or political will to accomplish this, Mr. Speaker. I am glad to hear we are making community housing plans for all 33 communities. However, I want to note that Yellowknife already has a 10-year plan to end homelessness. It was federally funded. It was fully researched, and it's costed. We need $140 million to end homelessness. We can make more plans, and we can talk more, but at the end of the day, this is going to take money.

Mr. Speaker, there are plenty of federal pools out there. However, we need to assist organizations, we need to assist community governments, and we need the NWT Housing Corporation to take the lead on getting that federal money. With the political will, we can end homelessness in this territory. I believe that federal funding is there.

However, Mr. Speaker, I am concerned that far too often the NWT Housing Corporation is not a body committed to ending homelessness but is a landlord managing a portfolio. Mr. Speaker, this is one of the systemic problems we see. We need clear political leadership that goes to Ottawa with a plan that is costed and gets that money so we can truly move the dial on housing. Absent us doing it, it will not happen.

This territory saw two decades of economic prosperity as diamond mines opened, as thousands of jobs were created. Our economic forecast shows we are going to see 15,000 new jobs created as people start to retire.

Mr. Speaker, there are lots of jobs, so much so that we are asking immigrants to fill them. However, our people cannot take those jobs unless they are housed, and it requires government action to end homelessness. We can grow and create more jobs, but in that time period, we actually saw much of our housing fall into core need. We saw the Housing Corporation's portfolio age and not be maintained. During that time, homelessness actually increased because there was not significant government action to make this a priority. Mr. Speaker, this is a priority for this House. It requires a plan. It requires costing, and it requires us spending those dollars. I will have questions for the Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Homelessness and Housing
Members' Statements

Page 1450

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

National Housing Co-Investment Fund
Members' Statements

Page 1450

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Mr. Speaker, the North is facing a serious housing crisis. Over 50 percent of housing in small communities require major repairs, overcrowding is common, even of more concern during a pandemic. Over 900 people are currently on the public housing wait list, and Yellowknife's greatest challenge is affordability. In 2018, the federal government launched a $41-billion National Housing Strategy, including a $60-million allocation for the NWT co-investment fund.

Mr. Speaker, two years later, none of this funding has been used. Potential partners are busy providing front-line service to NWT residents and cannot meet the administrative burdens of a demanding application process. The GNWT is fully aware of these capacity issues and cannot afford to play a passive role. It is not even enough for them to act as a facilitator. The Housing Corporation must become an advocate and assume responsibility for ensuring this funding is fully accessed by non-governmental organizations. Seeking partnerships, promoting project opportunities, and facilitating applications must be a priority for the Minister responsible.

There are dozens of creative opportunities to use the co-investment fund. There is a need for after-care housing and supportive programming across the NWT. The on-the-land wellness initiative funding promoted by the Minister of Health and Social Services could be used for after-care supports. This is a perfect opportunity for Indigenous-owned and government-supported housing. In some NWT communities, teachers are living in schools where they teach. This, too, presents an opportunity for community-owned housing with guaranteed renters.

Mr. Speaker, the co-investment fund is not only for new construction. It can also be used for housing repair and renewal to develop energy-efficient, accessible, and socially inclusive housing. In the constituency I serve, there are two housing co-ops.

I am proud that Kam Lake's Borealis Co-op submitted an application for co-investment funding to retrofit their units. The federal government approved the Borealis application from the main National Housing Strategy funding pot, meaning that our $60-million allocation remains unsubscribed.

The Housing Corporation must provide a well-structured, -supported, and -communicated co-investment fund process with a creative and empowered leader.

In February, the Minister responsible advised this House that they would be hiring such a person. Increasing access to affordable homes and reducing core need is a mandate of this Assembly. It will be this government's failure if the Northwest Territories misses out on the opportunities this funding presents to address our long housing crisis, and that would be a Northern travesty, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

National Housing Co-Investment Fund
Members' Statements

Page 1450

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Member's statements. Member for Monfwi.

Housing Needs in Monfwi
Members' Statements

Page 1451

Jackson Lafferty

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] Mr. Speaker, we are commenting on NWT Housing Corporation. When we take a look at other housing issues in the communities, we have a lot of problems. Sometimes, we live in small houses. Sometimes, we all live in mansions. We all treat everyone the same. Housing Corporation, the way they allocate houses, that policy needs to be changed. Masi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation ends]

The NWT Housing Corporation 2020-2021 project list, dated April 30, 2020. I was not impressed with it. In fact, I was very upset, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we are all aware that Behchoko is the largest Indigenous community in the Northwest Territories. Behchoko has always had the greatest need for housing out of all the communities in the territory, and it still does; in fact, Mr. Speaker, almost 50 percent of the households in the communities of Behchoko, Whati, Gameti, and Wekweeti, also, according to Housing Corporation's own data.

Mr. Speaker, 2014 NWT community survey, six years ago, there's a household and core need: Behchoko, 205; Gameti, 34; Wekweeti, 6; and Whati, 59 at that time; waiting list at Behchoko, 54. Mr. Speaker, this was six years ago. I'm sure today's numbers will be almost double or even more.

Mr. Speaker, half of the households in my region are struggling. Mr. Speaker, that's half of my region. The lack of safe, suitable, and affordable housing in the community has contributed to numerous issues and challenges in my communities. Unfortunately, I do not have time to get into details today. Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for NWT housing Minister at the appropriate time. Masi.

Housing Needs in Monfwi
Members' Statements

Page 1451

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Eulogy of Perry Neis
Members' Statements

Page 1451

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. At the time of Perry's birth, his parents were living in Fort Resolution. Although there was a hospital, there was no doctor at the time. Therefore, he had to be born in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, May of 1963. The journey back to Fort Resolution was a float plane from Fort Smith because the runway in Fort Resolution was out at the time.

The family left Fort Resolution in 1966 but returned to the NWT February of 1974 and settled in Hay River. Perry was a natural athlete and competed in many sports: hockey, softball, baseball, basketball, swimming, and track and field. Through sports, he formed strong bonds of friendship to remain true his whole life. He travelled to various places in the Northwest Territories and Canada as a member of teams representing NWT. Perry set an NWT record for high jump in 1978 that was still intact in 1987.

