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

Question 424-19(2): Home Ownership
Oral Questions

Page 1462

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

October 28th, 2020

Page 1462

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?

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1462

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1462

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.

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1462

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?

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1462

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.

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1462

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?

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1463

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.

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1463

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1463

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.

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1463

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

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

---Applause

Question 425-19(2): Homelessness and Housing
Oral Questions

Page 1463

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.

Tabled Document 206-19(2): Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Global Factsheet August 2020 titled "The global standard for the governance of oil, gas and mineral resources" Tabled Document 207-19(2): The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Principles
Tabling Of Documents

Page 1463

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.

Tabled Document 206-19(2): Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Global Factsheet August 2020 titled "The global standard for the governance of oil, gas and mineral resources" Tabled Document 207-19(2): The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Principles
Tabling Of Documents

Page 1463

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

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

Motion 19-19(2): Appointment of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
Notices Of Motion

Page 1463

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.