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 March 1, 2017.

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 "Communiqués" section of the NJC website: http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/s24/s27/d657/en 

The new directive is available on the NJC website: http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/directive/index.php?vid=237&svid=0&lang=eng . 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

Throughout

Where Household Income is referred to, the word gross has been added, specifying the household income used in calculations.

As the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is no longer the service provider, this wording has been changed throughout the Directive to the more generic term of the "contracted service provider". 

In addition to this, most examples throughout the Directive have been moved to the newly created "Appendix O", improving the flow of the Directive.

Where it was indicated that departments shall ensure that each employee is provided with a copy of this Directive upon request, responsibilities were reviewed and wording was added to reflect departments' providing web access to the Directive.

General

Application – The language has been revised to be more precise with respect to exclusions. It has been specified that this Directive applies to employees in the Public Service, and provides the definition of Public Service. This section has been expanded to include (c), wording relating to students covered by the Terms and Conditions of Employment for Students.

Purpose and Scope – The language of the Purpose and Scopehas been modernised.

Treasury Board Secretariat – Wording has been added to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) portion of the Responsibility section, reflecting the responsibility of departments to notify employees in writing of any changes that may affect them.

Department – Wording has been reinforced in this section stating that Departments shall develop comprehensive information packages on the Directive.

Allowances – More precise language has been introduced with respect to the Living Cost Differential, the Fuel and Utilities Differential, and the Shelter Cost Differential to reflect the fact that the term "abnormally higher" means prices that are at least 15% higherthan the comparison location.

Appropriate governing authority – Wording of the definition of appropriate governing authority has been expanded to include delegating authority.

Dependant – Specific wording was added to the definition of Dependant in order to maintain consistency with other NJC directives.

Economy airfare – In order to keep the same wording throughout the Directive and to maintain a common look and feel with the Travel Directive, the term "return full-fare economy class ticket (fully refundable)" has been used in the definition of Economy airfare.

Employee – The definition was streamlined to remove redundant language.

Private non-commercial accommodation – Private non-commercial accommodation was introduced as an alternate option for those on non-elective medical or dental travel.  This also ensures consistency with the Travel Directive's definition of this term.

Public Transportation – A definition for Public Transportation has been added.

Road Kilometers – Wording indicating the option to use new electronic mapping systems has been added to the definition for Road kilometers.

Common-Law Partner Declaration – This Declaration is now located in the new "Appendix N" to maintain a common look and feel with other NJC Directives.  The requirement for the Deputy Head signature has also been added to the declaration.

Part l – Administration of Allowances

Living Cost Differential – In section 1.8.3, (a) and (b) were merged for simplicity and the numbering corrected to 1.8.2.

Leave Without Pay or Absence Without Leave – As portion (b) "absent from duty without leave" refers to a former abandonment of position, which no longer exists, this has been removed.

Effective Date of Allowances – The Commencement provision has been moved from section 1.15 to section 2.1 with the changed title of "Designation and Effective Date".  As some clarification was needed regarding the effective date, a new subsection 2.1.3, indicating that "a location is deemed an isolated post effective the date approved by the Isolated Post and Government Housing Committee" was added to this section.  The Termination provision has been moved from section 1.16 to the newly created section 2.2.

Part ll – Designation and Payments

Determining Levels – A note was added outlining prorating payments of provisions in the Determining Levels section. 

Deletion of a Location or Reduction of an Allowance – The word "revocation" and the like have been removed throughout this section and replaced with "reduction", as rates get reduced based on the methodologies, not revoked.

Rates Established or Changed – Wording has been added to denote that annual reviews and updates are not subject to written notifications as described in section 2.12.

Increase to Classification – Authorities have been standardized to reflect the authority of TBS to approve the rates in order to keep all of the directives aligned with respect to standard authorities.

Part lll – Expenses and Leave

Non-Elective Medical or Dental Treatment – Wording has been added to define the meaning of the terms "attending medical/dental practitioner"and "patient".  A note regarding "Non-commercial accommodation" has been introduced, applicable to those on non-elective medical or dental travel.  Wording has also been amended to provide consistency, specifying that the treating physician will determine whether it is necessary for the person obtaining the treatment to be escorted.  Wording regarding dependant care, as defined by the Travel Directive, was also added under the new paragraph under 3.1.4 (c).  Lastly, a deadline of 12 months was introduced for the submission of claims for reimbursement.

Compassionate Travel and Expenses – Wording has been added to allow for the benefits provided by this section to extend to one dependant as being "equal to spouse" in cases where spouse or common law partner does not accompany the employee.

Bereavement Travel expenses – Wording has been added to allow for the benefits provided by this section to extend to one dependant as being "equal to spouse" in cases where spouse or common law partner does not accompany the employee.  Clarification has been provided surrounding the current practice of expenses being reimbursed for actual travel days to and from the headquarters.

Vacation Travel Assistance – Wording has been added to clarify current practices surrounding the timing of the publication and of VTA rates as well as the payment of VTA.  In addition, it has been specified that the rates cannot be combined, also reflecting current practice.  Wording from the deleted section 3.8 "Post-Secondary Education Travel" section has been reinforced in 3.4.5 in order to provide only one administrative process for this dependent.

VTA Qualification Period – a title has been added to specify the content of this section. 

Vacation Travel Assistance Entitlement – A title change has been implemented as the term "fixed rate" and travel assistance has been removed from this section. As there is only one VTA, the terms "fixed rate" and "100%" are redundant.  Wording has been added reflecting that in the case that an employee chooses to purchase a seat for his/her child under 2, the employee will be reimbursed upon proof of airfare ticket purchase.  Where the airline whose rates are being used for VTA offers a percentage discount of the full fare economy class airfare on the basis of the age of a child, this rate will be used for the VTA for the child.

Recovery of Vacation Travel Assistance – Wording reflecting the instance of relocating to a non-isolated post has been added to that of resignation for the purpose of receiving the listed benefit amounts.

Part lV – Relocation to an Isolated Post

Medical Clearances – New wording was added providing for the employing department to make every effort to accommodate individuals who are unable to meet the specifications in Health Canada's Occupational Health Assessment Guide.

Furnished Accommodation - Weight Limitations – A limit was set providing an option for the Deputy Head to authorize a short-term rental of a vehicle by an employee awaiting the shipment of his/her motor vehicle, if the cost of said rental is less than the cost of immediate shipment.

Storage of Effects – The title was changed to "Furnished Accommodation – Storage of Effects" to better reflect the substance of this section.

Delay of Dependant's Relocation – Following a review of authority, wording was added demonstrating that the provisions of this section are subject to Deputy Head approval with respect to a delay of a dependant's relocation.

Part Vl – Government Housing 

Base Shelter Value – The Base shelter value provision has been re-written and simplified. 

Appendices

All Appendices have been updated to include the most recent rates available.

Appendix J - Relocation Upon End of Employment (see Part V) – An employee who has been subject to Workforce Adjustment with less than five years of employment is not eligible to relocate under the IPGHD.  As such, reference to WFA was removed from this part of the Directive.

Appendix L – Occupancy Agreement for Government-owned Accommodations – Wording has been added to section (8) to specify that all benefits and allowances cease upon termination of employment.