Isolated Posts and Government Housing Committee

The National Joint Council (NJC) is pleased to announce that the consultations led by the NJC Isolated Posts and Government Housing Committee (IPGHC) have resulted in a new NJC Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive (IPGHD). The Isolated Posts and Government Housing Committee is composed of representatives from Federal Public Service Bargaining Agents, the Employer and departments.

The new NJC Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive is effective August 1, 2007.

The Executive Committee wishes to thank all members of the IPGH Committee for their effort and commitment in this important review.

You are invited to consult the Q&A's which are posted in the "What's New" section of the NJC website: http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/doc.php?lang=en&did=370

The new directive is available on the NJC website: http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/doc.php?lang=en&did=142. Further detailed information on the changes to the Directive is also available via the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/hr-rh/gtla-vgcl/menu-ipla-dpicl_e.asp.

HIGHLIGHTS OF CHANGES

General

Organization – All the Parts of the Directive have been reorganized as follows :

General
Part I: Administration of Allowances
Part II: Designation and Payments
Part III: Expenses and Leave
Part IV: Relocation to an Isolated Post
Part V: Relocation upon End of Employment
Part VI: Government Housing
Appendix A to M

Immediate Family – The definition of Immediate Family has been modified to include grandparents and grandchildren, as is the case in other collective agreements in the Public Service.

Part I – Administration of Allowances

Shelter Cost Differential (SCD) – Introduction of a single rate for all employees with or without dependants living on the economy (i.e. not in government housing).

In addition, where a location no longer qualifies for the SCD, or where the SCD is reduced, employees affected by the change will now receive a written notice.

Leave without Pay – All allowances and some benefits will continue for employees who are on maternity or parental leave without pay, provided they continue to reside at the post.

Part II – Designation and Payments

(a)        Designation Criteria – Introduction of a new Designation Criteria developed by the IPGH Committee and accepted by the Executive Committee in 2005.

The Lands factor has been eliminated as a criterion (it was no longer relevant) and the points for this factor have been re-distributed to the Climate factor.

A new classification table has been developed, with ascending levels from 1 to 5.

A specific communication strategy has been developed for locations facing a reduction or a revocation of the EA as a result of the application of the new designation criteria.

(b)        Revocation of Environmental Allowance (EA) or Living Cost Differential (LCD) Allowance – New methodology for the phase-out of the EA or LCD allowance of a location, at the rate of $100/month.

(c)        Reduction to Classification – To ensure that all employees in a location receive notification of changes at the same time, TBS will notify departments of the effective date of any change to an allowance and departments will provide a written notice to each affected employee within 60 days of receiving the notification.

Part III – Expenses and Leave

(a)        Travelling and Transportation Expenses - Receipts will be required for reimbursement of travelling expenses incurred during travel for Non-Elective Medical or Dental Treatment, and during Compassionate and Bereavement Travel.

(b)        Vacation Travel Assistance

Discontinuation of the 100% accountable Vacation Travel Assistance (VTA).

The 80% non-accountable assistance is replaced with, a new "Fixed Rate" vacation travel assistance (VTA) benefit equivalent to 100% of the costs of a return full fare economy (Y class) ticket including GST and applicable provincial/territorial tax between the headquarters and the point of departure. The fixed rate VTA does not include NAVCAN charges, airport departure taxes, fuel surcharges, etc.

For headquarters without airports, the fixed rate VTA includes:

Where the driving distance between the post and the nearest airport OR between the post and the point of departure is 250 km or more, the employee and dependant(s) will each receive $100 for miscellaneous expenses.

The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) will publish the amount of the fixed rate VTA for each isolated post once each year for posts with an EA classification of 1, 2 or 3, and twice each year for posts with an EA classification of 4 or 5. The rates will be in effect until the publication of new rates the following fiscal year.

(c)        Travel Associated with Leave with Pay – Time off with pay for the purpose of travel must be associated and contiguous with an actual request for leave. The period granted is the lesser of two days or the actual period required to travel (normally by air) to the point of departure or to the destination.

Part IV – Relocation to an Isolated Post

All relocations to or between an isolated post will now be handled through the NJC Integrated Relocation Directive (IRD).

Specifics applicable only to isolated posts are outlined in this Part. They are:

Part V – Relocation upon End of Employment

Benefits no longer vary depending on the type of relocation assistance provided to an employee when relocating to the isolated post.

Benefits streamlined and clarified as follows:

(a)        Resignation (less than one year) – Removal of the entitlement to a recoverable advance to assist in relocation out of the post.

(b)        Resignation (one year or more) – Entitlement is to reimbursement of expenses in an amount not exceeding the amount that would be incurred in relocating to the point of departure.

(c)        Rejection on Probation – Removal of entitlement to reimbursement of expenses.

(d)        Disciplinary Termination (Five or more continuous years of employment at isolated posts) – Entitlement is to reimbursement of expenses incurred in relocating to point of departure, rather than place of residence.

(e)        Reimbursement of Expenses – Entitlement to interim accommodation is increased from 6 days to 15 days when the employment ends by reason of retirement, disability, workforce adjustment or non-disciplinary termination of employment pursuant to Section 12.(1)(d) and (e) of the Financial Administration Act.

(f)         The time limit to incur expenses is increased from thirty (30) days to ninety (90) days following the termination of employment.

Part VI – Government Housing

This Part has been simplified. A sentence has been added to clarify that employees are normally responsible for securing their own accommodation, and that it is not the intent of the Directive to provide government housing to employees who own residential accommodation at the post.

Rent – Introduction of language detailing how the rent to be paid for a unit is calculated.

Rental Charge Adjustments – New paragraph added to clarify that the 60% special reduction does not apply to an employee without dependants sharing a self-contained accommodation with another employee.

Appendices

(a)        Appendix H – Criteria for Determining Levels –

Environment Allowance: Section 1 amended to reflect changes to the Environment Criteria:

Living Cost Differential: Section 2 amended with the addition of a table listing the points of comparison.

(b)        Appendix I: Old Appendix I (Calculation of Maximum Entitlement) deleted. Replaced by new Appendix I – Meals or Rations.

(c)        Appendix J: Old Appendix J (Reimbursable Expenses) deleted. Replaced by new Appendix J – Relocation upon end of Employment.

(d)        Appendix K: Old Appendix K (Meals or Rations) renamed Appendix I. Replaced by new Appendix K-1 – Shelter Cost Differential (SCD) – Qualifying Locations – Private Accommodation, and new Appendix K-2 – Shelter Cost Differential (SCD) – Qualifying Locations – Government Housing.

(e)        Appendix L: Old Appendix L (Relocation to an Isolated Post) deleted. New Appendix L – Occupancy Agreement for Government-owned Accommodation (previously Appendix N). Content reviewed and updated.

(f)         Appendix M: Old Appendix M renamed Appendix K-1 and K-2. New Appendix M – Calculation of Rent for Government Housing contains a form for the detailed calculation of rent for a government housing unit.