Houses are under construction on Skookum Drive in Whistle Bend in this 2016 file photo. The federal government says some of the new housing money coming the Yukon’s way over the next 10 years won’t require matching by the territorial government. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Yukon signs on to national housing plans

YG mum on exactly how much money territory will get, or what its goals are

The federal government says some of the new housing money coming the Yukon’s way over the next 10 years won’t require matching by the territorial government.

Earlier this week all of Canada’s jurisdictions with the exception of Quebec endorsed a new housing partnership framework with Ottawa. The Yukon was represented by Pauline Frost, the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation.

The federal government is promising to spend billions on social and affordable housing across the country over the next decade.

Details of exactly how much money the Yukon will be getting from four different pots of cash hasn’t been decided yet. Each jurisdiction will have to sign its own bilateral agreement with the federal government.

In the legislative assembly April 10 Frost promised that the agreement with Ottawa would be signed “very quickly.”

Frost said the Yukon had “secured, in our base, $24 million for the next 10 years — base funding that doesn’t have strings attached to it.”

In an email, cabinet spokesperson Sunny Patch said that money “is part of the $300 million allocation of Northern funding announced in the 2017/18 federal budget.” The rest of Yukon’s portion of that fund is still to be determined, she said.

Most of the federal money requires that the jurisdictions contribute a portion, but the $300 million being set aside for “targeted Northern funding” does not have a matching requirement.

“Northern funding is targeted funding to Canada’s three territories to address the distinct housing needs in the North,” Audrey-Anne Coulombe, a spokesperson for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, said in an email.

“Like all NHS (national housing strategy) investments delivered with provinces and territories, these funds must align with federal principles and other funding requirements, such as reporting.”

Coulombe didn’t say why Ottawa chose not to require matching for this money.

Three other pots of cash are also being rolled out nationally. The governments are promising to spend a separate $1.1 billion in “priority funding” for the provinces and territories, $4.3 billion for a Canada Community Housing Initiative and $2 billion for a Canada Housing Benefit.

In the case of the priority funding and housing initiative up to half of the money is to come from provincial or territorial or municipal governments, according to Ottawa. Matching can also come from Indigenous governments, the private sector, charities or individual donors.

Ottawa says the money is to be spent on new construction or conversion of residential units or repairs and renovation of existing stock, or to improve housing affordability.

In the legislative assembly Yukon Party MLA Geraldine Van Bibber asked what the government hopes to get out of the money.

“The communiqué that the minister signed also states that Yukon, in a bilateral agreement with the federal government, will develop mutually agreed-upon targets for increasing the supply of social housing. What are the Yukon’s targets?”

Frost replied that “the targets have been defined with our partners,” but didn’t offer specifics.

“We have a homelessness strategy that good Yukoners and our NGO groups and our partners in the community have drafted and participated in. We will continue to review and analyze that and identify key priorities. We have the housing action plan. The housing action plan defines processes. We’re now pleased to look at implementing aspects of that plan. We have resources set aside in this budget.”

Patch said the deal with Ottawa allows for territorial programs that started as early as April 1 to qualify as cost-matching.

“We anticipate that the Yukon government’s new investment of $2 million for the developer build loan and $3.6 million for social and affordable housing can be used for cost-matching,” she said in an email.

Last week the Yukon government said it was spending $2 million over three years for short-term construction financing through the developer build program to “help contractors provide modest, sustainable housing options in Yukon communities.”

Applications for the loan will be accepted starting on May 1.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Federal PoliticsHousingYukon government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse General Hospital in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. The Yukon Employees’ Union and Yukon Hospital Corporation are at odds over whether there’s a critical staffing shortage at the territory’s hospitals. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
YEU, Yukon Hospital Corp. at odds over whether hospitals are understaffed

YEU says four nurses quit within 12 hours last week, a claim the YHC says is “inaccurate”

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates, Ray Hartling and Mark Lange, have filed a class action against the jail, corrections officials and Yukon government on behalf of everyone who’s been placed in two restrictive units over the past six years. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Class action filed against Whitehorse Correctional Centre over use of segregation

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates have filed a class action against… Continue reading

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 21, 2020

Movie poster for <em>Ìfé,</em> a movie being shown during OUT North Film Festival, which includes approximately 20 different films accessible online this year. (Submitted)
OUT North Film Festival moves to virtual format

In its ninth year, the artistic director said this year has a more diverse set of short and feature films

Students and supporters bring MAD high school theatre relocation petition to legislature

The group is asking that the high school class to be moved to a more suitable location

A sign greets guests near the entrance of the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse on June 11. The city announced Oct. 16 it was moving into the next part of its phased reopening plan with spectator seating areas open at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CGC reopening continues

Limited spectator seating now available

During Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 19 meeting, planning manager Mélodie Simard brought forward a recommendation that a proposed Official Community Plan amendment move forward that would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend, currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
More development in Whistle Bend contemplated

OCP change would be the first of several steps to develop future area

asdf
EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Mad about MAD

Letters to the editor published Oct. 16, 2020

Alkan Air hangar in Whitehorse. Alkan Air has filed its response to a lawsuit over a 2019 plane crash that killed a Vancouver geologist on board, denying that there was any negligence on its part or the pilot’s. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Alkan Air responds to lawsuit over 2019 crash denying negligence, liability

Airline filed statement of defence Oct. 7 to lawsuit by spouse of geologist killed in crash

Most Read