High population growth and the Covid-19 pandemic have exacerbated the housing crisis in Nunavut, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) 2021 Northern Housing Report.

Affordability remains as one of the most pressing concerns in the territory, particularly among young people and seniors, CMHC stated.

The average monthly mortgage in Nunavut is $1,886 compared to $1,602 in Yellowknife and $1,539 in Yukon.

The rental market in Iqaluit is also extremely tight with a vacancy rate of 0.7 per cent. In Yellowknife, the vacancy rate is 3.6 per cent. In Whitehorse, it’s 2.1 per cent.

The average monthly rental rate for a two-bedroom unit in Iqaluit is $2,785. In Yellowknife, it’s $1,769. In Whitehorse, it’s $1,296.

Construction was affected by the pandemic, which led to labour challenges and the skyrocketing cost of supplies.

“The closure of Canadian lumber mills, as a Covid-19 preventative measure, caused disruption in supply and volatility in the price of lumber,” the report reads. “This combined with the high costs of land and labour in the North, put downward pressure on the creation of new housing supply over the last year, further exacerbating persistent housing supply and housing affordability challenges.”

The supply and affordability challenges in the three territories are the reasons why the North “is a strong priority” under Canada’s first National Housing Strategy and why “significant” federal and territorial investments were made in housing in Budget 2021, according to the CMHC.

As of June 30, through the National Housing Strategy, the federal government has invested $331 million to help 2,962 households access safe and secure housing in Nunavut, $312 million to help 4,828 households in Northwest Territories, and $178 million to help 2,973 households in Yukon. the CMHC stated.

Join the Conversation


  1. How about leveling the ground under those apartments and around them so the people have more room for stuff instead of just land built over so the mosquitos have permanent little pools of water hidden under those apartments that have been going up all over Nunavut.
    Build one apartment slightly ahead with living room facing road, the second apartment a little behind the first by 10-15 feet with that living room facing opposite end of the first so that each apartment has a living room sticking out of the main structure, instead of having smallest one little window and have more light flow into those depressing new apartments.

  2. There must be a much greater emphasis placed on home ownership. There has not been a privately owned house built here in Kinngait for about 10 years. Where do the people who now have good paying jobs live? Simple, they live in Public Housing. Why, NHC cannot see the benefit of homeownership. Mining, GN, Hamlets, private business, etc… all provide jobs with more than enough income to maintain a home. They think it is better to own everything themselves even though over the last 40 years they have fallen further and further behind the demand for housing. It would make more sense for them to have a program where they pay 50% of the cost and the homeowner gets a mortgage for the other 50%. There are at least 30 privately owned homes in Kinngait. All but one were built through some type of NHC Homeownership programs. HAP, ACCESS were both successful programs in my mind. The last good program had NHC provide technical assistance (plans. inspections) and the materials for a house. There were a few options available. The homeowner had to arrange for and pay for the construction of the house.
    Let’s get people who can afford it out of public housing. At least a third of NHC construction money should go into homeownership programs.
    Who are the people in your community with their own homes? Are they all rich? No they are not. Are they responsible, hard working, proud people, yes they are.
    Why can’t Nunavumiut get more not less.
    For public housing a better (simpler / cheaper, possibly older) building design is needed. $900,000 for a very small two bedroom apartment is not feasible. Maybe start looking at the Request for Proposal method for delivery of the construction programs as using overpriced engineering firms for all technical work is using too much of our already insufficient funding. Designs from the 90’s were simple but effective. We don’t need award winning, state of the art design and engineering. We need as many units as possible now. Who cares if our extremely expensive designs win awards when we are spending almost a million dollars to house a family of four (probably 6 or more living there) plus add in the maintenance and operating costs over the lifetime of the unit no wonder we are in such a mess. Most of our problems originate with overcrowding. Units get run down much faster when overcrowded. Health issues arise either from two many people being too close together or buildings deteriorating quickly because the occupancy does not meet the design. Mold is rarely a construction problem. Most often it is an occupancy problem. Systems installed to keep people healthy and the building functioning properly are overworked from day one. Sometimes maintenance is not done in a timely manner or at all. Long cold winters with families inside together for long periods, system failure and sometimes tenant use / abuse also can shorten the useful life of units.
    New ideas are needed.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *