OTTAWA, Dec. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Innovative approaches and partnerships are
successfully tackling the high costs of building and maintaining
housing in Canada's North, according to a Conference Board of Canada
report, Framing Sustainable Options for Housing in Canada's North.
Published by the Conference Board's Centre for the North, the report identifies partnerships among private sector, public
sector, and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities that are both
supporting and involving Northerners in the design of adequate housing.
"Mention housing in Canada's north and most Canadians think of the 2011
crisis on the Attawapiskat First Nation reserve," says Anja Jeffrey, Director, Centre for the North. "Our goal should be to broaden that
perception by calling attention to successful housing options that
truly meet the needs of Northerners living in a wide range of
communities, both on and off reserve."
Providing adequate and affordable housing options in Canada's North is
an exceptional challenge. Construction, maintenance, and utility costs
are all extraordinarily high, putting good housing out of reach for
many residents without significant subsidies from the public sector.
The four case studies in this report examine how some Northern
communities are making significant progress in overcoming these
The Nunavut Housing Corporation's private sector partnership with Kott
North to design 142 public housing units for 19 communities across the
territory showcases how the public sector can work effectively with
private developers to ensure that Northerners benefit from the most
energy-efficient houses in Canada.
The multi-sectoral partnership between The Holmes Group, Assembly of
First Nations, and the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek is piloting a
sustainable on-reserve housing strategy to deliver quality sustainable
housing options on reserve.
The efforts of the Northern Teacher Education Program in La Ronge,
Saskatchewan, to build affordable, high-quality, non-profit student
housing emphasizes the direct correlation between the availability of
quality Northern housing and positive educational outcomes.
The collaboration between Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Yukon
Housing Corporation, Han Construction Limited, and the Tr'ondëk
Hwëch'in First Nation illustrates the effectiveness and impact of
meaningful community engagement.
A significant portion of the existing Northern housing stock was
designed by outsiders based on the decades-old premise that "what works
in the South works in the North". The North, however, requires specific
housing programs and policies. While governments spend considerable
amounts of money to improve affordability, they often spread what
little money there is in too many ways.
While there is an obvious demand for housing as shelter in the North,
there is not as strong a demand, or ability, in many regions to support
a for-profit housing market. Many communities in the North are very
small, with predominantly Aboriginal populations, high unemployment,
and reliance on government subsidies and social programs. Where a
private market is viable, such as in Fort McMurray or Whitehorse, high
and rapidly rising real estate prices can seriously erode
affordability. For example, over a six-year period, between 2006 and
2011, the average price of a home in Whitehorse increased 80 per cent.
The report, published by the Conference Board's Centre for the North,
makes six key recommendations.
Greater emphasis on leveraging multi-sectoral partnerships and expertise
when designing and delivering Northern housing programs;
Additional support for Northern First Nations' on-reserve housing
Greater emphasis on developing local capacity in support of Northern
Continued emphasis on the integration of simple technology and
innovation in Northern affordable housing designs and development;
Increased community involvement and horizontal policy development in the
Northern housing planning process; and
More emphasis on developing low- and middle-income affordable housing
options in the North.
The Conference Board of Canada's Centre for the North works with Aboriginal leaders, businesses, governments, communities,
educational institutions, and other organizations to provide new
insights into how sustainable prosperity can be achieved in the North.
The Centre will help to establish and implement strategies, policies
and practices to transform that vision into reality.
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448