FSD 25 - Shelter
The employer is committed to a policy of average comparability which recognizes that wherever possible and practicable, and allowing for local conditions and lifestyles, the employer shall provide each Canada-based employee outside Canada with accommodation which is generally comparable to the average fully-serviced rental accommodation normally occupied by a person of similar salary and family configuration in the Ottawa/Gatineau area. In return, the employee shall pay a shelter cost to the employer which in general corresponds to the cost of average fully-serviced unfurnished rental accommodation normally occupied by a person of similar salary and family configuration in the Ottawa/Gatineau area. Employees' shelter costs (Appendix A) shall be updated by Treasury Board staff to reflect the shelter component of the Statistics Canada Census, in accordance with the methodology agreed to in the National Joint Council Committee on Foreign Service Directives and submitted to that Committee for approval prior to implementation. Census data is only available every five years. The shelter cost table was revised on April 1, 2009 and shall be re-based after each Census with effect from the first day of April following the publication of the Census results.
This directive provides financial assistance to an employee in renting accommodation at a location outside Canada where housing costs exceed those of Ottawa/Gatineau and Crown-held accommodation is not provided. Assistance is provided to compensate for the difference in shelter costs for fully-serviced rental accommodation between Ottawa/Gatineau and each such location, having regard for the employee's annual salary, household size and program requirements including the requirement to extend substantial official hospitality in the home. Unless otherwise indicated in this directive, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs has been delegated authority to establish rent ceilings for locations where staff accommodation is privately-leased, on the recommendation of the appropriate foreign service interdepartmental co-ordinating committee.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is responsible for the provision of staff accommodation at locations outside Canada where they are represented and in conformity with the policy on administrative integration abroad and the use of common service organizations.
25.01 In this directive:
(a) actual rent (loyer réel) refers to the amount in local currency which the employee is paid by the employer in order to lease living accommodation at a post which, whenever possible and practicable and allowing for local conditions and lifestyles, meets the average comparability policy. Actual rent may include charges or taxes for municipal services such as fire protection, police protection, street cleaning, mail delivery, street lighting, snow removal, as well as condominium fees and similar charges or taxes such as subdivision fees and an amount which is required by a lessor in consideration of tenancy in order for the employee to acquire permanent accommodation. (Refer to Sections 25.19 and 25.20.) Actual rent may also include the monthly cost of monitoring a previously installed security system, where this is a condition of the lease and Post management is satisfied as to the necessity of such an arrangement.
An employee should ensure that, whenever possible, charges or taxes for municipal services are included in a lease agreement. Municipal services are those services which in Canada are usually included in rent or taxes, and exclude such items as snow removal from a walk or driveway which is an employee's personal responsibility.
(b) rent ceiling (loyer maximal) means the maximum amount established by the employer for each location where staff accommodation is privately leased and represents the maximum actual rent payable to the employee for unfurnished living accommodation at that location, having regard to the employee's salary, household size and program requirements including the requirement to extend substantial official hospitality at home. Where the deputy head is not prepared to authorize shipment of an employee's household effects in accordance with the Weight Limitation Table for Unfurnished Accommodation under FSD 15.14, a separate rent ceiling shall be established for furnished accommodation or the rent ceiling shall include provision for furniture rental. Rent ceilings shall also include, where applicable, condominium fees and similar charges or taxes such as subdivision fees and may include the monthly cost of monitoring a previously installed security system, where this is a condition of the lease and post management is satisfied as to the necessity of such an arrangement.
(c) shelter cost (frais de logement) means the amount in Canadian dollars which the employee must pay to the employer for shelter for occupancy of Crown-held accommodation or where an employee is in receipt of shelter assistance. The shelter cost represents an amount which in general corresponds to the cost of average fully-serviced unfurnished rental accommodation normally occupied by a person of similar salary and family configuration in the Ottawa/Gatineau area. Such shelter cost may be paid in Canadian dollars or in local currency equivalent.
Where an employee has purchased local currency within the seven days preceding the first working day of the month in order to pay that month's shelter cost, the actual rate of exchange obtained may be used in the determination of the equivalent shelter cost payable by the employee. In all other cases, the equivalent local currency cost shall be based on the most favourable legal rate of exchange available to employees on the first working day of the month in which the shelter cost is payable, as determined by post management.
Where an employee is claiming the actual rate of exchange obtained during the seven days preceding the first working day of the month, the exchange voucher must be presented to Post administration before the first working day of the month in which the shelter cost is payable. Where a voucher is not presented prior to the first working day of the month, Post administration will calculate the local currency equivalent based on the most favourable legal rate of exchange available to employees on the first working day of the month in which the shelter cost is payable.
