General

6.1.1 To carry out its responsibilities, the Government of Canada must be able to house employees in all parts of the country. Employees are normally responsible for securing their own accommodation. It is not the intent of the directive to provide government housing to employees who own residential accommodation in the location.

Government accommodation is only provided where:

  1. it is necessary for the delivery of government programs to combine an employee's place of work and residence or for the employee to live at the job location; or
  2. no suitable living accommodation is available in the vicinity.

6.1.2 It is the policy of the government that occupants of government housing be accorded treatment equivalent to that accorded to persons renting similar accommodation from private or commercial sources. Rents for government housing must be fair and equitable and be based on the following principles:

  1. they should not form part of an employee's compensation;
  2. they should reflect any factors which affect the quiet enjoyment or the privacy of the occupant and thus the value of the accommodation.

Priorities

6.2.1 Where government housing is provided, subject to the criteria in the application section, departments shall maintain a priority list and allocate suitably sized vacant units in accordance with the following descending order of priorities:

  1. employees, residing in government housing, requesting to move to a more suitable unit in the same pool as a result of changing household size, medical or other compelling reasons;
  2. employees moving to the location and having no permanent accommodation at the location;
  3. employees not residing in government housing at that location but having inadequate accommodation, requesting to move by reason of changing family circumstances, loss of previous accommodation or other reasons based on personal need; and
  4. local residents, housing associations or organizations (these are charged the government lease rate and utilities for the unit on a month-to-month basis).

Rent

6.3.1 The rent to be paid for a unit will be calculated as follows:

Base shelter value (as provided by CMHC) or phased in BSV (for units not yet at market rent)

LESS

adjustments and/or special reductions (per section 6.7 and 6.8, as applicable) = SHELTER CHARGE

PLUS

fuel and utilities charges (per section 6.15, as applicable) = RENT

6.3.2 Employee couples – spouses or common-law partners: For purposes of this section, when spouses or common-law partners are both federal employees, they shall sign and remit, to the employing department(s), a joint declaration indicating which of the two shall be charged the rent.

Allocation of Accommodation

6.4.1 Housing Norm: When providing government housing, departments shall allocate appropriate size dwellings on the premise of one bedroom for each household member, where available.

6.4.2

  1. Departments have the responsibility of ensuring that the initial assignment of accommodation is appropriate. Employees will be given accommodation options, where practicable, on a first-come, first-served basis.
  2. An employee residing in government housing who later requests and is provided with a different unit at the same location, will be responsible for the resulting removal costs.
  3. Should the employer require that the employee move, the employing department shall absorb the relocation costs (including the move of household goods and effects, interim accommodation, meals and incidentals). Receipts are required for all expenses including meals, except in incidental expenses. The employee who refuses to move will be charged the full rent for the dwelling.

Occupancy Agreement

6.5.1 No formal landlord-tenant relationship exists between the government and employee-occupants of government-provided accommodation. However, departments and occupantsshould sign occupancy agreements so that mutual responsibilities are clearly understood. Appendix L provides a sample generic occupancy agreement and related terms and conditions. Departments are encouraged to utilize this document to ensure the uniform treatment of occupants. Additional clauses may be appended to these terms and conditions to reflect peculiar local requirements.

6.5.2 The Occupancy Agreement for Government Housing (Appendix L ) shall apply equally to each occupant of the shared, self-contained accommodation.

6.5.3 Requirements for sharing should form part of the generic agreement for employee occupancy of government-provided accommodation, e.g. attachments to the agreement, in order to clarify responsibilities of individual occupants.

Base Shelter Value (BSV)

6.6.1 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) shall determine the BSV of self-contained accommodation utilizing processes and analysis as may be necessary to ensure BSVs are fair and equitable throughout Canada.

  1. where a market can be identified locally, dwellings of similar size, type and condition; or
  2. where no viable market exists, dwellings of similar size, type and condition in the nearest location where a viable market exists, with appropriate local adjustments.

Rental Charge Adjustments

6.7.1 Employee Without Dependants: Where an employee without dependants is allocated a unit larger than the housing norm, the rent shall be 60% of shelter charge and utilities (full rent) for that dwelling. If a one-bedroom unit is available and the employee requests a larger unit, the full rent will be paid for that larger dwelling.

6.7.2 Employee With Dependants: There will be no adjustment when an employee with one or more dependants is assigned a unit that is smaller or larger than the housing norm.

6.7.3 Shared Self-contained Accommodation: It is not the intent of this provision to require an employee and dependant(s) to share self-contained accommodation with another employee.

6.7.4 For purposes of this section, when the employer requires two or more employees, who would normally live separately to share accommodation, their individual share of the BSV and utilities charges shall be prorated by the number of employee occupants (i.e. 2 employees → each share is 50% of total for unit; 3 employees → each share is 33.3% of total for unit).

6.7.5 When an employee without dependants shares self-contained accommodation with another employee, the 60% reduction referred to in subsection 6.7.1 shall not apply. (revised October 30, 2008)

6.7.6 Loss of Privacy and Quiet Enjoyment: Departments shall apply a "Loss of Privacy and Quiet Enjoyment" adjustment when warranted. The adjustments for varying types and frequencies of intrusions are outlined in the following table. The maximum adjustment shall not exceed 50% of the BSV or phased-in BSV.