Following high school, Perry worked for the Hudson Bay Company as a manager trainee, and in 1982, he moved positions within the company at Lac La Biche. Opportunities for retail management opened up with him at Mark's Work Warehouse, which ultimately led him to Fort McMurray where he met his wife. Together, they raised three children, Matthew, Cole, and Rachel.

In 1989, Perry completed post-secondary studies in the information technology field and worked for Suncor Energy as an IT specialist. The company moved the family to Airdrie in 2011. Perry remained with Suncor until 2008 and started a new career path as a journeyman motorcycle mechanic, blending a passion for fixing things and mechanics.

Perry's love with sports carried on throughout his life. Hockey, a faithful Oiler fan and a proud member of the Fort McMurray Rugby Knights football team. He always found ways to support and involve in the interests of his family and children, coaching, supporting, and mentoring. He took great pride in his family and friends. People were important to Perry, his family and friends, co-workers to be sure, but even those newly met. He spoke so easily with people. Drawing from his life experience, remarkable memory, and sharp wit, he had a knack for connecting with people. He cherished the connection he made with people and found great joy in relating stories after stories of good times and adventures. He was loyal to a fault and always watching out for others, a genuine, honest man.

Perry was proud of being from the Northwest Territories. He loved the landscape, but mostly the people who became part of his life. He remained connected with his friends and throughout his life, not just through phone calls, emails, and comments, and messages on Facebook but by making the time to visit.

Perry made many trips back to the NWT to connect with old friends and seeing beloved sites. Among his fondest memory is taking the sled out onto the Great Slave and laying underneath the stars and watching the brilliance of the northern lights. Perry will be sadly missed by his friends and family. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Eulogy of Perry Neis
Members' Statements

Page 1452

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nahendeh. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Item 6, acknowledgements. Item 7, oral questions. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Minister responsible for Homelessness. What is the new homelessness strategy identified in terms of support for community-based service providers to operate and build capacity to deliver program, specifically to my community of Inuvik? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Minister responsible for Homelessness.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has created a number of homelessness initiatives throughout the Northwest Territories. Specifically, to the Member's riding, we do have a homelessness shelter, and we do have a warming shelter. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has funded that program annually of $600,000. Also, we are aware of the current circumstances with the homelessness initiatives in her riding. We will be sending Housing Corporation support to work with those non-profit organizations. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Can the Minister tell me what partnership, if any, has the Minister identified through the strategy to help with these two areas in my community?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Within the Member's riding, we do have partnerships with the Town of Inuvik, and we do work with local organizations, as well, to making sure that we do address this issue within her community. Homelessness has come very significant throughout the Northwest Territories, and the Housing Corporation is committed to be working with each of the communities throughout the territory to find solutions.

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

The first question and the answer, I think I did hear that the Minister is going to be sending her staff up to Inuvik. One of my questions was: will she get a start on implementing the strategy by reaching out to the Inuvik warming shelter and help them to identify solutions to address their operational issues?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

The Inuvik warming shelter has been involved in the strategy. We did not complete the final draft of the document that will be available to Members and also having the support staff going into the community to help the Inuvik warming shelter to work with the employees and the board that are there. That's a commitment from the Housing Corporation.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the Minister. It's wintertime. I was home this weekend. There's lot of snow. It's cold. I'm glad that the Minister is going to send her staff in and start working with my community as we can't afford to have the place shut down, and that was in the media. Just at the beginning of the month, the board was thinking of dissolving the society. Will the Minister also get started on building these partnerships to work with the department of health to identify mental health, addiction supports, and training for clients and staff within this facility? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Working with the homelessness initiative throughout the territory does work, and we do work in collaboration with other government departments. I also hold the portfolio as the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. We do have NGO funding that is available for staff training, as well. I will follow up with the Member to provide further information. Also, we do work in conjunction with the department of health. I will follow up with the Member. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Nunakput.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, I brought up Canadian North and the funding that they received for COVID-19. Do we have an agreement with the airlines in regard to the COVID-19 relief fund, how the money is spent? If we do, if the Minister could provide a few examples. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Minister of Finance.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, there are two agreements. The first round of funding that was handed out was given in the form of grants. However, the second round of funding that went out did require a contribution agreement, and there are requirements for minimum services into the communities. Thank you.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

I thank the Minister for that. Are there agreements that prohibit the use of paying executive bonuses, in those agreements standing right now?

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Yes. That is one of the other items that is in the agreement, that recipients are not to make any dividend payments and also not to have any other management bonuses as part of the agreement for receiving that funding.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

The airlines receiving the funding from Nunavut, they must submit their financial records to the Nunavut government. Is our government asking the same? Are we getting them to submit their receivables and bank statements to this government?

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Yes. It's a very similar program here. In fact, all the airlines who received the funding had to submit their detailed financials in advance of receiving the funding. That was part of the way in which it was decided and determined by the Department of Finance, exactly how much would be given to each entity. The Member raises an important issue. I want to note that the Department of Finance and the Management Board Secretariat does continue to monitor compliance with this agreement to ensure that the minimum services are being provided.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Nunakput.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In regard to ensuring accountability to the airlines, how does it work for the accountability? What if the GNWT finds funding that was misspent? Are they required to pay the funding back? My last question: can they tell them to put seven-day service back in the Beaufort Delta? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Yes. At this point, like I said, we are continuing to monitor and ensure that there is compliance on the minimum frequencies. There is a provision in the agreement that does say that there is an encouragement, if you will, on the airline to, in fact, continue to implement an increase to the number of services that are being provided. I certainly will go back and follow up and make sure that, in fact, they have taken all steps that are reasonably available to the airline to increase the services. I, too, am hearing stories of the flights being full, so we will certainly go back and make sure that that has been done and that we are doing our very best to monitor that agreement to make sure that they are fulfilling it to the best of their ability. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Hay River South.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The National Housing Co-Investment Fund supports the new and revitalization construction of mixed-income, mixed-tenure, mixed-use affordable housing. Funded projects need support from another level of government to ensure coordination of investments. In this case, it's the GNWT or possibly other funds. Can the Minister of housing please explain to the people of the NWT why it is that, after two years, not a penny of the National Housing Co-Investment Fund has been accessed by any proponent in the NWT? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Hay River South. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The National Housing Co-Investment Fund is a federal program that is available to the Northwest Territories. There is also a national pot that is available to Canada, that is available nationally. The majority of the applications that have been received access the national pot; there is approximately $55 million for the Northwest Territories that was not allocated to the territory but allocated to the applicants.