(d) Where staff accommodation is provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, deputy head (administrateur général) means the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
25.02 For the purposes of determining an employee's shelter cost, and, where applicable, actual rent,
(a) the employee's annual salary on the commencement date of the initial lease for personally-leased accommodation, or the date of occupancy of Crown-held accommodation, as well as the first of April of each year subsequent to these dates, shall determine an employee's salary group;
(b) the employee plus dependants as defined in FSD 2 - Interpretation who are, or will be residing with the employee for at least eight months of any consecutive twelve-month period, shall constitute the household size, except that:
(i) an employee shall have the option of electing a household size which is one level higher than the actual household size to recognize the impending birth or adoption of a child;
(ii) an employee who is accompanied by three or more dependants and who is renting private accommodation shall have the choice of electing a household size which is one level lower than the actual household size;
(iii) an employee who is renting private accommodation shall have the choice of electing a household size which is one level higher than the actual household size; at the discretion of the deputy head, the employee may be permitted to elect a household size which is more than one level higher than the actual household size;
(iv) where an employee makes an election in accordance with Section 25.02(b)(ii) or (iii), it shall remain in force for as long as the employee continues to occupy the accommodation which was occupied at the time the election was made and the employee's actual rent and/or shelter cost shall not be affected during this period by the arrival or departure of a member of the employee's household;
(v) where Section 25.02(b)(ii) or (iii) does not apply, the employee's household size, for purposes of shelter cost, shall be adjusted on the first day of the month following a change in household size due to the permanent arrival or departure of a dependant; in such situations, where an employee is occupying Crown-held accommodation, the employee and the employer will make every reasonable effort to relocate the employee to accommodation which is suitable having regard to the employee's revised household size.
1. For purposes of Section 25.02(a), annual salary means the employee's basic rate of pay or acting pay, calculated on an annual basis, that is payable in respect of the regular duties performed by the employee at a Mission, that is actually received by the employee, and reflected in the Pay and Allowance Statement for that month:
(a) on the commencement date of the initial lease for personally-leased accommodation, or
(b) on the date of occupancy of Crown-held accommodation, and
(c) on the first day of April each year following occupancy of permanent accommodation,
and, where a retroactive salary adjustment is authorized for employees subject to these directives, either as a result of a collective agreement or unilateral action by the employer, the effective date for adjustment of the employee's shelter cost shall be the first day of April following the date of the instrument effecting such change (that is, the date of signing of a collective agreement, or an Arbitral Award, or the date of approval of the revision in the case of excluded employees).
Where an employee changes accommodation in accordance with Section 25.02(b)(iii) or (iv) the provisions of Section 25.25 may be applied at the discretion of the deputy head.
The intent of Sections 25.02(b)(i) and (ii) is to allow some choice of accommodation which is compatible with the employee's lifestyle. For example, a single employee may elect for a household size of two to allow for guests or for some other person, such as a brother or sister, who does not qualify as a dependant as defined in FSD 2 - Interpretation.
25.03 On submission of the Application for Shelter Assistance Form, the deputy head may authorize payment to an employee who rents accommodation of:
(a) actual rent up to the rent ceiling established for the post on the basis of the employee's annual salary and household size, or
(b) where in the opinion of the deputy head an employee is required to extend substantial official hospitality at home,
(i) actual rent up to the rent ceiling established for the post on the basis of the employee's annual salary and household size and recognizing the requirement to extend substantial official hospitality at home, or
(ii) where there are fewer than four other persons in the employee's household, actual rent up to the maximum rent ceiling for the post on the basis of the employee's annual salary (without regard for household size) and recognizing the requirement to extend substantial official hospitality at home.
(a) Where an employee is receiving actual rent in accordance with Section 25.03, such rent shall remain fixed for the duration of the lease except that:
(i) where the rent ceiling has been revised, actual rent may be adjusted up to the amount of the revised rent ceiling, in accordance with the employee's annual salary and household size used to determine the previous rent ceiling, with effect from the date of the revised rent ceiling; and/or
(ii) where the initial or subsequent lease contains a cost adjustment clause, actual rent shall be adjusted up to the amount of the rent ceiling in accordance with the employee's annual salary and household size on the effective date of the adjustment.
(b) Notwithstanding the limitations of Sections 25.01(b) and 25.03, actual rent may exceed the rent ceiling where:
(i) actual rent on initial occupancy did not exceed the rent ceiling at that time, the cost adjustment clause or subsequent lease, as applicable, was approved by Post management and the deputy head is of the opinion that such excess rent is a justifiable charge to public funds; and/or
(ii) it can be demonstrated that the rent ceiling is inadequate for a particular employee due to unusual circumstances or conditions, on the recommendation of the appropriate foreign service interdepartmental coordinating committee.
(c) Where an employee who is receiving actual rent enters into a new or subsequent lease, actual rent shall be adjusted up to the amount of the rent ceiling in accordance with the employee's annual salary and household size with effect from the first day of the new or subsequent lease.
Unusual circumstances or conditions referred to in Section 25.04(b)(ii) would include the following:
(a) special housing requirements for a disabled person;
(b) additional space requirements due to family size, not taken into consideration when establishing the rent ceiling;
(c) unusual program requirements, not taken into consideration when establishing the rent ceiling;
(d) unusual market conditions which could not be anticipated when establishing the rent ceiling.
In the event of the death of an employee who has been occupying privately-leased accommodation, the deputy head may authorize continued payment of actual rent to the employee's dependants for occupancy of such accommodation for a reasonable time after the employee's death, taking into consideration the circumstances of each case and subject to payment of the appropriate shelter cost to the employer.
25.05 Subject to Section 25.22(b), where an employee rents accommodation and receives actual rent or occupies Crown-held accommodation at a post, the deputy head shall authorize payment of the actual and reasonable utility charges specified in Section 25.06 that are incurred by the employee during the period commencing on the first day of the lease or the first day of occupancy of Crown-held accommodation and terminating on the day of the employee's final departure from permanent accommodation or the day the lease is terminated, whichever is the earlier.
