Thursday, 15 March 2018

Two thirds of applications to the NWT Rental Office were filed by NWT Public Housing agencies #NWTpoli #SocialHousing #HousingFirst

Interesting manifestation of a social housing policy...

Two thirds  of applications to the NWT Rental Office were filed by NWT public housing agencies
Question 219-18(3): Northwest Territories Housing Corporation Applications To The Rental Office
Oral Questions  March 7th, 2018
"...Mr. Speaker, I was looking in the main estimates and I've discovered what I assume must be a typo. The rental office is listed the activity services to the public, but last year two thirds of the applications to the office were filed by public housing agencies. Either the rental office should be listed under services to government, or the government is essentially monopolizing the public service for its own good and at the expense of small landlords, renters, and to the detriment of the public at large, as I note in my Member's statement.
Given that the length of time it takes the rental office to process applications has been identified by this government as a serious concern, I'd like to make sure the entire government is taking steps to solve it. That being said, I would like to ask the Housing Minister if the Housing Corporation monitors its applications to the rental officer so that it can take policy steps to help reduce the number of times that it makes applications to the office? Thank you, Mr. Speaker...."

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Expert Group Meeting on Sustainable Development in Territories of Indigenous Peoples

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The CRA's "lowest return airfare is an annual conundrum"

"... The lowest return airfare is an annual conundrum ... Andy Wong. FCPA. FCGA, CFP  is a tax accountant in Yellowknife.
The Canada Revenue Agency is finally taking this issue seriously. In a new report titled Servicing You Better, released this October, the CRA promised to "explore options that can help taxpayers identify the lowest return airfare".
Here is the back story if you are new to the territories. You qualify tor a travel deduction if you received a Box 32 travel benefit from your employer, and have lived in the Northern parts (Zone B or zone A) of Canada for at least six months when you file your tax return. The deduction allows you to claim the lowest of three amounts the Box 32 benefit, your trip expenses, or the lowest return airfare.
Your Box 32 benefit and trip expenses are no mystery to you. But. what is the lowest return airfare? The CRA says, "the lowest return airfare ordinarily available for regularly scheduled commercial flights, excluding promotions or discounts that are not ordinarily available, on the date that the travel began".
You can only get that airfare information if you ask at the airport, and get it in writing, at the start of your trip. This is totally impractical. Imagine a Paulatuk resident using multiple airlines just to leave the territories and you start to get the picture.
We have been jury rigging the travel deduction by using an annual estimated average airfare provided by Northern airlines. But these amounts only cover 27 communities the airlines serve, of the 58 NWT and NU communities.
I commend the CRA's recent announcement to identify the lowest return airfare options by 2019. But two years is a long time to wait for a solution to this pressing problem.
There is a current reliable option. I suggest the CRA consider the federal government's vacation travel assistance (VTA) entitlement (Google 'vacation travel assistance 2017') as a lowest return airfare alternative.
All federal government employees living in the 266 isolated communities throughout Canada receive the VTA - the Box 32 travel benefit. The VTA is updated semi-annually and is intended to represent 80% of a certain economy fare, for a return flight from each community to the headquarters city.
Whether or not the VTA truly represents the lowest return airfare is irrelevant. That's because we have no idea what the lowest return airfare is. The VTA is a sound option because of its nation-wide application, reliability and. importantly, the airfare values. For example. Yellowknife's VTA is $703.50 for 2017, a low but plausible alternative. Inuvik. Iqaluit and Baker Lake are $2,923. $3,209 and $4,676 respectively. Each is a plausible alternative for those communities.
Can the CRA ignore the law and allow the VTA as an alternative lowest return airfare? Certainly. The CRA introduced the optional simplified method that allowed a fixed $I7 per meal, and fixed per-kilometre cost for driving trips, without receipts, for the travel deduction You can opt out and claim your higher receipted meals and vehicle costs. Similarly, the VTA can be adopted as the lowest return airfare floor amounts. You would also have the right to claim a higher lowest return airfare with proper documentation.
Can the VTA end our annual tax-time conniption? It certainly will for taxpayers living in 266 communities throughout Northern Canada...."
Opinion NORTHERN NEWS SERVICES  MONDAY, December 18.2017  page A11

Monday, 18 December 2017

Managing the resource development sector in a socially and economically sustainable way. Community Exchange between Dornod province in Mongolia and Yellowknife, in the NWT

Managing the resource development sector in a socially and economically sustainable way a Community Exchange between Dornod province in Mongolia and Yellowknife, in the NWT
The group visited a wide variety of companies and attended a wide range of meetings.

From CESO Canadian Executive Service Organization CESO | SACO a registered charity (BN 11883 0850 RR 0001), with no political or religious affiliations

"...The distance between #Dornod province in Mongolia and Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories, Canada, is about 7,000 kilometers. Despite the vast distance, the two regions share many similarities: both communities are traditionally bonded with the land, water and natural resources; each has a similar climate; and both are deeply involved in the resource development sector. It was these similarities that brought ten representatives from Mongolia to Yellowknife to explore approaches to managing the resource development sector in a #socially and economically sustainable way. ..."
Since 1969, CESO has worked with Indigenous communities across Canada, collaborating on more than 30,000 projects. CESO Volunteer Advisors (VAs) support individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, and community organizations to build long-term economic development, good governance, strong community planning infrastructure, and sound financial management.
Contact Information:
For inquiries about our work with Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs in Quebec, Atlantic Region, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, contact: Allison Deer, Manager, National Aboriginal Affairs (P: 1-800-268-9052 ext. 5809 | E:
For inquiries about our work with Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs in Ontario, British Columbia, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, contact: Devin Woods, Client Relations Manager (P: 1-800-268-9052 ext. 4081 | E:
The group visited a wide variety of companies and attended a wide range of meetings. PDF of meetings

Saturday, 16 December 2017

VIDEO Legislative Assembly of the NWT's Seniors' Christmas Tea 2017

Legislative Assembly of the NWT's Seniors' Christmas Tea 2017 Hosted by our Yellowknife MLAs Promo video

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

International Sámi Film Institute workshop invitation

".. Our team is pleased to announce a collaboration with International Sámi Film Institute. We are partners in this development of a series of indigenous ghost/mythical/horror films. Our First workshop is in March 2018 Kautokeino, Norway. Would you like to participate? Check out our call out!..."

Friday, 15 September 2017

New Canadian Housing and Rental Market Report with Affordability Index

1: There are TEN provinces and three TERRITORIES ...
NOT 13 provinces.

“…With Canada’s Housing and Rental Markets already having been a hot news topic for Canadians over the past decade with housing prices continued rising pricing year-over-year,  the new interest rate hikes which have already lead to higher mortgage rates, has created a very anxious environment for many Canadians, and a topic of much discussion for many economists, banking institutions, policy makers, and media commentators., one of Canada’s largest and most popular real estate listing and reporting websites, today published a new INFOGRAPHIC showing the average cost of rents and housing prices across all 13 provinces with a newly released affordability index showing how much average income per household is spent on housing.
British Colombia tops the list with 24% of income spent on housing costs, with Ontario following in close second with 23%. View all the data points for all 13 provinces below:..”