RCMP in 6 N.W.T. communities to lose federally provided housing

The federal government will no longer directly provide housing to RCMP members working in six N.W.T. communities, including Yellowknife, according to the territorial government.

MLA concerned about affect on retention, recruiting, justice minister says he will report in six months time

Prior to the changes, RCMP members in the Northwest Territories were provided housing by the federal government. The changes mean that will no longer be provided to members in the six affected communities. (Sara Minogue/CBC)

The federal government will no longer directly provide housing to RCMP members working in six N.W.T. communities, including Yellowknife, according to the territorial government.

"Public Works [and Government Services Canada] has made it clear that they will no longer be providing housing in Inuvik, Fort Smith, Fort Simpson, Norman Wells, Hay River and Yellowknife," said Louis Sebert, the minister of Justice, in the legislative assembly on Friday.

Public Works and Government Services Canada advised the RCMP in early 2015 that they would be reducing their inventory of housing in the five affected communities besides Yellowknife, RCMP spokesperson Elenore Sturko said in an e-mail. 

Sturko added that Yellowknife has a "viable real estate and rental market, which will support the changes to the Northwest Territories RCMP Housing program.

"Negotiations are underway with N.W.T. Housing Corp to have units available for this transition, which will take place over the next few years," said Sturko. "There will be no interruption in housing provision for employees of the RCMP in any of the N.W.T. communities outside of Yellowknife.

Frame Lake MLA Kevin O'Reilly said he's "very concerned" the housing decision will affect G Division's ability to recruit and retain members.

But Sebert said that's unlikely.

"They already currently receive far more applications than there are positions, so they're not expecting a change in that," said Sebert.

Sebert tentatively committed to reporting back to the legislative assembly in about six months on the RCMP's retention and recruitment rates in the communities where the housing policy is changing.

The territorial government renewed the RCMP's policing contract for 20 years in 2012.

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