In the event of the death of an employee where the employee's dependants have been authorized to continue occupancy of Crown-held accommodation or privately-leased accommodation, the deputy head may authorize continued payment of actual and reasonable utility charges in accordance with Section 25.05, subject to payment of the appropriate shelter cost to the employer, in accordance with Section 25.12.
25.06 The utility charges referred to in Section 25.05 in respect of which the deputy head shall authorize payment,
(a) include charges in respect of:
(i) rental and repair of meters;
(ii) identifiable water costs;
(iv) fuel used for heating, including the cost of firewood where this is a primary source of heat or where this is an essential source of heat to supplement an inadequate heating system or where used in fuel-efficient fireplaces designed to reduce energy consumption;
(v) the primary fuel used for cooking;
(viii) garbage collection;
(ix) charges or taxes for municipal services such as fire protection, police protection, street cleaning, mail delivery, street lighting and snow removal, when not included in the leasing agreement as part of rent;
(x) pest control where required by local law or where considered by Post management to be in excess of an employee's personal responsibility. Such charges shall be limited to those that would not normally be incurred in Canada or would be the responsibility of the landlord or appropriate local authority such as the municipal health or sanitation department. In considering charges for pest control, post management shall take into account any recommendation or advice from Health Canada or local health authority;
(xi) licence fees imposed by the host government for one television set, one car radio and one radio in the home;
including sales or excise taxes in respect of those charges specified above;
(b) do not include charges or taxes in respect of:
(i) telephone service;
(ii) personal services, including those provided by doormen, janitors, maids, concierges, gardeners.
1. An employee who occupies Crown-held accommodation shall pay the cost of telephone service during the period of occupancy, notwithstanding the fact that the telephone is not in the name of the employee, except in unusual situations where specifically authorized in advance by the deputy head.
2. An employee who is responsible for payment of expenses for maintenance and/or repairs to privately-leased accommodation in accordance with local law and/or practice may be eligible for reimbursement in accordance with Section 25.23.
An employee should ensure that, whenever possible, charges or taxes for municipal services are included in the lease agreement. Municipal services are those services which, in Canada, are usually included in rent or taxes and exclude such items as snow removal from a walk or driveway which is an employee's personal responsibility.
(a) Where an employee is allocated Crown-held accommodation at a post, it shall be a condition of assignment to that post that the employee occupy that accommodation, provided such accommodation is suitable.
(b) The deputy head shall determine the suitability of Crown-held accommodation on the basis of annual salary, actual or anticipated household size (including the impending birth of a child) and program requirements, including the requirement to extend substantial official hospitality at home.
(c) As a condition of occupancy, the employee shall sign an Occupancy Agreement.
In determining the suitability of Crown-held accommodation in accordance with Section 25.07(b), the deputy head shall be guided by the Staff Quarter Space Targets/Guidelines used for the determination of accommodation deficiency adjustments, as specified in Appendix C to this directive, as amended by the National Joint Council Committee on Foreign Service Directives, when necessary, to reflect changes to Staff Quarter Guidelines and/or ADA methodology.
(d) Where an employee has signed an Occupancy Agreement, the Crown shall be responsible for public liability and for compensation for damage/loss to an employee's personal and household effects to the same extent as a landlord would be responsible under the law of Ontario. In addition, the Crown shall be responsible for such other matters which, because of local law or practice, may be specified in the leasing agreement between the Crown and the local landlord as being the responsibility of the lessee but which would normally be the responsibility of the landlord under the law of Ontario.
(e) Where an employee chooses to vacate Crown-held accommodation for personal reasons, a minimum of two months advance written notice of intent to vacate shall be given and the employee shall continue to pay shelter cost for the lesser of:
(i) two calendar months after the month in which notice of intent to vacate is given; or
(ii) the period until the accommodation is disposed of or again occupied;
1. The Occupancy Agreement referred to in Section 25.07 is the Occupancy Agreement agreed to in the National Joint Council Committee on Foreign Service Directives.
2. Employees should be alerted to their personal responsibility to identify inventory items and note their condition in the Schedules attached to the Occupancy Agreement and to take out appropriate householder's insurance for public liability and for damage/loss of personal and household effects.
3. In the event of the death of an employee, the deputy head may authorize the continued occupancy of Crown-held accommodation by the employee's dependants, for a reasonable time after the employee's death, taking into consideration the circumstances of each case. Clearly, accommodation will have to be made available eventually to a successor, but flexibility and understanding will be applied to the greatest extent possible.
(a) Subject to Sections 25.10 and 25.11, and/or to FSD 15.33 - Living expenses in temporary accommodation, FSD 16 - Assistance for a principal residence and/or FSD 18 - Special family separation assistance, as applicable, an employee who occupies Crown-held accommodation or who occupies privately-leased accommodation and is receiving actual rent, shall pay a shelter cost in accordance with Appendix A to this directive.
(b) Shelter cost is payable in advance on the first day of the month.
(c) An employee who pays a shelter cost in local currency may be reimbursed such bank service and/or exchange charges incurred in such payment on certification that these charges have been paid for the purchase of the local currency equivalent of the shelter cost.
The shelter cost table (Appendix A) is determined in accordance with the methodology agreed to in the National Joint Council Committee on Foreign Service Directives on the basis of the shelter component of the Statistics Canada Census. Census data is only available every five years. The shelter cost table was revised on April 1, 2009 and shall be re-based after each Census with effect from the first day of April following the publication of the Census results.
