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 are considered not suitable in accordance with paragraph 6 of this Appendix. Where the liveableness of such Crown-held accommodation is significantly reduced, provision exists under section 25.15 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 mission 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 mission 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.
6. The following factors are to be considered in assessing overall suitability of Crown-held staff accommodation and Accommodation deficiencies.
(a) Size and Layout - The number of rooms, including the number of bedrooms should correspond, in general, to Appendix C.
(i) 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 mission management and recorded on the application form.
(ii) 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.
(iii) 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.
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 Trade by 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 mission will refer the application to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade 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.