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CHRA’s Economic Study, The Impact of Community Housing on Productivity: Territorial takeaways

04 Jul 2024

CHRA staff


In November 2023, CHRA, Housing Partnership Canada, and our sector partners released our economic study, The Impact of Community Housing on Productivity. This study, authored by Deloitte, finds a causal connection between the proportion of community housing within the overall housing stock and gains in economic productivity.

In the final piece in our series of blog posts examining the study, we’re looking at the key takeaways from the data from Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.  Read on to learn more.



The territories face the highest levels of housing need in Canada. Data shows that the territories have the highest shares of community housing in the country, but this reflects their different economic realities and is not a predictor of high economic productivity.

The territories face unique challenges that make them difficult to compare directly with the provinces including:

  • a lack of economic productivity data;
  • the severity of the housing shortage in the territories means that the traditional housing continuum often does not exist;
  • the difficulties many households face in finding adequate housing at all, seeing many forced to cohabitate in overcrowded housing with other family, relatives, or friends;
  • the fact that some employers must offer staff housing to attract employees, which can negatively impact productivity by inhibiting labour mobility; and
  • the cost of building a unit of housing can be several times that of the South

Due to a lack of productivity data, the study was unable to determine exactly how much economic productivity could be increased by increasing the share of community housing.



Although the Yukon has one of the highest percentages of community housing units as a share of total housing units it has one of the highest percentages (9.9%) of households in core housing need in Canada.

Demand Challenges

  • Between 2016 and 2021, the Yukon led the country in population growth, creating additional demand for housing.
  • In Whitehorse, the increase in population, on-going recovery from the pandemic, record high prices in the region’s resale market, and rising borrowing costs have increased the demand for rental units.

Supply Challenges

  • The Yukon Housing Corporation faces significant challenges in maintaining an adequate community housing stock due to a combination of inadequate systems and an aging housing inventory.
  • Shortage of building contractors and skilled trades, higher building costs, lower land values, and the inability for Yukon First Nations to register title on settlement lands limits construction.


Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories face the second-greatest reliance on community housing of any Canadian jurisdiction.

Demand challenges

  • Between 2020 and 2021, while the population of the Northwest Territories fell by 1.7%, the population of Yellowknife grew by 1.5%, making up almost half of the total population.
  • The senior population has grown steadily over the years and existing housing stock might not be appropriate to meet their unique needs.

Supply Challenges

  • Public housing supply has not significantly changed in the last 10 years.
  • The Northwest Territories faces high construction and maintenance costs. In 2021, the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation stated that $500-600 million is needed to improve the housing conditions of approximately 30,000 households.
  • A lack of skilled trades workers, and a tightening labour market impacts the ability to increase housing supply.



Nunavut had the highest percentage of households in core housing need in Canada in 2021.

Demand challenges

Supply challenges

  • Nunavut faces critical gaps in the housing continuum, as there is insufficient diversity in the housing supply; this leads to households living in public and staff housing being unable to shift into the private rental market or ownership.
  • A 2020 assessment by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated revealed that 48% of Nunavut residents lived in housing that is functionally unsuitable
  • Construction costs in Nunavut are much higher compared to Southern Canada and the cost of operating and upkeeping public housing units is also much higher.


Check out The Impact of Community Housing on Productivity to learn more.