25.09 Blank - Provisions for dual residence assistance have been transferred to FSD 16 - Assistance for a principal residence, effective June 1, 2003.
25.10 Where an employee is required to occupy Crown-held accommodation which has unacceptable deficiencies having regard to the employee's salary and family configuration, as determined by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the employee shall be entitled to an accommodation deficiency adjustment. This is determined as a percentage reduction to the applicable shelter cost to recognize the impact of the deficiency on the liveability of the accommodation, and is reflected in the employee's monthly Foreign Service Allowance Statement. The deficiency adjustment shall be determined in accordance with the methodology agreed to in the National Joint Council Committee on Foreign Service Directives and outlined in Appendix C to this directive.
(a) Where an employee chooses to share accommodation with one or more other employees, the appropriate shelter costs shall be determined on the basis of:
(i) the total number of employees and dependants in the household, and
(ii) the annual salary for the employee who is in receipt of the higher/highest salary,
and shall be assessed in total to the employee who is in receipt of the higher/highest salary who shall be required to pay the total shelter cost to the employer. This provision also applies to an employee-couple, whether they are assigned to the same post, or to different posts.
(b) Where an employee is required to share Crown-held accommodation with one or more employees together with their dependants, each employee's shelter cost shall be based on each annual salary and household size divided by the number of employees sharing the accommodation.
(c) Where an employee shares privately-leased accommodation with one or more other employees, the rent ceiling shall be applied in the same manner as used to determine the appropriate shelter cost in this section.
Section 25.11 shall also apply when, as the result of an emergency evacuation, an employee is required to share accommodation with one or more employees or when an employee, with the approval of the Head of Mission, shares accommodation with a non-employee. In such situations an employee may be entitled to an accommodation deficiency adjustment in accordance with Section 25.10.
(a) Except as provided in Section 25.07(e), and in FSD 15.33 - Living expenses in temporary accommodation, FSD 16 - Assistance for a principal residence and in FSD 18 - Special family separation assistance, an employee's shelter cost, determined in accordance with this directive, shall apply from the first day of occupancy of privately-leased or Crown-held accommodation at the post, and shall cease on the day following the termination date of the lease for which actual rent was paid, or the final departure of the employee from permanent accommodation, whichever is earlier. The shelter cost shall remain fixed until the following April 1st, except:
(i) for periods for which deficiency adjustments are authorized; and
(ii) where there is a change in the size of an employee's household residing at the post, in which case the shelter cost shall be adjusted on the first day of the month following the permanent arrival or departure of a dependant, on the basis of the employee's salary used to determine the shelter cost before the change in household size, subject to Section 25.02(b)(iii).
(b) In cases of emergency evacuation where the employee and accompanying dependant(s) have been evacuated under the provisions of FSD 64 - Emergency evacuation and loss, the final departure date from accommodation shall be the date indicated on the Posting Confirmation Form (or equivalent), subject to adjustments which may be authorized in accordance with Section 25.11.
(c) An employee's shelter cost shall be adjusted on April 1st of each year, in accordance with Appendix A, to reflect any change in salary, as outlined in Instruction 1 following Section 25.02(b). It shall be further adjusted every five years, on the first day of April following the publication of the Census results, to reflect the revised shelter cost table, except that:
(i) where an employee changes either privately-leased accommodation or Crown-held accommodation, as a result of uncontrollable circumstances, the annual salary shall remain fixed as the annual salary used to determine actual rent or shelter cost for the accommodation occupied immediately prior to the change;
(ii) where an employee is allocated temporary Crown-held accommodation because suitable accommodation (having regard for annual salary, household size and/or program requirements) is not available, and subsequently is allocated suitable Crown-held accommodation, annual salary shall be that which was in effect on the day of occupancy of temporary accommodation.
The shelter cost table referred to in Section 25.12 is developed in accordance with the methodology agreed to in the National Joint Council Committee on Foreign Service Directives.
Where, following the death of an employee, the employee's dependants have been authorized to continue occupancy of Crown-held accommodation or privately-leased accommodation, such occupancy shall be subject to payment of the appropriate shelter cost to the employer, in accordance with Section 25.12.
25.13 An employee shall have the right to opt out of the shelter provisions of this directive, which include those provisions related to utilities in Sections 25.05, 25.06, 25.21 and 25.22, and personally arrange for accommodation on the local market at no cost to the Crown, except that this choice would not normally be available to an employee where it is a condition of assignment that the employee occupy Crown-held accommodation. In these cases, approval shall be at the discretion of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In applying Section 25.13, the option should normally be exercised at the beginning of a posting and would usually last for the length of the posting. The option would not be available to an employee who chooses to share accommodation with another employee to whom these directives apply.
25.14 The shelter cost, as provided in the Appendix to this directive, shall be increased by 20% if an employee rents furnished accommodation at a post to which the deputy head was prepared to approve payment of the expenses of shipping that employee's furniture and household equipment, but the employee requests and the deputy head agrees to store such furniture and household equipment at public expense.
25.15 Where an employee
(a) is temporarily absent from the post with the deputy head's approval, or
(b) is assigned to a new post
the shelter cost and actual rent applicable immediately prior to departure shall continue to apply as long as a dependant continues to reside in the employee's accommodation at the post, subject to any adjustment pursuant to Sections 25.04 and 25.12.
