Housing projects in Nunavut get $10M

Feds foot the bill for Gjoa Haven and Kugluktuk fiveplexes, 9 units in Iqaluit

Catherine McKenna (right), the federal minister of infrastructure and communities, Iqaluit’s deputy mayor Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster (centre), and Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister of families, children and social development (right) spoke at a funding announcement in Nuanvut’s capital city on Tuesday. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Nine new affordable housing units will go up in Iqaluit with $5 million in new funding from the federal government and another $4.9 million is pledged to foot the bill for units already under construction in Kugluktuk and Gjoa Haven.

Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister of families, children and social development, announced the funds at a news conference in Iqaluit on Tuesday.

“[This] is good news for workers, it’s good news for the families and it’s good news for the local economy,” he said.

Iqaluit’s deputy mayor, Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster, spoke about her own experience with homelessness at the event.

She said the money will be helpful for many Iqaluit families.

“Many Iqalummiut who have grown and lived here for generations are definitely impacted by the lack of affordable housing,” she said.  “They’ve been pushed off the market … Many people are couch-surfing, we know that’s a reality.”

The money comes from the Rapid Housing Initiative, which is earmarked for permanent affordable housing.

Although Brewster praised the funding, she said it’s “absolutely not” enough.

“We know that in Iqaluit alone we need hundreds and hundreds of units,” she said.

Brewster didn’t have the numbers of required units for other Nunavut communities, but said “we know generations of people are sharing homes and there are generations of people on housing lists.”

But, she said any investment in housing that takes into account the growing population of the territory is welcome.

The City of Iqaluit is looking to begin construction at the end of December, states a news release from the city.

“Only by working together and implementing local solutions will we be able to solve our housing crisis,” Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell said in the release.

Earlier this year, four fourplexes — 18 units — slated for Iqaluit were cancelled, with construction bids coming in $3.3 million over budget as a result of a spike in prices of lumber and other construction materials.

The two fiveplexes in Gjoa Haven and one fiveplex in Kugluktuk are already under construction, so the announcement for these communities essentially just changes where the funding for these builds will draw from. Now, the Nunavut Housing Corporation will be able to use the money it originally earmarked for the two fiveplexes towards future projects.

The two fiveplexes were originally slated to be staff housing, but money from the Rapid Housing Initiative can only be accessed for public housing. So in the Legislative Assembly in June, Margaret Nakashuk, minister responsible for the housing corp., said the projects will be repurposed accordingly.

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(38) Comments:

  1. Posted by TNPG on

    I’ll sell 778 for $5million

    • Posted by Milkemallovich on

      Not if I get any say in this.

  2. Posted by KMO on

    It’s time to ” resolve ” so many challenges “… no?
    A space and a place to keep it together somehow .. whatever that might look like .. is a good place to start.
    “there’s no place like home”
    So lets do it .. fix the problem .. the cash dribbles in .. doesn’t mean solutions have to.
    There’s monkeys out there. You know who you are. We can fix this thing. Walk in the park if we get our heads together … the ephemeral, universal challenge it seems..
    So lets just do it. hm.
    So keep an eye out … stay awake … look alive … it’s a good place to start.

    • Posted by Frontal Lobe Siezure on

      Thanks for the interesting Haiku.

      • Posted by KMO on

        Thanks for recognizing that FLS …. and it appears you have company.
        11 thumbs up and you get one from me makes an even dozen to 1. Doesn’t get any better than that … Gives me hope. You a monkey?
        Hope the old lobe isn’t giving you too much trouble .. seems to be working fine at the moment — how’s the saying go — I’d rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me … or is it the other way around?
        So here’s another .. the beginning of the end has already begun .. it’s time to put this puppy down. Gone on for way too long. We can do this thing … there’s no place like home … you just have to find it. … I WILL … show you how … or maybe you’ll show me. Just stay awake .. for a little bit longer. J u s t s t a y a w a k e .. and help if you can.


  3. Posted by uvanga on

    Exciting times (a little bit helps) but the end of December the ground will be solid frozen. Someone educate the people at the hill about our environment.

  4. Posted by Entitlement on

    People in southern Canada are not entitled to housing. When people in Nunavut say there is a crisis, what they mean is that there is a shortage of social housing. This represents a large majority of all housing in Nunavut, where private ownership is only a small portion. People here live for very little in social housing, and for whatever reason it seems culturally accepted here that government should supply housing to everyone on social assistance. This is very unusual. I just can’t imagine people in southern Canada insisting that every person be provided a government funded home. There is also a pervasive myth that it is in the land claim, which it is not.

    • Posted by CD on

      The majority of people in ‘southern Canada’ were never promised housing in exchange for permanently relocating to communities.

      Read the QIA’s Truth Commission documents. Canada has stated it has failed to uphold its past commitments.

      • Posted by Evidence please on

        Dear CD, please show us where it was promised that Nunavut Inuit would be supplied housing in perpetuity by the federal government. Anytine the housing issue is discussed here this argument seems to surface yet, as far as I have seen at least, has never been supported.

        Will you show us?

        • Posted by CD on

          When negotiating the creation of Nunavut,
          the Feds refused to negotiate housing.

          Here’s a link to the Canada’s apology, it references housing and how the Feds
          admits it messed it up along the way:


          Through Canada’s admission/apology and it’s ‘on-going commitment’ to Reconciliation – the case will be made through the devolution negotiation tables that Canada has a fiscal obligation to Inuit housing in Nunavut – for perpetuity.

          Commitments were made in the 50s that Canada never met. If you’ve been paying attention to what’s been occurring in the courts in relation to Indigenous issues and the Feds – it’s going to be a pretty easy negotiation.

          • Posted by Nope on

            These are lies that are commonly spread. Canada has no obligation to provide housing to Inuit in perpetuity.

            We are like like any other Canadians. We want a house, we geta mortgage and build one.

            I hope that the upcoming generation of leaders are more truthful wabout the lack of obligation that the people of Canada have for our housing.

            We need to stop looking for handouts and stand on our own.

            • Posted by I Smell a Troll on

              You don’t speak for all Inuit.

            • Posted by Bryan Vandenbrink on

              Good point. Now, we should also abolish GN housing and any non-Inuit moving here should be forced to build or purchase their own homes. That should level the playing field.

              As-is, non-Inuit also primarily utilize socialized housing too. Just because your rent is $2-$3k doesn’t mean you aren’t living in subsidized housing either. But justify treating yourself better than your Inuit employee’s all you’d like.

              • Posted by Worm at the Core on

                Interesting comment, Bryan… but it seems to lack at least two things; seriousness and insight.

                • Posted by Bryan Vandenbrink on

                  I think you need to read Animal Farm and contrast the point of that novel with the allocation of staff housing to senior staff raised by Adam Arreak Lightstone that Nunatsiaq News reported on back in March. If you’re not interested in looking it up, I’ll share the stats revealed: Of the staff housing allocated, 26.4% were Inuit and 73.6% were Non-Inuit. 71% of those were for positions where the recipients of the government subsidized housing make six figures or more.

                  Now compare that with the 2016 census data on income, Inuit in Nunavut make on average $18,597 per year. Non-Inuit make on average $99,773 per year.

                  Please stop pissing on our heads and telling us it’s raining.

                  • Posted by S on

                    Thanks for the stats, Bryan; those sounds plausible.

                    What’s the point you want to make about a solution to any housing concerns you might have

                    • Posted by Bryan Vandenbrink on

                      Maybe it’s that everyone needs to start building?

                      A third of the territory is made up of Inuit under 15 years of age. 1/3 of 40k is 13,200. Divided among the 25 municipalities, that’s 528 people per community.