The Housing Corporation has advertised for a co-investment project officer who will be hired for the Housing Corporation to work with CMHC. This summer, the Housing Corporation also travelled throughout the Northwest Territories with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to advertise and to gain Indigenous partnership and Indigenous interest, stakeholders, as well, to take part in the opportunity to apply for the co-investment fund. Right now, I am committed to working a lot stronger, a lot harder, getting the message out. I need NGOs to come forward. I need Indigenous groups to come and work with us. It's $60 million that has to be spent. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

The problem I see is that we have a program that has too many players. The question I have for the Minister is: has the Minister considered requesting authority from the federal government that her department receive and manage the disbursement of the $60-million co-investment fund in order to streamline the process to accommodate timely access by proponents?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Member, for that question, because this is a priority of the Housing Corporation, to have full access to the $60 million. Right now, we have proposed a carve-off of $10 million. We are working with the federal government, as well, and also lobbying for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation to at least have full access to the $60 million so that we could administer and we could let the federal government know that this is how houses need to be built in the Northwest Territories and this is how much it's going to be costing us. We do work within climate change, and we do have two dynamics in the territory: one is accessible by highway, and the other is accessible by river and by winter roads. We need to get these houses built.

Also, just for the Member, there is a significant change in the dollar amount to get these houses on the ground, if we're constructing in Hay River compared to constructing in Nunakput. We are dealing with a lot of COVID restrictions, as well, and a lot of challenges, so we are not able to get the amount of material that we would have normally got prior to COVID. We are also working at the ground level to construct units, but then we are facing challenges with contractors, as well, and with the community governments wanting new people into their community, but we are working strategically as a department.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

In part due to COVID, the Government of Canada, through CMHC, launched the Rapid Housing Initiative, a $1-billion program to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians through the rapid construction of affordable housing. The aim of the program is to commit all funds before March 31, 2021, to ensure that housing is available within 12 months of the agreement. Has the Minister been in contact with her federal counterpart to discuss this government's participation in the program? How does the Minister see this program benefitting the NWT, and are we in negotiation to access a portion of these funds?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I'm going to try to slow down. I was asked by the interpreters not to speak so quickly, but I get very passionate about the portfolio and trying to enhance the programs that we hold as the Housing Corporation and trying to let the public know that we are working very hard to get houses on the ground and meet the needs of the Northwest Territories.

In regard to the Member's comments, this is a new initiative that has been announced by the federal government. We have very little information right now, but the staff are making themselves available and more familiar with the program as it is being developed. Right now, we do have a rapid rehousing program within our department that is internally funded. This does not stop the Housing Corporation from going forward and lobbying for more money.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Hay River South.

Rocky Simpson

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is apparent that this government is on track to lose upwards of $80 to $100 million slated for much needed housing and part of it appears the department does not have sufficient staff or staff are not qualified to assist proponents in accessing these funds. Can the Minister commit to review the department's compliment of staff and ensure that additional qualified staff be hired to specifically on these two programs before they lapse? You're talking about $60 to $100 million here that we do not want to see disappear because we cheaped out on staffing. We need to staff these positions to a level where we access these dollars. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I just want to really emphasize on the staff of the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation that we are very unique. We do have representation right to the ground level and that are dealing with our clients right grassroots and at the community level. Representation and looking at further professionalism to adequately work with the funding that has been announced by the federal government, I believe that we do have those staff already hired. We have them in-house. I feel that we need to start getting them out. They need to start travelling, and we need to start advocating for federal dollars. I will be following up with the Member. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. Earlier today, I reviewed how our government continues to keep secret the revenues it collects from mining. Fifty-four countries around the world require public disclosure of this information to support sound natural resource management and best practices. Two of the three diamond mine owners also support this kind of transparency. Can the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment explain why her government continues to keep public revenues from mining secret? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We inherited the current mining regulation regime as part of devolution, and that is still this regime that we are operating under. One of the things that the department of ITI is tasked with doing during this Assembly is, in fact, to modernize the mineral resources regulations so that the new Mineral Resources Act can, in fact, come into force. Part of that work includes modernizing the transparency provisions that are currently in the regulations. For the moment, those regulations require confidentiality, have a confidentiality clause. It's one to which I'm bound. It's not dissimilar to something that is in many other Canadian jurisdictions. That's not to say that we won't be doing work to modernize ours and to bring it home and make it something that works for the best interests of the people of the Northwest Territories once that work gets done. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister for that. The devolution took place over six years ago, and the secrecy problem still has not been fixed. It's not from lack of trying on my part, and I'd rather not be here four years from now talking about it again. Can the Minister tell us whether there is a plan, what it might be, and what it might be that finally begin to disclose resource revenues in the interest of corporate best practices, transparency, and openness.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Yes. As I already indicated, the work of modernizing and bringing home the mineral resources regulations in order to enact the Mineral Resources Act is already underway. It's a very important piece of work that's happening in the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment. At this stage, we're expecting that, within the next 18 months to two years, there will be some drafting regulations that are available for consultation with the Indigenous governments, and by 2023, hopefully, things will be ready to roll out. That process is meant to be inclusive, it's meant to reflect the same sort of level of co-development process that the Mineral Resources Act underwent, and we want to make sure that we do that and engage all of those same stakeholders to the same level and degree so that they have a role and a voice to play as we develop these regulations, including improving and modernizing the transparency section.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister for that response. I said last week that any review of the fiscal regime for mining in the Northwest Territories is fatally flawed if there is no ability to analyze the actual revenues we receive. I want a healthy mining industry, but we also need to make sure that the public and Indigenous governments get a fair share of the revenues. Can the Minister explain how there can be a fair and balanced review of the fiscal regime from mining when the actual revenues are secret?

