6.1 General

6.1.1 To carry out its responsibilities, the Government of Canada must be able to house employees in all parts of the country. Accommodation is only provided where:

  1. it is necessary for the delivery of government programs to combine an employee's place of work and residence or for the employee to live at the job location; or
  2. no suitable living accommodation is available in the vicinity.

6.1.2 It is the policy of the government that occupants of Government Housing be accorded treatment equivalent to that accorded to persons renting similar accommodation from private or commercial sources. Rents for Government Housing must be fair and equitable and be based on the following principles:

  1. they should not form part of an employee's compensation and should be comparable to those paid for a dwelling of similar size and condition in similar markets;
  2. they should reflect any factors which affect the quiet enjoyment or the privacy of the occupant and thus the value of the accommodation.

Part I

6.2 Base Shelter Value (BSV)

6.2.1 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) shall determine the BSV of self-contained accommodation in relation to:

  1. where a market can be identified locally, dwellings of similar size, type and condition; or
  2. where no viable market exists, dwellings of similar size, type and condition in the nearest location where a viable market exists, with appropriate local adjustments.

6.3 Rent

6.3.1 Housing Norm: When providing government housing, departments shall attempt to allocate appropriate size dwellings on the premise of one bedroom for each household member.

6.3.2 Employee Couples: For purposes of this section, when both members of a couple are federal employees, they shall sign and remit, to the employing department(s), a joint declaration indicating which of the two shall be charged the rent.

6.4 Priorities

6.4.1 Where Government Housing is provided, subject to the criteria in the application section, departments shall maintain a priority list and allocate suitably sized vacant units in accordance with the following descending order of priorities:

  1. employees, residing in pool housing, requesting to be moved to a more suitable unit in the same pool as a result of changing household size, medical or other compelling reasons;
  2. employees moving to the location and having no permanent accommodation at the location;
  3. employees residing outside pool housing at that location but having inadequate accommodation at the location by reason of changing family circumstances, loss of previous accommodation or other reasons based on personal need; and
  4. local residents, housing associations or organizations (these are charged market rents and leased on a month-to-month basis).

6.5 Allocation of Accommodation

6.5.1 Departments have the responsibility of ensuring that the initial assignment of accommodation is appropriate. Employees will be given accommodation options, where practicable, on a first-come, first-served basis. If an employee later requests and is provided with a different unit at the same location, he will be responsible for the resulting removal costs. Should the employer require that the employee move, the employing department shall absorb the relocation costs.

6.6 Shared Self-contained Accommodation

6.6.1 It is not the intent of this provision to permit the employer to force a family to occupy shared, self-contained accommodation.

6.6.2 For purposes of this section, when the Employer requires two or more employees, who would normally live separately to share accommodation, their individual share of the rent charge shall be prorated by the number of occupants (i.e. 2 employees Õ rent share is 50% of total rent for unit; 3 employees Õ rent share is 33.3% of total rent for unit).

6.6.3 Appendix N entitled Occupancy Agreement for Government Housing shall apply equally to the Employer and to each occupant of the shared, self-contained accommodation.

6.6.4 Regulations for sharing should form part of the Generic agreement for employee occupancy of Government-provided accommodation, e.g. attachments to the agreement, in order to clarify responsibilities of individual occupants.

6.7 Rental Charge Adjustments

6.7.1 Departments shall apply a "Loss of Privacy and Quiet Enjoyment" adjustment if warranted. The adjustments for varying types and frequencies of intrusions are outlined in the following table. The maximum adjustment shall not exceed 50% of the rent.

Intrusion Type






Availability to the Public




Public Use of Living Facilities




Offensive Noise




Frequency: The frequency of the occurrence of the intrusion should be judged as follows:

high: on average, more than twice per week

moderate: on average, more than twice per month

low: on average, less than twice per week or month

6.7.2 Employee Without Dependants: Where an employee without dependants is allocated a unit with more than one bedroom, the rent charged shall be 60% of the full rent for that dwelling.

6.7.3 Rent will not be adjusted when an employee with one or more dependants is assigned a unit that is larger than the norm. Similarly an adjustment will not be made when the unit is smaller than the norm.

6.8 Shelter Cost Differential (SCD)

6.8.1 Private Accommodation: A Shelter Cost Differential is payable to employees at certain isolated posts (see Appendix M) to help offset the higher shelter charges experienced there.

6.8.2 The SCD represents the difference between the average rent for a three-bedroom detached bungalow at the isolated post and the national average rent for a similar unit at the 12 locations identified as points of departure (POD) in the definition section of this directive.


Average 3-bedroom market rent at post is $1300/month; National average is: $1000/month;

The SCD: $300/month or $3600 per year.

6.8.3 Government Housing: For employees occupying Government Housing, the SCD is limited to the difference between the current average 3-bedroom rent in Government housing and the national average rent at the PODs.


Average 3-bedroom rent in GH: $1100/month; National average is: $1000/month;

The SCD in Government Housing: $100/month or $1200 per year.

6.8.4 Subject to this section, where both members of a couple are federal government employees, the total amount of SCD payable shall not exceed 100% of the rate for an Employee with Dependants. An employee without dependants shall receive the SCD at 60% of that rate.