                      Now I am deliberately being unfair here, but assuming you’ve been gifted with foresight or the ability to think further ahead than getting out of Nunavut after you have made as much money as possible while the federal government and Canadian tax payer pays for most of your subsidized housing, where would you put an 528 additional people per community?

                      And you can’t answer “Under the stairs”, “In the closet”, or “In a shack on the beach” because those are the kind of wrong answers that got us to where we are now.

                  • Posted by My my my on

                    The GN allocates housing by need. Sorry, but a person who answers the phone – whether Inuk or not – is not a priority compared to a Deputy Minister. Adam Lightstone talks a lot of talk, but the fact is that there just isn’t enough staff housing for everyone. You need leaders and managers first, not people who work a mop, to get housing. Your attitude is one I love to talk about in the south – if we all left, this town and territory would require military occupation to carry on.

              • Posted by Arctic Circle on

                the question is, how long will the non inuit live in the territory? make enough money to buy a house downsouth and leave…thats the true story.

      • Posted by Relocation on

        Then lets relocate all those communities to one centralized hub, centralized Healthcare, housing all in ome community.

        • Posted by CD on

          Canada established the permanent settlements. It’ll be on Canada (or the taxpayers) to reconcile past, present and future issues in relation to Canada’s misguided policies and initiatives.

          • Posted by Go West Young Man on

            Nope, not at all.

            Don’t like your community? Leave and find greener pastures.

            More than 30% of the residents of Nunavik and Nunavut have already done so. They have the initiative in the gumption to look for something better.

            This is, and always has been, normal and expected across the country.

          • Posted by Newfie on

            Tell that to all the people in out-ports in Newfoundland. They were forced to relocate and paid to do so by the government, citing the expense of providing services to such isolated communities for healthcare, emergency services and infrastructure. Many multigenerational families abandoned their homes to move to larger communities, since the collapse of the fishery. People claim only Nunavut went through the trauma of forced relocation and the generational trauma, alcoholism, and mental heal effects it had, which is simply not true. Despite not wanting to acknowledge it, many children were sexually abused by the Catholic church in Newfoundland and also died, social justice warriors only acknowledge what serves their agenda. “There is no comparison to the trauma, and it’s not the same as what colonizers did to Indigenous” etc. Yes it is, many different races went through the effects of forced colonization.

            • Posted by Something to Be Said on

              Sssshhh, more of that quiet part said out loud.

              Seriously though, there is a lot to be said for looking at the Newfoundland model and rolling up the carpet on a number of communities and consolidating.

              Good luck to whatever politician starts that conversation in public.

        • Posted by Arctic Sovereignty on

          Yeah, that makes a whole bunch of sense – especially from a geo-political perspective.

          I bet Canada will be all over that ‘cost-saving’ measure, along with Putin and Xi Jinping.

      • Posted by History Revisisted on

        North America ( including future Canada) land was given free to settlers from across the ocean. Each of the European countries (Monarchies) granted free land to their citizens to populate the land. The settlers got free title to Indigenous land and as you can see, some of these lands are slowing going back to their first owners.

  5. Posted by Ian on

    Gov of Canada gives us 2.5 billion a year, need more

    • Posted by Reality on

      “$2.5 Billion passes through Nunavut each year, from Canadian tax-payers to businesses in Canada with political connections.”
      There, fixed that for you.

    • Posted by Paul on

      The problem is when the Federal government gives Nunavut over 2 BILLION dollars per year it gives it to the GN, that’s where the problem starts, with the revolving door of new GN employees every couple of years and the lack or training with its GN staff all these funds aren’t being used to its fullest potential. On top of that the dysfunctional way of doing anything in the GN slows and kills a lot of projects.
      The incredibly expensive contracts that limits any projects such as housing and many more adds to the situation we have here in Nunavut.
      Major changes are needed for the GN, reviews in building northern employee capacity, training, contracting and so on. We should be able to do much more when we receive over $2 BILLION per year for a small population. So many people here in Nunavut are so disconnected with our own government and don’t hold the GN to task, we always look at NTI or the RIAs when their annual budgets are crumbs compared to that of the GN. We need to be asking why is our own government not helping us, why can’t our government do the right things? Who is responsible and making these choices for the government and why? There is so much more our GN should be doing and yet over 2BILLION per year is not enough. Sticking to status quo is not working.