25.16 Where an employee is temporarily absent from the post with the deputy head's approval and no dependant continues to reside in the employee's privately-leased accommodation at the post, the deputy head may authorize termination of payment of the actual rent on the day following the last day of occupancy, having regard for:
(a) the estimated cost if the lease were not terminated and payment of the actual rent were continued during the period of temporary absence, and
(b) the estimated costs of living expenses and temporary shelter and related expenses and, if applicable, the higher actual rent on the return of the employee if the lease is terminated; and where the employee's lease is terminated, the deputy head may authorize payment of living and temporary shelter expenses on the employee's return to the post, in accordance with FSD 15 - Relocation, except that the benefit period shall not include time spent in temporary accommodation prior to the employee's return.
25.17 Where an employee is temporarily absent from the post with the deputy head's approval, and no dependant continues to reside in the employee's privately-leased accommodation which is sublet, the actual rent shall be reduced by one-half of the actual amount received by the employee from subletting.
25.18 Where an employee is absent from the post without the deputy head's approval, the deputy head may terminate payment of the actual rent and the shelter cost effective from the first day of such absence.
25.19 Where an employee is required to pay a lessor a sum of money to acquire permanent accommodation, either as advance rent or in consideration of tenancy, but other than a security deposit, the deputy head may grant the employee the required advance which shall not exceed six times the monthly actual rent as determined pursuant to Section 25.03.
Where an employee is occupying privately-leased accommodation and the lessor claims for alleged loss or damage, reference should be made to Section 25.24 and FSD 26 - Security deposit advance.
25.20 Where an employee has been granted an advance in accordance with Section 25.19, recovery shall be as follows:
(a) where the advance has been provided for advance rent, the employee's shelter cost shall be payable for the duration of the lease, but the employee shall not receive actual rent for that period of the lease for which advance rent has been paid;
(b) where the advance has been provided in consideration of tenancy, the amount of such advance shall be recovered by monthly deductions from the employee's actual rent at a rate not less than the rate computed as follows:
Amount of advance granted
Total months in lease
25.21 An employee who is required to pay for public utilities in advance in order to obtain service may be granted an advance, not exceeding the amount of the advance specified by the utility company, at the discretion of the deputy head.
Provisions related to the financing of advances made under Section 25.21 are contained in the Appendix to FSD 10 - Posting loan.
25.22 Where an employee has been granted an advance in accordance with Section 25.21, recovery shall be as follows:
(a) where the advance has been made for utilities for which payment of charges are the employee's responsibility, the advance
(i) shall be repaid by the employee upon recovery from the utility company, or
(ii) shall be recovered from the employee's salary two months after the departure from the post,
whichever is the earlier;
(b) where the advance has been made for utilities for which payment of charges is authorized under Section 25.05, payment of such charges shall be limited to the actual utility charges less the amount of the advance.
25.23 Where, because of local law or practice, an employee is responsible for all or a portion of costs for maintenance and/or repairs to privately-leased accommodation where such costs would be the responsibility of the lessor in the employee's headquarters city, the deputy head may authorize reimbursement of such actual and reasonable expenses for fit-up, maintenance and/or repairs, consistent with those which would normally be the responsibility of the Crown in Crown-leased accommodation at the post.
1. It is the responsibility of the employee to ensure that, wherever possible, the leasing agreement provides that the lessor shall be responsible for maintenance and repairs. It is also the responsibility of the employee not to enter into a leasing agreement for accommodation which is significantly below the average fully-serviced rental accommodation normally occupied by a person of similar salary and family configuration in the Ottawa/Gatineau area.
2. It is not the intent of Section 25.23 to provide for the payment of major repairs or maintenance of privately-leased accommodation or to upgrade privately-leased accommodation which does not meet the average comparability policy at the time of initial occupancy. Under normal circumstances, where the anticipated cost of repairs and/or maintenance is expected to exceed $200 for any one service or on any one occasion or $1,000 in any fiscal year, prior approval of the deputy head is required in order to claim reimbursement. In unusual circumstances, where costs for maintenance and/or repairs are expected to be significant, alternatives should be explored such as vacating the accommodation, taking into consideration such factors as the duration of the lease, the anticipated duration of the employee's posting, the availability of alternative suitable rental accommodation, the possible provision of Crown-held accommodation and the costs associated with breaking the lease and moving to alternative accommodation.
3. There may be situations where the appropriate foreign service interdepartmental co-ordinating committee is advised by a Mission that, because of a shortage of accommodation, most available accommodation requires minor fit-up and repairs. The committee may then authorize the Mission to cover the cost of necessary repairs, to a maximum cost equivalent to one month's actual rent for that specific housing unit, but not exceeding the applicable rent ceiling.
Examples of expenses which the Mission can defray are: painting and wall repairs, weatherstripping, window and door repairs, repairing loose floor tiles, changing of locks, minor plumbing and electrical repairs and purchase of window coverings where these are not provided. Expenses that are purely cosmetic (changing wall colours) are not admissible.
4. It should be noted that the Occupancy Agreement for Crown-held accommodation provides that the law of Ontario shall apply to the settlement of any dispute or difference arising under that Agreement.