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

What was released last week wasn't a benchmarking report, it was step one of 12 different steps that are going to be used in order to evaluate the resources royalties sector within the regulations. That approach is one that is using a representative sample. Rather than saying what does this mine today, at this point in time, at this particular ore body, what does it pay in royalties, what we want to do is ensure that when we develop our royalty regime, we are actually developing a regime that's going to work into the future regardless of the ore, regardless of the location, regardless of the company. We want to ensure that our royalty regime is one that is going to be reflective of any type of resource activity that's happening here. What that report did is: it took a theoretical mine, a diamond mine size and one that's a metal size, took that and then compared that mine across all the different fiscal regimes so that we would know how the different fiscal regimes work, how the different tax regimes work, and know if we are going to be receiving a similar amount of resource revenue, royalty revenue, as it would in another jurisdiction.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I want to thank the Minister for that recap of what's in the study. Canada is a supporter of the extractive industry transparency initiative and has provided funding to a variety of countries to implement the standard, including Peru, Indonesia, Tanzania, Mongolia, all countries that actually disclose this kind of information, but we can't do it here. Canada has implemented the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, which is similar to the standard, but there are problems with the way the data is reported. I'll probably talk about that next week. Can the Minister tell us when her government will get on board and begin to report government revenues paid by individual companies? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. [Microphone turned off] ...with the principles set out by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

It is a good sign that two of the largest companies that operate mines here in the Northwest Territories are themselves supporters of the modernization of the regulatory systems worldwide. That is, I think, good news. It's reflective of the fact that we have good corporate social citizens here. The ESTMA Act is a federal act. It applies across Canada. We're part of a federal jurisdiction, and so to the extent that those same corporate companies that are operating here are reporting their information on that federal piece of legislation, then certainly that information is available and relevant when someone's trying to evaluate what kind of royalties they're paying here in the Northwest Territories. As I've said, Mr. Speaker, as far as modernizing our regulations, we're going to be using those best practices. I appreciate hearing that there will be some examples out there, albeit right now on a federal level, and it's certainly something we're going to continue to address with all stakeholders and do that in a measured and properly engaged process. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Deh Cho.

Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. My Member's statement alluded to the social ails of my people, especially the ones in housing's public rental units. I believe it's time this government realized that it is the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation that is creating this homelessness situation. They keep throwing out the most vulnerable people like we're not human beings, let's throw them out to fend for themselves. This is totally unacceptable. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is not a business. It is to deliver social housing, social programs to my First Nations people. My question is: will the Minister reconsider evicting my people for the foreseeable future as winter is now setting in? Mahsi.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Deh Cho. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is a social program. We do provide housing right at the ground level. We do have adequate rent assessments that are being delivered. I do understand where the Member is coming from. Looking at the evictions and our process, I just want to let the Member know that it is a lengthy process that is administered and that we follow throughout the Housing Corporation. Also, as the Minister for the Housing Corporation, safety is the number one issue, illegal activity, as well. We address all of those concerns first, before we actually get to the state of ultimate eviction notice for the clients. Right now, the Housing Corporation will not be evicting anybody during the winter months, and, should we see safety as an issue, we will have to deal with those case by case. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi for that, Minister. I spoke at length of the social ills faced by the people. Those are the parts you have to remember, all the people of my community. Will the Minister consider involving other departments to address the myriad of social problems faced by my people? This could come in the way of referrals to see, perhaps, a mental health counsellor, or if the community had an alcohol and drug counsellor, that would even be better.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

When we are dealing with our clients within our public housing units, I just want to inform the Member that we do have a number of programs that are available through the Housing Corporation. One of them I just want to explain is the northern pathways program. That does have wraparound services. That does work with the client to get them out of homelessness and work towards having them either become a home owner or entry back into public housing. I do work with my colleagues, as well, to identify stronger solutions that meet the needs of the Northwest Territories, and I look forward to looking at initiatives as I continue my tours throughout the Northwest Territories and also seeing how we could better adequately work with the people.

Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi for that. I believe housing has many empty units, and perhaps one could be converted to house the homeless. Mind you, this will need to be a collaborative approach by all departments to deliver this program. Will the Minister consider this option and meet with community leader to discuss possible scenarios?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I just wanted to also reflect that, on the tours that I did take throughout the Northwest Territories, I did go to the Member's community, and there were a number of units that we did identify that were beyond economic repair. I did see a lot of potential in that community. We also will be meeting with the Indigenous groups, as well, as a follow-up, because that is what we had done during the tours, and identify ideas and solutions. Homelessness is an issue throughout the territory, and looking at the number of programs that the Housing Corporation does have, I will be available to work with the Indigenous groups in the Member's community and help them to identify solutions and access the funding that the Housing Corporation does have.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Deh Cho.

Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Mahsi for that. I note that the Minister mentioned that a lot of the units that she saw were beyond economic repair. I think, as community leadership, we see those situations as being a lot different than her statements because they do, in fact, look livable. They need a bit of work, some minor work for repairs and everything. Because the idea we threw out to her was: fix them up to the basic level, and then let's give them away. That was one of the scenarios, anyways. Mr. Speaker, I do not have any further questions for the Minister, but I do want to say mahsi to her for giving consideration to the needs of my people. Mahsi.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Deh Cho. I will take that as a comment. Oral questions. Member for Monfwi.

Jackson Lafferty

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] Today, I would like to touch base on the housing, of how it has been allocated. I have talked about it. We live in a small community. We all do not live, some of them, everybody is not treated equally. Therefore, Mr. Speaker [Translation ends] ...Monfwi constituency, as I alluded to earlier in my statement, is more of that of Sahtu region. Mr. Speaker, imagine my surprise when I saw the Monfwi riding was only budgeted for 12 projects while the Sahtu region was budgeted for 33. These are NWT actual numbers, Mr. Speaker. The first question I have is: how is it that the Minister's constituency is set to have three times, three times, more housing projects than the Monfwi constituency when the Monfwi constituency has the greatest need of all our territory? Please explain.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, Member, for your comment. I just want to elaborate on that. The Sahtu region has established their own housing society. They do work in partnership, and we do have community initiatives where they take on their own housing projects within that community. Also, this year, we do have a roll-out of RCMP units that are coming out. The community of Deline, as well, has accessed federal money where they directly did not go through the Housing Corporation. My region is very active for housing solutions, and they have worked in conjunction with each other to try to find and alleviate their housing issue and their housing problem on their own. They did also look at the homelessness, as well, and looking at men's shelters, women's shelters. Right now, there is a lot of innovation that is happening throughout that region and a lot of success. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Jackson Lafferty

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

All of the communities, we do have a housing authority, as well, associations, so we should be treated similar. I just want to get across an equitable and fair process within this government. That leads me to my next question. Where the Minister alluded to earlier about the pathway program, with the distribution of these projects, housing projects into the communities, I have questions on the pathway program. Could the Minister explain how the Housing Corporation arrived at a particular income threshold for eligibility under the pathway program?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

In developing the northern pathways program, we had a lot of interest throughout the communities. A lot of our programming that we do develop starts at the community level and looking at the needs throughout the Northwest Territories and looking at the income threshold. The purpose of the northern pathways program is to help homeless people transfer into public housing or either home ownership. With wrap-around services, looking at that opportunity, we are also working with the addiction issues that we do have in the Northwest Territories, and we do work with the department of health.

