Isolated Posts and Government Housing Committee

The Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive states that when a community south of the 60th parallel of latitude attains a population of 10,000 but not more than 15,000, it shall remain an isolated post if it is:

(a)   not accessible by an all-weather road; or

(b)   accessible by a an all-weather road and is more than 161 kilometres by road from a location south of the 60th parallel of latitude with a population of more than 100,000.

A location south of the 60th parallel of latitude with a population of less than 10,000 may be designated as an isolated post if it is:

(a)   accessible by means of an all-weather road and is more than:

(i)    161 kilometres by road from a location south of the 60th parallel with a population of more than 10,000, and

(ii)   322 kilometres by road from a location south of the 60th parallel with a population of more than 50,000, and

(b)   it is entitled to 45 points or more in accordance with the EA criteria set out in Appendix H, Section 1.

Every five years, shortly after the release of the Census of Canada: Census of Population, the Treasury Board Secretariat is responsible for conducting a review of the Environment Allowance classification of all locations listed in the IPGH Directive, in accordance with the agreed designation criteria contained in the directive.

As part of the cyclical review of the directive, the IPGH Committee had proposed that the results of the 2005 Review of the Designation Criteria be implemented. This review stemmed from the 2000 decision by the Executive Committee to strike a joint review group to thoroughly examine the designation criteria issue which had been raised by employees and managers of the region and to report on it at the next cyclical review.

The IPGH Committee conducted the review and recommended, after consultation with experts from the Census Division – Statistics Canada, that the Census Subdivisions (CSD) and Designated Places (DPL) designations be the starting point in establishing the population for a particular location. The review also recommended the abolition of the Lands Factor, as it was no longer relevant, and the redistribution to the Climate Factor of the points allotted for this factor. It was further recommended that the population ranges currently set out in the IPGH Directive be maintained and that the new Designation Criteria be applied to all isolated posts including Gaspé, Rivière-au-Renard, Grande-Rivière and Chandler.

The results of the 2007 classification review of the communities indicate that the Town of Gaspé (which now includes Rivière-au-Renard) and the towns of Chandler and of Grande-Rivière no longer qualify as isolated posts.

The 2006 Census indicates that Gaspé has a population of 14,819. Rivière-au-Renard is not a distinct community and it has been part of Gaspé since the 1971 amalgamation. Grande-Rivière and Chandler are respectively 88 kilometres and 103 kilometres from Gaspé and less than the 161 kilometres distance threshold.

The EA results for each of the communities are listed below:

Gaspé

Population:  14,819 (Source: 2006 Census of Canada)

Access:       Accessible by an all weather road and less than 161 kilometres by road from a location south of the 60th parallel of latitude with a population of more than 100,000 (698 km to Québec, population 491,142)

Does not qualify as an isolated post.

Grande-Rivière

Population:  3,409 (Source: 2006 Census of Canada)

Access:       Less than 161 km by road from a location of more than 10,000 population (88 km to Gaspé, population 14,819)

Does not qualify as an isolated post.

Chandler

Population:  7,914 (Source: 2006 Census of Canada)

Access:       Less than 161 km by road from a location of more than 10,000 population (103 km to Gaspé, population 14,819)

Does not qualify as an isolated post.

The Town of Gaspé (which includes Rivière-au-Renard) does not qualify for an EA: it does not meet the first criteria as its population exceeds 10,000.

Grande-Rivière does not qualify for an EA due to its distance from Gaspé (population 14,819)

Chandler does not qualify for an EA due to its distance from Gaspé (population 14,819)

In order to mitigate the impact of these results on employees in those communities, the National Joint Council Isolated Posts and Government Housing Committee (NJC-IPGHC) has developed an interim process on an exceptional basis for the phasing-out of the Environment Allowance in the affected communities that no longer qualify.

Phase-Out Process

1.    The Environment Allowance will be reduced at the rate of $100 per month; and,

2.    Each employee (and their dependants) will retain the entitlement to the Vacation Travel Assistance benefit only for any year for which an EA amount is payable.

This means that these communities are no longer entitled to benefits under Part III, Sections 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.8 and 3.9.

It is anticipated that the phase-out will take approximately two to three years to complete.

Public Service employees or regional staff should direct any questions on this subject to their Designated Departmental Coordinator for the IPGHD (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/ipgh-dpill/ddhc-cmdl_e.asp), the appropriate departmental corporate official who, if need be, can contact the appropriate officers at the Treasury Board Secretariat.