(a) Where a dispute arises at a post between an employee and a lessor, either during the term of a lease or on termination of a lease, about loss or damages allegedly created or caused by that employee, the deputy head may authorize payment of:
(i) the expenses of securing independent competent assistance, including legal services, provided such expenses do not exceed the difference between the amount claimed by the lessor and the amount of liability recognized by the employee; or
(ii) an amount up to the cost of procuring independent competent assistance, including legal services, towards settlement of that part of the claim which does not involve employee liability.
(b) The senior officer at the post shall submit a report to the deputy head outlining the circumstances of the dispute, the report of an independent appraiser, if applicable, and recommendations for the disposition of the dispute. Payment to the lessor of that part of the claim which, in the opinion of the deputy head, is not properly attributable to abuse or neglect by the employee may be authorized:
(i) where the deputy head is satisfied that the lessor's claims are unreasonable and initiation of legal proceedings against the lessor would prejudice departmental objectives or involve prohibitive costs; or
(ii) where court proceedings have taken place and a judgement has been rendered against the employee.
25.25 When an employee at a post:
(a) leases permanent accommodation on arrival; and/or
(b) disposes of permanent leased accommodation on departure; and/or
(c) is compelled because of operational requirements to change permanent leased accommodation on the instruction of the deputy head or for reasons acceptable to the deputy head which are beyond the employee's control and not normally encountered at the headquarters city,
the deputy head may authorize payment of any or all of the following expenses incurred by the employee in leasing permanent accommodation:
(i) legal fees and registration fees,
(ii) duty stamps,
(iii) inventory charges,
(iv) real estate agent's fees,
(v) compulsory insurance of a kind not normally required as a condition of occupancy in Canada, including insurance for public liability where this is the responsibility of the lessee under local law or practice but would have been the responsibility of the landlord under the law of Ontario,
and, in respect of Section 25.25(c), the actual and reasonable expenses incurred as a result of moving to a new residence and including compensation in accordance with FSD 15.18 and FSD 15.19 for loss or damage to effects while in transit.
1. Employees should be alerted to their personal responsibility to take out appropriate householder's insurance for public liability, for which they would be responsible under the law of Ontario, and for damage/loss of personal and household effects.
2. The employer will grant an employee reasonable time off with pay to effect the relocation, including the overseeing of the packing and unpacking of household effects; reasonable time-off with pay should also be granted to the spouse or common-law partner where the spouse or common-law partner is also an employee; such authority will not be unreasonably withheld.
25.26 The calculation of actual rent or shelter cost for a period of less than one complete calendar month shall be as follows:
Monthly Actual Rent (or Monthly Shelter Cost)
Number of applicable calendar days
Total calendar days in month
25.27 Notwithstanding Section 107 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act, revisions to rent ceilings shall not constitute a change in terms and conditions of employment for employees subject to the Foreign Service Directives.
25.28 This directive shall not apply in situations where an employee purchases accommodation at a post, without the approval of the Treasury Board or the President of the Treasury Board.
Application for Shelter Assistance (EXT-68) (Rev)
Accommodation Statement (EXT-783) (Rev)
Occupancy Agreement (EXT- 1645) (Rev)
Application for Deficiency Adjustment (EXT-328)
Appendix B - Employee shelter cost (dollars per month)
Appendix C - Deficiency adjustments - Crown-held staff accommodation
1. In accordance with FSD 25 - Shelter, the employer undertakes, wherever possible and practicable, to provide each employee at a post with accommodation which is generally comparable to average fully-serviced rental accommodation normally occupied by a person of similar salary and family configuration in the Ottawa/Gatineau area.
2. In administering accommodation, it is recognized that Ottawa/Gatineau housing standards and related living conditions cannot be wholly duplicated anywhere in the world, let alone at all posts and in each staff quarter. Furthermore, there will always be some Crown-held staff quarters at some posts which do not meet the criteria of the policy of average comparability. Where the liveableness of such Crown-held accommodation is significantly reduced, provision exists under FSD 25.10 for a deficiency adjustment. Unless special arrangements are in place with employing departments, where staff accommodation is provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, it is that department which administers accommodation deficiency adjustments.
3. In order to determine a standard for average comparability, the employer is guided by the criteria contained in this appendix. These criteria, together with local conditions and lifestyles, are a benchmark for determining the overall suitability of a given staff quarter. Factors such as size and layout, mechanical systems, recreation space and parking are objective and quantifiable; others are subjective and much less easily measured. Moreover, many of these factors are only of limited importance to the overall liveableness, for example, landscaping and exterior appearance of the building. Good judgement must be exercised in determining whether any deficiency which is considered to exist renders the accommodation below the Ottawa/Gatineau "standard" and, if so, to what extent liveableness is reduced. It is important to note that elements which may be more than fully satisfactory (for example, larger than normal rooms, swimming pool) must be considered as well and will therefore have a bearing on determining the impact of any apparent deficiency.
4. Deficiencies may arise for any number of reasons taking into account both the nature of the accommodation and the personal circumstances of its occupant(s). In some cases, an adjustment for deficiencies in a particular unit could apply to all successive tenants. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the following situations may arise from time to time:
(a) Underhousing: A deficiency adjustment could be considered where an employee is underhoused relative to salary and/or household size. This may occur even where overall living conditions are generally comparable but it may not be practical or economical to provide alternative accommodation.