Jackson Lafferty

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

I would like to give an example of a family-size versus a single-size income. The Housing Corporation bases home-ownership assistance on need. Family income is how the Housing Corporation determines that. What role does family size and disposable income play in deciding if the family has too much money to qualify for the pathway program?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

This is a discussion we are having within our department, as well, and I do hear the Member's concerns, as well, because he had brought this up in the past, before. We are a traditional territory, as well. We do have elders who are located in our public housing units, and we do have additional family members who do care for them. As the Housing Corporation, we do look at household income to determine the amount of rent that is going to be charged for that individual. Right now, I am looking at that, and I do come from a smaller community. I see this right at the grass roots. It does become an issue because it does happen that the elders who are either living privately or within the public housing units, that they end up not being qualified for certain programming. I do hear the Member's statement and his concerns. I will be working with my department, and we are actually looking at that and reviewing that right now.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Monfwi.

Jackson Lafferty

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Mr. Speaker. The threshold cut-off is $100,000. I'm referring to an individual that makes $115, and there are over $15,000 threshold. They have three kids and household income. Mr. Speaker, a family of five has been told that is well off, the home-ownership subsidies under a pathways program. This is not the first time. Of course, being on a single income, they aren't rich at all. A family of five can't wait for a lengthy program review in order to get the pathway application reconsidered as the Minister alluded to is under review. Mr. Speaker, would the Minister make an exception for this family? Would the Minister reconsider the family's application, realizing that, under circumstances, an extra $15,000 a year should not make them too well off for a home-ownership assistance program. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I do see that throughout the Northwest Territories. I do recognize the cost of living, as well, and I see the threshold of $100,000, that is the maximum for what the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has displayed. I also want to inform the Member, as well, we need to show consistency and fairness throughout the Northwest Territories when we're looking at our applications. We need to make sure that when we're looking at the applications, that we are fair and we are consistent and we are meeting the needs of the Northwest Territories but also that when the requests come into our office, we do find additional information that does burden those applications as we go forward. We do try to alleviate every single avenue we possibly can to making sure that these applicants are successful. I would like the Member to provide that information to my office so I can work with the client and provide a more thorough and further update to the Member. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Great Slave.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was very interested to hear my colleague's questions from the Deh Cho and the Minister's response about the economic repairs, so I'm curious to hear more from that about that from her, what is that threshold, as well. My questions are around the empty housing units, the ones that are still within the ability to be repaired. Could the Minister please tell me how many of these empty housing units are waiting repair, and what is her plan to ensure that there is a significant effort and progress in bringing these back into use? Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Great Slave. Minister responsible for Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. During COVID-19, the Housing Corporation did commit $5 million to bringing our units up to standard and having to meet the needs of the Northwest Territories. Looking at that commitment, we did put out a list of a substantial amount of units throughout the territory. Right now, I just want to say: approximately, not the exact number, but the last update I was given was 65 units that were ready-to-go and they were repaired. They were allocated at the community level, but we do have an additional amount of units that we are working with right now that I do want to make sure that if we have these ready and available, that the energy efficiency of those units are well, and that we do acknowledge that, as well, that if we're going to be renovating these units, that I want them to be ready, I want them to be done, and I want them to be very efficient.

The other thing is that I want the Member to know that we are realizing that we are having some complicated approaches, as well, to looking at our contracting going out. We do have some issues with allocating the contracts where the community members don't want new people into their community. We are respectfully looking at COVID-19 and wanting to not have too much transition at the local community level. This has burdened our projects, but then, as soon as COVID-19 had hit, we were given the announcement. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation was completing and working with the smaller communities and the Indigenous groups to provide them a further update on what it is that their construction season would look like and how this would affect projects going forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

That segues really nicely into my next question, which is that we often hear about our housing projects costing more and not being able to build to the same standards as private industry. Can the Minister tell me how the department is working to ensure that there is a better bang for their buck when it comes to constructing new units, and what is the Minister doing to ensure that contractors are held accountable for any deficiencies and that we're not paying out of the public purse for bad project management?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

When we're constructing the units, we do look at the National Building Code of Canada. I don't think we have it updated for the Northwest Territories. I just want to make that sure. I'm making sure that the department are constructing these units, that they're energy efficient, and that they do meet the national standards, as well. The huge message of looking at these units and constructing them is I want them to last. I want them to last 50 years, whatever, and that we could be able to do just the one-time construction and that the buildings would last for some time.

Also, looking at the construction season and the contractors, as well, is that we do have some contractors that we end up having to pay a little bit more looking at completing those projects. The contractors are obligated to put forward a percentage down, so it does provide security so we don't have to look at taking and fulfilling that gap through the Housing Corporation. We do work with the contractor to pursue financial security prior to the contract and the project commencing.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

May I suggest to the Minister that she have her technical staff take a cold regions engineering course, which would help them with some of that and being able to hold people to account. Could the Minister please explain to me how she is liaising with the communities and other departments to identify the housing units that either are GNWT owned or privately owned, where we could be retrofitting and repairing them in order to help support seniors staying at home and preventing further deterioration of the stock?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Within the Housing Corporation, we do have employees right at the grassroots level. We do have district offices, and we do have headquarters, as well. We do have the technical advisors that go into the communities and also assess the projects and the applications that we do receive going forward and looking at the needs of those communities. Also, to measure the amount of funding that we possibly can need to have the seniors age in place and supporting them through projects and making sure that, if you are able to look at -- I just want to give an example to the Member that we do have a fuel tank replacement program throughout the Northwest Territories that is available privately and also within our public housing units. Also, we have community initiatives, funding, as well, where we work with Indigenous groups and the community, as well, where they identify certain issues, would it be renovations to seniors' housing, replacing fuel tanks, stairs, mobility access issues that that community may be experiencing, that we do have partnerships that are available like that to work with the community and to provide them an amount of funding.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Great Slave.

