1999 Conference of Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for Housing

NEWS RELEASE – Provincial and Territorial Ministers meet to discuss Canada’s housing needs

July 29, 1999 – For Immediate Release

At the provincial and territorial housing ministers conference in Whitehorse, ministers agreed to create a forum for provinces and territories to work together to build upon the initiatives underway in their jurisdictions.

This new housing forum will allow the provinces and territories to discuss common priorities, share their experiences and coordinate their approaches while maintaining an appreciation of regional differences. The ministers expect that the federal government will recognize this new forum and respond to positions developed by provincial and territorial ministers through this forum.

"There are major housing issues that span provincial and territorial borders," said Eric Fairclough, Minister Responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation. "The ministers recognize the importance of having a forum to address these issues, to influence federal policies, and to share information and best practices in the provinces and territories."

In a discussion of the climate for affordable housing led by Ontario, the ministers recognized the need to look within federal policies at impediments to private investment in affordable housing.

In discussions led by British Columbia, the ministers agreed that the homeless, those requiring special services, and the hard to house are individuals with more than just housing problems. Solutions require a coordinated strategy from various social policy areas.

Manitoba led a discussion on housing issues in northern, rural, and remote communities, and the need for continued federal, provincial, and territorial cooperation to resolve the housing issues facing residents in these communities.

The ministers directed their senior officials to examine these issues and develop options for consideration by the ministers, and other provincial and territorial ministries. It is hoped that some of this work will be undertaken in cooperation with federal officials.

"Ministers are confident that as we work to develop options and strategies, we can find solutions to address concerns such as homelessness, affordable housing, and housing in rural and remote areas," Fairclough said.

Although it shares the concerns of the other provinces with respect to social housing issues, Quebec is determined to retain control over all related initiatives undertaken within its territory by obtaining the withdrawal of the federal government with fair financial compensation.

The 2000 meeting of the Provincial/Territorial Forum on housing issues will be held in New Brunswick.

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For information contact:

Lawrie Crawford
Policy Advisor
Yukon Housing Corporation
(867) 667-8086