(b) Lack of routine repair and maintenance: It is Post management's responsibility to ensure that corrective action is carried out quickly and effectively in relation to Crown-held staff quarters; however, a reasonable amount of time must be allowed to effect required repairs or maintenance. A response time of three months is considered comparable to that which an average landlord in Ottawa/Gatineau would provide to rectify deficiencies of a non-emergency nature. Therefore, where a deficiency is not corrected within three months of being reported, an application for deficiency adjustment will be entertained, and, if approved, would be made retroactive to the date the deficiency was reported and would be granted until such time as the deficiency was corrected.
(c) Exceptional repairs where most of the staff quarter remains liveable: For example, an electrical fire may render one room and part of the hallway unusable but there is no compelling reason for the employee and dependants to vacate the staff quarters while repairs are being undertaken.
(d) Local factors: As the post differential allowance (PDA) recognizes undesirable conditions which affect everyone, employees may already be receiving compensation for deficiencies related to environment and local conditions. However, where one or several factors recognized under the PDA result in the condition of one staff quarter being markedly worse than other Crown-held accommodation at the post, an application for a deficiency adjustment may be considered.
5. It should be noted that deficiencies related to furniture and furnishings will not normally be taken into consideration, and that program-related hospitality and accommodation requirements are not factors in comparability with the Ottawa/Gatineau base; neither has been considered in the methodology for the determination of employee shelter costs. Nevertheless, the Occupancy Agreement clearly identifies the responsibility of the employer for the provision, repair and replacement of furniture and furnishings. It is the employee's responsibility to inform Post management of serious omissions and/or deficiencies in the condition of these items. Immediate attention shall be given to those deficiencies which seriously affect the liveability and use of the premises. Where corrective action is not taken within a reasonable period of time, or is unsatisfactory, the employee may file a grievance for consideration under the NJC Redress Procedure.
Criteria of average comparability
6. The following factors are to be considered in assessing overall suitability of Crown-held staff accommodation:
(a) Size and Layout - The number of rooms, including the number of bedrooms should correspond, in general, to the following tables:
Staff Quarter Space Targets/Guidelines
Effective July 9, 2008
The housing guidelines for Crown-held Staff Quarters are based on the Statistics Canada Ottawa/Gatineau regional census data on housing (2006 census). They count the total number of rooms1 and bedrooms2 in the "net living area" of a household. Salary levels are in Canadian dollars and will be amended every five years as new census results are received.
|Number of persons in household|
|Under $39,000||6 (2-3)||6 (2-3)||7 (3-4)||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$40,000-$44,999||6 (2-3)||6 (2-3)||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$45,000-$49,999||6 (2-3)||6 (2-3)||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$50,000-$54,999||6 (2-3)||7 (3-4)||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$55,000-$59,999||6 (2-3)||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$60,000-$64,999||6 (2-3)||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$65,000-$69,999||6 (2-3)||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$70,000-$74,999||6 (2-3)||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$75,000-$79,999||6 (2-3)||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$80,000-$89,999||6 (2-3)||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$90,000-$99,999||6 (2-3)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$100,000-$109,999||6 (2-3)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$110,000-$119,999||6 (2-3)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$120,000-$129,999||6 (2-3)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$130,000-$139,999||6 (2-3)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$140,000-$149,999||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
|$150,000 and more||7 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)||8 (3-4)|
- Refers to the number of rooms in a dwelling - 6, 7 or 8. A room is an enclosed area within a dwelling which is finished and suitable for year-round living. Open plan, partially divided or L-shape rooms that can accommodate more than one function, are to be counted as one room per function (e.g. L-shaped dining-room living-room arrangements are counted as two rooms). Total rooms include kitchen, living room, dining room (3) plus 3, 4 or 5 rooms to serve as bedrooms or other living purposes, such as den, study or family room. Finished rooms on ground floor, in attic or basement may be included.
Not included as rooms are bathrooms, hallways, vestibules and rooms used solely for business (independent employment) purposes.
- Refers to all rooms designed and furnished as bedrooms (2, 3 or 4) and used mainly for sleeping purposes, even though the use may be occasional (i.e. spare bedroom). Where all bedrooms are not required, one could be used as a den, study, family room or guest room.
- The number of bedrooms and total room requirements for purposes of Accommodation Deficiency Adjustments (ADA's) are as outlined above.
- Adequacy of layout does not include consideration of official hospitality which may be conducted in the staff quarters. The overall room arrangement must be compared to the family size, and where a deficiency is noted by the occupant, objective judgement of its impact on liveableness will be made by post management and recorded on the application form.
- Accommodations for positions having representational functions, and supported by hospitality logs, can be approved by Head of Mission, allowing for a suitably sized dining room. Quality of life considerations such as outdoor recreational spaces (i.e., parks for children) will be considered when acquiring staff accommodation and additional bedrooms for larger household sizes.
- Adequacy of size or layout of individual rooms within an accommodation will also be considered. Where such a deficiency is noted, full details, including photographs and/or a sketch if applicable, should be included with the application form.
(b) Mechanical Systems - This heading covers heating, cooling, plumbing, wiring and associated equipment within the dwelling, but does not include the supply of utilities to the property. Heating equipment should be capable of maintaining a temperature of 22°C throughout those portions of the dwelling normally required as habitable space. Cooling equipment should be capable of maintaining temperatures in accordance with the "humidex" criteria in designated zones as specified in the Foreign Affairs's Manual of Materiel Management (MMD 2 - Annex A). Plumbing and wiring equipment and fixtures should provide a degree of convenience, usefulness and safety comparable to that found in Ottawa/Gatineau, taking into consideration local conditions and lifestyles.