Katrina Nokleby

Katrina Nokleby Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That's great to hear. I would encourage the Minister to ensure that that information is distributed widely and easily understood by constituents and residents. Could the Minister please explain to me what she and her Cabinet colleagues are doing in a new manner to aid citizens and incentivize people into private home ownership as I spoke in my statement. Pride in our homes is important, and it also does allow for better quality and taking care of the stock if we have people owing. Thank you.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Home ownership is a priority within the Housing Corporation. We do have right now that all of the single-family housing units, they are up for sale. I had also the number of 248 high-income earners that we do have in our local public housing units, that they are encouraged to get into a lease to own, for them to own their homes, and also for us to work collaboratively as well to making sure that we do provide home-ownership options. The other thing I wanted to explain is that within the units that we may have that have been unoccupied, we are putting forward $20,000 per unit to make those units available to the communities, and to encourage them to get into home ownership. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Speaking with different people within our communities, there is a lot of buzz around the co-investment fund, and people are eager to help us spend these dollars. What I am asking for from the Minister is: will the Minister agree that the Housing Corporation needs to take on a more proactive role in being better advocates for spending this money within our communities? Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. During the past probably six months, the Housing Corporation has met with CMHC, and we have toured the territory together, looking at the programming that is available and trying to encourage Indigenous partnerships to come forward and looking at the great opportunity that this would be to be able to meet the needs of housing construction throughout the Northwest Territories and involving stakeholders coming to the table.

Also, I wanted to just let the Member know that the Housing Corporation has also put out an advertisement for, like I said, a co-investment project officer. Hopefully, this position will be staffed before Christmas. The purpose of this position is to make sure that constant communication is happening throughout the territory. I am committed, and I want to have this money spent, the $60 million, before the end of this government, at least have applications that are committed, so we could start lobbying the federal government for an additional amount of funding. The Housing Corporation is working strategically with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

We originally discussed the role of having a person within the Housing Corporation back in February. My next question was going to be: is this person hired? I am a little bit disappointed to hear that this person isn't on the ground yet because it's someone who could have been spending the last six months during COVID really getting projects up and running so that we could get Northerners working on building homes for Northerners.

I have the answer to my next question, but I really think it's important that the Housing Corporation fast-track this role because we need somebody in that role to not only talk to people about the co-investment fund but really be a champion for the co-investment fund and also be an advocate on the ground, actually connecting programs between government departments. That leads me to my next question, which is: what will this person be empowered to do in order to connect programs within the GNWT and also by connecting levels of government? I want to better understand how this person is going to make sure that these dollars get spent.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I just want to say I am really excited about looking at this co-investment fund. Honestly, we need to have more interest at the table. When we toured the territory, it was of interest. Indigenous groups wanted to come forward, stakeholders, as well, and they found this program quite interesting. Ultimately, looking at the position to be hired, the Member is correct. This person is to be a champion of the co-investment fund to make sure that we do have commitments by the end of this government that this funding is exhausted and it is spent. I also need somebody who is going to be very strongly affiliated at the community level, as well, and be able to understand and be able to work very effectively and strongly at the community level. Right now, the position is within human resources and being reviewed. Also, I just wanted to mention that we did have challenges with COVID-19 and getting the position out right away and also evaluating it and looking at the responsibility of this position. The position is out for advertisement, and I am hoping to have this filled at least by Christmas.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

I am looking forward to an early Christmas present, I hope, from the Minister. Also, in addition to that, I know that, among business owners and community members alike, using COVID-19 as a way to describe why things take longer, there just isn't an appetite for it anymore within the Northwest Territories, especially when it's something like hiring and potentially hiring a local person. I just want to caution Cabinet around continuing to use that because I think that people want to see Cabinet move past that.

My next question for the Minister is that I was happy to hear the Minister acknowledge that the Housing Corporation is working with CMHC to try and see if the Housing Corporation can take control of the $60-million carve-off and really be in charge of shipping that money out to projects so that we alleviate the dual level of government. What I am wondering is: does the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation have the resources to proactively spend this money over the course of our term?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I just wanted to also comment on the COVID-19 response. I, too, as a Minister, think that we have exhausted our explanation of "due to COVID," but at that time, it was due to COVID. Right now, the job advertisement is out there. Also, I wanted to just mention that I would like to see the position also give an opportunity to somebody who is out there who is able to translate and be able to work and be able to be very effective within the Northwest Territories, to make sure that they support the Housing Corporation, support CMHC, and get these applications going forward.

I just wanted to also say that, looking at the advancement of the program and how we are going to be working in conjunction and working together, there is a lot of strategy and a lot of strategic planning that is going on right now, so I will keep the Member informed. I am hoping to have something very strongly implemented at least by January and be able to come back to the Members and let them know the progression of the co-investment fund.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. One of the things that I alluded to in my Member's statement today was the potential to combine different funding pots within the GNWT and with the co-investment fund. One of those examples that many Members talked about this week was after-care, and there is an opportunity here for us to use co-investment dollars in order to create the infrastructure and then go to somewhere like Health and Social Services and use on-the-land wellness funding in order to provide the program supports that may go along with that. I am sure there are other buckets of money with the federal government and with the GNWT that could be resourced for something like that. My question for the Minister is: has the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation looked into ways that they can access these dollars in conjunction with different departments, and are they willing to sit down with the Department of Health and Social Services and have a conversation specifically about after-care? Because I can assure the Minister that there are many Members on this side who would love the opportunity to have a success story in their constituency. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Absolutely. When I look at the opportunity that the co-investment fund has to offer, I would like to see more of an innovation happening going forward. We do have other infrastructure throughout the Northwest Territories. I would like the co-investment fund and the Housing Corporation to be a part of that. There is room for the applicants to become creative. If we are looking at after-care, as well, and looking at infrastructure for the Northwest Territories, as long as we have adequate housing that is going to be provided within those facilities, that would be something that would be of interest to the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and the CMHC, as well. Not to speak on behalf of a federal department, but I have seen a lot of different acknowledgements and different projects presented to us during our tours. This is something quite similar that has been expressed throughout the territory. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Steve Norn