6.9 Special Reductions

6.9.1 The rent charges determined in the preceding sections may only be further reduced in the following circumstances.

6.10 Maintenance Problems

6.10.1 All parties will make every effort to correct problems as soon as possible. Where serious maintenance problems affecting the living standards of the accommodation are not corrected within 30 days, the department may suspend all or part of the rent charge until the problems are corrected. Reductions for maintenance problems should only be temporary and should only be made where damage to the accommodation was no fault of the occupant. For example, disruption of normal services, breakdown in sewer and water facilities, leaks, serious health and safety concerns, etc.

6.11 Occupancy Incentive

6.11.1 When a Government housing unit has been identified as surplus, the department may reduce the rent by up to 25 per cent to encourage the employee to occupy it. The department shall consult with other departments in the same community to discuss the application of the incentive and ensure equitable treatment among all employees.

6.11.2 The occupancy incentive shall be temporary in nature and shall be reviewed annually. Furthermore, those units where the occupancy incentive has been applied shall be reviewed by departments for disposal.

6.12 Rental Charges Ceiling

6.12.1 Where the rent charge exceeds 25% of household income, the employee may apply to the department to have the rate reduced to this value. This application must be made within 20 working days of receipt of notification of rental charges and must provide the necessary details to substantiate the household income. Such request shall not be unreasonably denied.

6.12.2 This provision applies only in locations where no public housing (sometimes referred to as low rental housing) is immediately available and shall only apply to the final rate, i.e., after all adjustments have been applied.

6.12.3 The actual household income data on the date of application shall be used and retroactive salary increases thereafter shall be ignored, until the next annual rent review.

6.13 Furnishings

6.13.1 Self-contained living accommodation is provided with furniture where it is cost-beneficial to the federal government. This should take into account the cost of moving an employee's furniture in and out of the location as compared to the cost of providing and maintaining the furniture at the posted location and paying the cost of storing the employee's furniture and effects. No additional charge will be imposed for furnished living accommodation.

6.13.2 Shared accommodation shall be furnished. PWGSC shall provide furniture at pool housing locations when the above criteria are satisfied.

6.14 Residential Standards

6.14.1 Suitable living accommodation is defined by the National Building Code of Canada (NBC).

6.14.2 Where feasible, departments shall upgrade those existing government housing units which do not conform with the residential standards.

Part II

6.15 Annual Review

6.15.1 Rental charges for Government housing shall be reviewed and adjusted annually. The normal date for implementation of revised charges will be August 1 of each year.

6.15.2 Occupants shall be given three months notice of any change in rent as the result of the annual review and such changes shall not be applied retroactively. To meet the August 1 implementation date, occupants must be advised in writing no later than April 30th.

6.15.3 Occupants shall be given a three-month notice of any increase caused for reasons other than the annual review, and such changes shall not be applied retroactively. Decreases in charges for these reasons will be effective the day the occupant is so advised. All overpayments by the occupants will be adjusted retroactively to the date of error/change.

6.16 Residential Parking

6.16.1 Where covered residential parking (garage or carport) forms part of a single-family dwelling (detached, semi-detached or row house) and is located on the property, the charge for this facility will be included in the base shelter value. Where parking is provided separately (i.e. off the property) or is for occupants of apartments or room/dormitory units, a separate charge will be imposed, determined by CMHC appraisal, based on charges for similar facilities on the applicable market (local, nearest appropriate location or major source of supply as per section 6.2)

6.17 Fuel and Utility Charges

6.17.1 To the extent practicable, government-owned living accommodation shall be individually metered for utilities (heat, light and water) with the occupant paying consumption charges directly to the supplier. Room/dormitory accommodation shelter charges include utilities and no separate metering is involved. Often it is not feasible to individually meter government-owned self-contained living accommodation because of high installation costs or because the Government of Canada is the supplier.

6.17.2 In such cases the occupant will be charged for utilities on the basis of living space at $0.96832 per 100m2 multiplied by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) (1991 = 100) for utilities as established by Statistics Canada for January of each year.

6.17.3 Where all utilities are not provided, the charge to the occupant shall be a percentage of the amount calculated as follows:

  1. 50 per cent for fuel,
  2. 40 per cent for electricity, and
  3. 10 per cent for water.

6.17.4 Based on the January 1991 CPI for utilities of 124.7, the following are typical charges:

  1. $0.96832 x 124.7 = $120.75/mo/100 square metres/65 square metres
  2. 0.65 x $120.75 = $78.49

6.17.5 Where government-owned living accommodation is located at an isolated post, the department will pay to the supplier the actual costs incurred for utilities and charge the occupant the formula rate indicated above.

6.17.6 This practice will continue until the units have been adequately retrofitted or until an appropriate fuel and utilities allowance has been developed. Nevertheless, the occupant is responsible for ensuring that consumption is kept to a minimum consistent with environmental conditions and normal comfort levels.

6.18 Occupancy Agreement

6.18.1 No formal landlord-tenant relationship exists between the Government and employee-occupants of government-provided accommodation. However, departments should sign occupancy agreements so that mutual responsibilities are clearly understood. Appendix N provides a sample generic occupancy agreement and related terms and conditions. Departments are encouraged to utilize this document to ensure the uniform treatment of occupants. Additional clauses may be appended to these terms and conditions to reflect peculiar local requirements.