Intrusion Type

Frequency

 

High

Moderate

Low

Availability to the Public

30%

20%

10%

Public Use of Living Facilities

20%

13%

6%

Offensive Noise

20%

13%

6%

Frequency: The frequency of the occurrence of the intrusion should be judged as follows:

high: on average, more than twice per week

moderate: on average, more than twice per month

low: on average, less than twice per week or month

Special Reductions

6.8.1 The shelter charge determined in the preceding sections may only be further reduced in the following circumstances.

6.8.2 Maintenance Problems:

  1. All parties will make every effort to correct problems as soon as possible. Where serious maintenance problems are not corrected within 30 days, the department may suspend all or part of the rent charge until the problems are corrected.
  2. The reduction of the shelter charge for maintenance problems should only be temporary and should only be made where damage to the accommodation was no fault of the occupant. For example, disruption of normal services, breakdown in sewer and water facilities, leaks, serious health and safety concerns, etc.

Rental Charges Ceiling

6.9.1 Provincial/territorial rent control legislation does not apply to the federal government. However, where the rent charge exceeds 25% of household income, the employee may apply to the department to have the rate reduced to this value. This application must be made within 20 working days of receipt of notification of the rental charge and must include the necessary details to substantiate the household income. Such request shall not be unreasonably denied.

6.9.2 This provision applies only in locations where no public housing is immediately available.

6.9.3 The actual household income data on the date of application shall be used and retroactive salary increases thereafter shall be ignored, until the next annual rent review.

Furnishings

6.10.1 Self-contained living accommodation is provided with furniture where it is cost-beneficial to the Crown. This should take into account the cost of moving an employee's furniture in and out of the location as compared to the cost of providing and maintaining the furniture at the posted location and paying the cost of storing the employee's furniture and effects. No additional charge will be imposed to the tenant for furnished living accommodation.

Residential Standards

6.11.1 The Crown must provide and maintain residential property in a state of repair that:

  1. complies with health, safety and housing standards, and
  2. having regard to the age, character and location of the rental unit, makes it suitable for occupancy.

6.11.2 Departments shall maintain existing government housing units to conform to the National Building Code.

Annual Review

6.12.1 Rental charges for government housing shall be reviewed and adjusted annually. The normal date for implementation of revised charges will be August 1 of each year.

6.12.2 Occupants shall be given three months notice of any change in rent as the result of the annual review and such changes shall not be applied retroactively. To meet the August 1 implementation date, occupants must be advised in writing no later than April 30th.

6.12.3 Occupants shall be given a three-month notice of any increase for reasons other than the annual review, and such changes shall not be applied retroactively. Decreases in charges for these reasons will be effective the day the occupant is so advised. All overpayments by the occupants will be adjusted retroactively to the date of error/change.

Residential Parking

6.13.1 Where covered residential parking (garage or carport) forms part of a single-family dwelling (detached, semi-detached or row house) and is located on the property, the charge for this facility will be included in the BSV. Where parking is provided separately (i.e. off the property) or is for occupants of apartments, a separate charge will be imposed, determined by CMHC.

Fuel and Utility Charges

6.14.1 To the extent practicable, government housing shall be individually metered for utilities (heat, electricity and water) with the occupant paying consumption charges directly to the supplier (see Section 1.9). When it is not feasible to individually meter government-owned self-contained living accommodation, the Government of Canada is the supplier. (revised February 19, 2009)

6.14.2 The occupant will be charged for utilities on the basis of living space at $1.6548 per m2 multiplied by the Consumer Price Index (CPI 2002 = 100) for utilities as established by Statistics Canada for January of each year. (revised February 19, 2009)

6.14.3 Where all of the utilities are not provided, the charge to the occupant shall be a percentage of the amount calculated as follows: (revised February 19, 2009)

  1. 50 per cent for fuel,
  2. 40 per cent for electricity, and
  3. 10 per cent for water.

6.14.4 As an example, if we were to use the 2008 January CPI of 127.3 for Water, Fuel and Electricity, the following formula would be used to complete the calculation for the fuel and utilities charges: (revised February 19, 2009)

Note:

The monthly CPI can be found at the following website: Statistics Canada. Please select Table 4-2 Shelter (click on the green button HTML to be able to view WATER, FUEL AND ELECTRICITY for Canada). For purposes of this exercise, one would choose the January CPI Index. (revised February 19, 2009)

Example:

For a unit which is 120 square meters (approximately 1,300 square feet). (revised February 19, 2009)

Calculation:

Utility Factor (for example purposes only)

$1.6548 multiplied by 127.3 (January CPI) then divided by 100 – to equal $2.11 (utility factor). (revised February 19, 2009)

Utility Charge

Size of unit 120 sq. m. multiplied by utility factor of $2.11 to equal $253.20 utility charge per month. (revised February 19, 2009)

6.14.5 Where government-owned living accommodation is not individually metered: (revised February 19, 2009)

  1. the department will pay to the supplier the actual costs incurred for utilities; and (revised February 19, 2009)
  2. will charge the occupant the formula rate indicated above. (revised February 19, 2009)

6.14.6 This practice will continue until the units have been adequately retrofitted. Nevertheless, the occupant is responsible for ensuring that consumption is kept to a minimum consistent with environmental conditions and normal comfort levels. (revised February 19, 2009)