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Just sitting here earlier, on my social media, I said we were going to be doing housing as the theme, and it lit up. It's a really serious issue, and a lot of my constituents had a lot of concerns. For all those listening, we are doing our best to answer your questions. It's important to all of us, so we will get to that. Next week, I will probably have some more questions for the housing Minister. Going back to my Member's statement today about home ownership, and the Member for Great Slave touched on it a little bit on the lease-to-own program, my question to the Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation is: what other programs are there to assist our residents in terms of home ownership when they have the financial resources to do so? Marsi cho.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh. Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the Member's comments because housing is a significant need throughout the Northwest Territories, and it does come together with a lot of different situations that we deal with: addictions issues, we deal with low-income families, and also home ownership is our priority right now. With the Member, I would like to follow up with a number of programs that we do have that would support the home ownership initiative for his community, but not only for that but for the Northwest Territories, as well. I would like to see more home ownership throughout the territory if we are able to do it. Please work with me, and I will be able to work with that client, as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Steve Norn

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

I thank you for that. I understand that, at one time, there was a public housing ownership program that the NWTHC used to offer. I am just wondering what has become of this.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

To the Member's comment, we do still have the housing Home-Ownership Program. We do have a number of units that we do have for sale throughout the territory. It either would be one of the public housing units that people are actually living in right now. Like I said, all of the single-family housing units are available for sale. However, also, we do have a HEL Program, an additional support of low-income initiatives that would be able to support low-income families. I will have that information provided to the Member because there is quite a lot of detail.

Steve Norn

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you for that. That is encouraging because I know there are several constituents in my riding who would be interested in that program. Going on, changing gears a little bit, there are a couple of areas that I mentioned in my Member's statement. One of them is land tenure, and this affects the CARE program and home ownership. It's a huge issue in my riding in particular. With that, Mr. Speaker: will the Minister commit to work with the Minister of Lands to tackle this land tenure issue in our communities?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

This is a question that has been brought up even prior to my election. I did work and did look at the land tenure issue and the programming that we do have for the Housing Corporation, and it does burden our programs and our program delivery. Right now, we are looking at alternative solutions of how we could program deliver in private homes, where we need to at least -- I don't know. It could be the CARE program, care mobility, and we will be working with the Department of Lands.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Steve Norn

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. That is very encouraging. Thank you for that response. My final question, Mr. Speaker: can the Minister update this House on any work being done to address the inability of residents in our communities to access home insurance? Marsi cho.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Home insurance has been a topic of discussion throughout my department. I wanted to look at alternative solutions and what it is that we are going to be working with. Home ownership is a priority, and I just look at how we are going to be getting housing renovation programs more accessible. I do see the burden of land tenure and also home insurance. I would just like to inform the Member that we are working with that to find alternative solutions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will also have questions for the Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation. I would like to thank her for the passion on this issue, and I am truly grateful she is our housing Minister. She has given some great answers today.

---Applause

Mr. Speaker, even during some of our territory's most prosperous economic years, we saw our housing crisis get worse and worse every year, and now I am terrified that, as we enter into an economic recession, this problem, we simply will not be able to keep pace with it. In Yellowknife, where we probably have some of the best labour market statistics around, the problem is that, without housing security, you simply cannot have job security. I really do believe we need to make a serious effort in this House. My first question for the Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is: how many people are at risk of homelessness in Yellowknife?

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Housing Corporation does work very closely with the City of Yellowknife. We are familiar with their housing strategy, the homelessness strategy that they did develop. They did have that available to the public. It's a 10-year plan. I do not have that number accurately right now. I don't want to speak on behalf of the City of Yellowknife because I am not too sure what that number looks like, and I don't want to guess at that. However, I could provide the Member with the information. Right now, I just wanted to also include that we do work with the City of Yellowknife. We are working in conjunction with the homelessness commission and looking at solutions for homelessness throughout Yellowknife. The Housing Corporation does provide an amount of money to be allocated to the homelessness shelters. One of the ones I am very proud of is the Yellowknife Women's Society. We did partner up with Diavik, and we did open up 26 rooms for a women's shelter here in Yellowknife. That is just one of many of the initiatives that the Housing Corporation has been involved in.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yes. I would highly encourage the department to take a much more active role in getting those statistics. The last statistics I have is that 1,500 people were at risk of homelessness in Yellowknife in 2017. That is 10 percent of the population. That is double what it would be on a per capita basis in a southern jurisdiction with a bad homelessness problem to begin with. Mr. Speaker, I know we are developing a number of community plans, but I really encourage the Minister to speed up the work and get the work done on the Yellowknife community plan. I even question whether we need one. The City of Yellowknife has a 10-year plan to end homelessness. It was funded. It is costed. It is ready to go. My question for the Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation is: how much has the GNWT contributed to the 10-year plan to end homelessness?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Yellowknife operates in a different -- they have access to federal funding. They work with us in conjunction. There are a lot of different members at the table. They do work with Indigenous groups, as well. It's quite unique, how we deal with homelessness throughout Yellowknife. My colleagues, as well, are involved with supporting homelessness initiatives throughout the city. I would have to get back to the Member on those numbers and looking at the dollar amount that the Housing Corporation had contributed to the housing plan. I will have to verify that and get back to the Member.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

I look forward to getting that report back on what that figure is, but I can tell you it is nowhere near the $170 million to actually end homelessness. I believe one of the other problems here is the city has gone and done some great work, and they have reached the limit of their mandate, not to mention we already underfund them. They do not have the money or the resources, nor do they have the mandate to completely end homelessness. That is where the NWT Housing Corporation must step up. There is great work being done by our non-profits. There is the capacity to access more federal money if the Housing Corporation will take up the lead. The Yellowknife Women's Society runs the Housing First program in Yellowknife. We are lucky in Yellowknife to have market housing where we can go and rent units for people and get them housing so they can get secure and get those jobs. How much does the GNWT presently provide to the Housing First program?