(c) Recreation Areas - In the context of housing, recreation areas are of two types: (a) play space for small children which should be in, or close to, the dwelling; and (b) parks, playgrounds, etc., for older children and adults which should be within a reasonable distance. Recreation areas will vary widely according to local conditions and lifestyles with respect to location, form and amenities, but should be free of hazards such as traffic and should have personal security commensurate with the level for the post. The necessity for children's play space in conjunction with a staff quarter is not a continuous requirement but will vary according to family configuration.
(d) Parking - Each staff quarter should have a parking space for one car, to be available as required, on the property or within reasonable walking distance.
(e) Other - This heading includes access, appearance, condition, landscaping, local facilities, noise, pollution, safety, security, traffic, utilities and utilization. The manner in which most of these elements affect accommodation is self-evident, however, the following will clarify application under these Guidelines.
(i) Access - Access refers to walks, drives, gates, corridors, elevators, etc., through which one must pass to reach the accommodation. Passage should be convenient and safe over and through these areas. If there are common areas in a multiple dwelling such as stairs, landings or hallways, they should be well lighted, well maintained and free of refuse or hazards such as material stored in the passage space.
(ii) Appearance - The property associated with the premises, including the building exterior, adjacent land forming part of the property and areas used in common with other residents should be adequately maintained, sanitary and free of litter.
(iii) Condition - Interior of premises should be adequately maintained and in good condition.
(iv) Landscaping - Basic landscaping and grounds improvement relative to the neighbourhood.
(v) Location - Distance of accommodation from office, schools, shopping, recreation and parks: the accommodation should, under normal driving conditions and time of travel, be within one hour commuting time by public transportation or 45 minutes by car from the workplace, and within an eight-kilometre radius of appropriate municipal schools, recreation areas and shopping.
(vi) Noise - The noise level of the immediate neighbourhood should not unduly interfere with normal occupancy of the premises, taking into consideration local conditions and lifestyles. (It should be kept in mind that provision is made in FSD 58 - Post differential allowance at some posts for factors such as noise that affect everyone at the post.)
(vii) Pollution - Air, water and ground pollution in the vicinity of the accommodation should not substantially exceed local average. (It should be kept in mind that provision is made in FSD 58 - Post differential allowance at some posts for factors such as pollution that affect everyone at the post.)
(viii) Safety - Structural integrity of the premises and emergency facilities should be sufficient to protect the tenant from normal physical, environmental or natural hazards, taking into account local residential building ordinances.
(ix) Security - Physical security of the premises: sufficient protection to prevent casual entry by intruders. Where accommodation is provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, additional personal security will be provided in accordance with that department's policy for staff protection at the post.
(x) Traffic - Traffic density on the front, back and side streets to be reasonable for the type and location of the accommodation.
(xi) Utilities - Utilities refers to the availability to the accommodation of electric power, water and sewer services. Since it is not possible to ensure that these services are provided without interruption, posts which encounter long and frequent periods of failure should ensure staff quarters are provided with facilities to carry over during such emergencies.
(xii) Utilization - Use of the associated property to be compatible with residential tenancy, taking into consideration local conditions and lifestyles.
Application for accommodation deficiency adjustment
7. Except where an adjustment has been approved for all successive tenants, Form EXT-328 "Application for Accommodation Deficiency Adjustment" is to be completed for all Crown-held accommodation provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Tradeby all employees who are administered by that department. The employee is responsible for the first step in the process, that is, identification and description of the deficiency as perceived by the occupant. Aspects of the accommodation which are comparable to or better than the average Ottawa/Gatineau accommodation must also be noted.
8. On receipt of a signed application form, the Head of Mission or a delegated committee is to comment on each deficiency identified by the employee and indicate the estimated time and cost where it is possible to correct the deficiency. The Head of Mission or a delegated committee will also make an assessment of the degree of reduced liveableness, taking into consideration the aspects wherein the accommodation is better than comparable to the Ottawa/Gatineau standard. Based on the overall assessment, the Head of Mission will approve or decline the application for a deficiency adjustment.
9. In the event of a dispute, the Post will refer the application to the Foreign Affairs' Committee on Accommodation Deficiencies (COAD). The COAD will review the particulars and convey its decision to the Head of Mission.
10. Where a deficiency adjustment is approved, it will normally be granted in steps of 10%, 20% or 30%, reflecting a low, moderate or high degree of reduced liveableness of the accommodation. In view of the accommodation policy which is based on average accommodation, there will be no adjustments below 10%, notwithstanding that minor deficiencies may exist. In exceptional circumstances, a deficiency adjustment in excess of 30% will be considered by the COAD. This would apply to situations such as:
(a) where suitable alternative permanent accommodation is not available and correction of the deficiencies is outside the control of the employer; or
(b) where the employee is agreeable to remaining in the accommodation, notwithstanding the seriousness of the deficiency, and essential improvements and/or repairs can be made within a reasonable period of time.
11. The Head of Mission or a delegated committee will review the validity of existing deficiency adjustments at the post on April 1st and October 1st of each year, at a minimum, and will make a report of the review to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at these times.