  6. Posted by boris pasternak on

    At least 19 public housing units, time to roll up the sleeves and start fighting MLAs. Don’t let the Ministers allocate them to their own communities. So little, a bandage solution; this is the amount even to unmold only 40 units or so..pity.

  7. Posted by Holy Crap on

    2.5 billion per year for 35000 people. That is a small city in the South. Do you think a city of 35000 raises 2.5 billion in taxes form their residents. Ya, the residents pay land tax to maintain city governemnt services. Not the government pays to house, educate, health systems and the list goes on. Get real develop your resources ro allow development, get educated (free) get jobs (there for the taking) put your hand in your own pocket instead of everyone else’s and stop saying it is not enough. It never will be.

    • Posted by boris pasternak on

      I guess this is why some cities down south are rat ridden, slummed, unsafe, but then again, Government of Canada put this situation on us at their own free will as policy makers, if there’s a grudge, take it up with them. Even the ppl of Canada’s highest community GF is better off at times than your small cities of 35K. Will at least the Arctic is now a full fledge Canadian territory because of forced movement of ppl years ago. Yes sir; Canada has obligation.

    • Posted by S on

      -Thanks HC. As you mentioned, that $2.5B in federal spending on Nunavut paid directly to the GN.
      -GOC provides an additional $.2B each year for capital projects – housing, ports, utility infrastructure, and an additional $150M each year in direct federal spending and contributions to IAs. That’s around $2.9B for 2021-2022 – or nearly $80,000 for every adult and child.
      – In comparison, total of all government spending (revenue) in a provincial jurisdiction is around $16,000 for each person

  8. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    $10 million? That’ll get you a duplex in Apex.

  9. Posted by Wondering on

    Is there any way to charge a minimum rent instead of $60.00?
    At least 500.00 per month to cover costs of repairs and other stuff.
    Also the 60.00 rent, I think it’s keeping nunavutmiut from not wanting to work. Some might think I don’t need to work my rent will be only 60.00.
    Don’t get me wrong here, I’m Inuk too and pay high rent pay GST and taxes. I work for what me and my family needs and wants. I’m not pointing down or at anyone either.

    • Posted by eskimo joe on

      when I first voted for B. Orange, I was just about to move in too a first public housing unit (matchbox) so he came into town and at public meeting at the local school, there was a big fanfare speech; for the rest of your lives, the rent will always be $2.00/month never to increase. Didn’t the southern natives use to say white man has forked tongue? (diverse, many pronged words/interchangeable, blah blah blah etc etc…) this was nothing compare to promises of Hodgson which were the best speeches any politician could ever make and none is equal to date. Wow naïve little eskimo…it’s funny now as I recalled how I was taken. Hey… I am still been taken but by my own peers…I guess politics have it’s own characters.

    • Posted by Middle Aged Trapper on

      I think you are right that the minimum rent has to go up but maximum rent is too high as well. $500 would be too much for someone on income support, $200 would be more realistic but at the same time the income support should be increased here as well to recognize the extremely high food prices. Max rent for a 5 bedroom house with NHC is almost $2500… this is way too high and should be maxed out at $800-900 but anyone with income over their community’s core income needs threshold should not be eligible for public housing. There should never be anyone in public housing with an income over $200k! Are there any readers out there from Nunavik that can share what the maximum rent is over there? I’ve heard its a lot less.

      • Posted by eskimo joe on

        last time I was in Nunavik, this thing came up on public housing and rental issues. I recall the max on rent regardless of income was minimal to 800/month. Is this old memory or what?

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