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

I will have to follow up with the Member with those numbers because the Housing Corporation does spend a significant amount of money here in the City of Yellowknife. I do hear the Member's statement of $170 million to end homelessness. I also want to just express that we have 33 communities throughout the Northwest Territories, and homelessness has become a huge, significant issue throughout the territory. I am working collaboratively with our community membership and with the City of Yellowknife. This is where the co-investment fund is so important. We need to find solutions on how we are going to be working with this fund and make it strongly available and having people apply. We can work towards the housing homeless initiative.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary. Member for Yellowknife North.

Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The answer to my question is zero dollars; the GNWT provides zero dollars to the Housing First initiative. That is 100 percent the Women's Society and the City of Yellowknife going to get 100 percent from federal dollars. This could be framed either way: it could be that the GNWT's not doing their part, but it is also very much a success story. It's a success story about us getting free federal money to end homelessness, and that is the goal here. This is where I think we need to be doing this because of the Housing Corporation, not in spite of the Housing Corporation. What I would like is: I would like the Housing Corporation to work with Housing First and work with the city's ten-year plan to end homelessness, to get those parties together and make a proposal to the federal government to truly tackle this issue. Is the Housing Corporation willing to be proactive on this? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes. The Housing Corporation will be working with the City of Yellowknife. Thank you.

---Applause

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Colleagues, our time for oral questions has expired. Item 8, written questions. Item 9, returns to written questions. Item 10, replies to Commissioner's address. Item 11, petitions. Item 12, reports of committees on the review of bills. Item 13, reports of standing and special committees. Item 14, tabling of documents. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. I wish to table the following two documents: Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative global factsheet dated August 2020; and "The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Principles" dating from 2003. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Frame Lake. Tabling of documents. Item 15, notices of motion. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I give notice that on Friday, October 30, 2020, I will move the following motion: Now therefore I move, seconded by the Honourable Member for Sahtu, that pursuant to Section 61 of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, that Mr. Andrew Fox be appointed for a term of five years as Information and Privacy Commissioner. And further, that the appointment be effective November 23, 2020. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Notices of motion. Member for Kam Lake.

Caitlin Cleveland

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I give notice that on Friday, October 30, 2020, I will move the following motion: Now therefore I move, seconded by the Honourable Member for Sahtu, that the Legislative Assembly recommends the appointment of Ms. Nicole MacNeil of Yellowknife as executive director of Human Rights during good behaviour for a term of four years as recommended by the Board of Management. And further that the Speaker be authorized to communicate the effective date of appointment to the Commissioner. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Kam Lake. Notices of motion. Item 16, motions. Item 17, notices of motion for the first reading of bills. Minister of Finance.

Bill 16: An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act
Notices Of Motion For The First Reading Of Bills

Page 1463

Caroline Wawzonek

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that on Friday, October 30, 2020, I will move that Bill 16, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, be read for the first time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 16: An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act
Notices Of Motion For The First Reading Of Bills

Page 1464

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister of Finance. Notices of motion for the first reading of bills. Item 18, first reading of bills. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Honourable Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, that Bill 12, An Act to Amend the Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Act, be read for the first time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Motion is in order. To the motion.

Some Hon. Members

Question.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. All those in favour. All those opposed. Any abstentions. Motion is carried.

---Carried

Bill 12 has had first reading. First reading of bills. Minister of Justice.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Honourable Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, that Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act, be read for the first time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Motion is in order. To the motion.

Some Hon. Members

Question.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. All those in favour. All those opposed. Any abstentions. Motion is carried.

---Carried

Bill 13 has had first reading. First reading of bills. Minister of Justice.

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First Reading Of Bills

Page 1464

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Honourable Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, that Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Securities Act, be read for the first time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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First Reading Of Bills

Page 1464

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Motion is in order. To the motion.

Bill 14: An Act to Amend the Securities Act
First Reading Of Bills

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Some Hon. Members

Question.

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First Reading Of Bills

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The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. All those in favour. All those opposed. Any abstentions. Motion is carried.

---Carried

Bill 14 has had first reading. First reading of bills. Item 19, second reading of bills. Item 20, Consideration in Committee of the Whole of bills and other matters: Tabled Document 165-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 1-19(2): Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery - Recommendations to the GNWT; Tabled Document 166-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 2-19(2): Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery - Recommendations to the GNWT; Tabled Document 167-19(2), Government of the Northwest Territories Response to Committee Report 3-19(2): Report on Long-Term Post-Pandemic Recovery - Recommendations to the GNWT; Tabled Document 181-19(2), Capital Estimates 2021-2020; Minister's Statement 77-19(2), National Housing Co-Investment Fund, with Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes in the chair.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

What is the will of committee? Mr. Norn.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Steve Norn

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Madam Chair. The committee wishes to deal with Tabled Document 181-19(2), Capital Estimates 2021-2022, for the Departments of Health and Social Services and Department of Municipal and Community Affairs. Marsi cho, Madam Chair.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Does committee agree?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, committee. We will take a short recess.

---SHORT RECESS

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

I will call committee back to order. Committee, we have agreed to resume consideration of Tabled Document 181-19(2), Capital Estimates 2021-2022, with the Departments of Health and Social Services and Municipal and Community Affairs in that order. Does the Minister of Health and Social Services wish to bring any witnesses in?

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Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Yes, please.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Sergeant-at-Arms, please escort the witnesses into the Chamber. Would the Minister please introduce her witnesses?

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Chair. With me today are Deputy Minister Bruce Cooper and Director of Infrastructure Perry Heath.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you. Committee has agreed to forego general comments, so is committee agreed that we will proceed to the detail contained in the tabled document?

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Committee, we will defer the departmental totals and review the estimates by activity summary, beginning with administrative and support services on page 30, with information items on page 31. Are there any questions or comments? Member for Yellowknife North.

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Rylund Johnson

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chair. I see there are a couple of pharmacy information systems here. Can I just get information on when we will be able to do prescriptions online and whether this software will include those capabilities? Thank you, Madam Chair.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Member. Minister of health.

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Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am not aware that this replacement will include prescriptions online, but I will ask the deputy minister if he can clarify when that might happen. Thank you.

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Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair

The Chair Lesa Semmler

Thank you, Minister. Deputy Minister Cooper.