NWT Senior Citizen Says Housing Policy Infringes On Rights

Big housing complex.

An 84-year-old Fort Smith resident has filed a complaint against the NWT Housing Corporation.

Stan Edkins, a resident of senior housing believes that his rights to privacy and information have been infringed upon by the NWT Housing Corporation.

In March 2016, Stan Edkins received a letter from NWT Seniors Housing stating that Edkins would have to allow housing officials to have direct access to his personal tax information, along with other documents from Revenue Canada to determine housing eligibility.

“He was horrified” that he was asked to give housing authorities direct access to his personal tax information”, says Lorrel Gautheir daughter of Edkins.

Those who decided not to provide the housing authority consent to access their personal tax information would have to pay the full market price for housing. In Edkins situation, the monthly rental fee would be $1,600.

Laurel, says her 84-year-old father should not be expected to pay this much.

In June 2017, the NWT Privacy Commissioner Elaine Keenan Bengts made several recommendations to the NWT Housing Corporation policy guidelines.

The NWT Housing Corporation should create a new system that will allow existing and non-existing clients that do not want the Housing Corporation to access their CRA records will still have access to the housing programs available to NWT residents.

  • Income verification should occur on an annual basis rather than a monthly basis for individuals that do not want to provide consent to access their CRA records.
  •  The policy should make sure that those who choose to sign for their CRA records to be accessed do so on voluntary conditions rather than under coercion.
  • The consent obtained from housing residents be time limited and subject to renewal.
  • The recommendations provided be shared with other institutions using a similar system to gather personal information.

The NWT Housing Corporation says that they have now made allowance for tenants that would rather provide their tax information on their own, rather than having a housing official gather the data from Revenue Canada.

About the Author

Kristen Berkeley
Kristen is a multimedia journalist, reporter and producer at CKLB. Originally from Toronto, Kristen was interested in Indigenous issues and decided to relocate to Yellowknife to join CKLB. Kristen received her education from York University with degrees in Political Science and Communication. She is also a graduate from the Seneca-at-York Broadcast Journalism program. If you want to get in contact with Kristen, send her an email at Kristen.berkeley@cklbradio.com

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