The Canadian Forces Housing Agency's 2014-2015 Annual Report

The Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) in Action

Table of Contents

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A Message from the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment)

After a full year in my role as the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment), I have a great appreciation for the important role CFHA plays in providing housing to thousands of Canadian Armed Forces families.

CFHA’s ultimate objective is tightly linked to the mission success of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. CFHA’s service to military members is not only about housing, it’s also about contributing to a better quality of life for the men and women who serve and protect our country. In support of the military mission and departmental programs, CFHA also provides Infrastructure and Environment with functional leadership and services, enabling effective, efficient and sustainable management of the department’s housing infrastructure. This ensures the Department responds positively to government-wide initiatives.

Infrastructure and Environment is undergoing a major transformation; one that will see the centralization of the department’s real property portfolio, the delivery of top-quality services that support Canada’s Armed Forces and the promotion of environmental sustainability. Transformation is critical to achieving efficiencies and positioning us to effectively deliver, manage and sustain real property that is continually responsive to evolving Defence needs. Service transformation is a big part of this change, as it will enable us to provide higher quality services that are tailored to our client’s needs. In November 2014, I announced the creation of a Transformation Office to help me develop a plan to manage our change. At the same time, the government announced additional infrastructure funding for the department, of which $102.75 million was allocated to CFHA to fund improvements to military housing between 2015 and 2017. CFHA embraced this opportunity without flinching, and they delivered. I am confident that CFHA will continue to perform highly as the Federal Infrastructure Investments Program continues to unfold, and I count on CFHA for its continued efforts as we move the transformation process forward.

This has been another exemplary year of business delivery for CFHA. I would like to congratulate everyone at CFHA for achieving the Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard Silver Level certification from Excellence Canada. The Agency’s improvement to practices and processes, as validated by Excellence Canada, highlights CFHA’s commitment to a healthy and productive workplace. They have taken several steps to promote health and well-being to CFHA employees. These actions are well aligned with the federal government and National Defence priority of addressing mental health issues within the Defence Team context. As highlighted in this report, the Public Service Employee Survey results confirm that CFHA employees are satisfied with how management is demonstrating leadership and implementing HR strategy. CFHA is an excellent role model for all of us at Defence.

I am very proud of CFHA’s accomplishments and am grateful for the close collaboration and support the Agency provides to all its partners in the delivery of residential housing services. I commend Dominique, Chief Executive Officer of CFHA, and her team for always looking for opportunities to improve and for leading by example within the Infrastructure and Environment team. Thank you to everyone at CFHA, and keep up the great work.

Jaime W. Pitfield
Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment)


The Year in Review from CFHA’s Chief Executive Officer

As the Chief Executive Officer for CFHA, I am delighted to report on the significant milestones the Agency achieved in fiscal year 2014-2015, all aimed at delivering the best possible housing services to military members and their families.

This year, Excellence Canada identified that CFHA’s particular strengths are governance and leadership, as well as strategic planning. I think that our achievement in spending 98 percent of our budget in 2014-2015, and over the past three years, is due to these factors. We continue to accomplish this from year to year in spite of the uncertainty of long term funding allocations. Our strong planning practices allow us to improve processes and practices while leveraging areas of success.

Since 2005, CFHA has been in continuous pursuit of excellence as part of Excellence Canada’s Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard. I am very pleased to report that in fiscal year 2014-2015, the Agency has obtained its Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard Silver Level certification. Over the years, tremendous work and effort have been invested in embedding a rigorous program of process improvement and the results have been very rewarding.

I can hardly express the pride I feel towards the culture of excellence that is unfolding within our organization. This would not be possible if our team didn’t possess the willingness and ability to embrace our goal of continuous improvement. In the past years, CFHA employees have developed the flexibility and resilience to deal with changes, challenges and uncertainties. In fact, we are constantly challenging ourselves in a healthy manner to make our organization better. Even when there are obstacles and challenges that may seem impossible to overcome, the motivation to achieve excellence takes over the urge to avoid the discomfort. We all work together with that desire to provide the best customer service successfully and move forward toward continuously improving our business.

Customer service is a CFHA priority. To assess levels of customer satisfaction of our occupants and to set priorities for improvement, an occupant survey was conducted in the last fiscal year. While the survey findings reveal that CFHA has done a good job of maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction, it identifies key areas where dedicated efforts must be made to truly meet military members’ expectations. To this end, we developed and are implementing an action plan in response to the feedback we received which identifies specific actions where occupants will see improvement over the next two years.

Also, CFHA’s results of the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey, which were communicated in March 2015, compared favourably to the overall public service results, as well as with many departments and agencies. I am pleased that the results showed improvements in the areas we had earmarked in our action plan, which was implemented in response to the 2011 survey. Following best practices, our management team is already implementing an action plan to address areas that require further improvement according to the 2014 results.

Our Agency continues to maintain good working relationships with our stakeholders and to engage frequently with its partners that provide support and services. This includes organizations like the Office of the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman which rallies for military members and helps inform us on what we can do to improve the quality of life of our occupants.

Finally, I am proud to be part of the Agency’s continuous improvement with such a great team. Thanks to them, I welcome the challenges that the future holds for CFHA and see them as wonderful opportunities to continue to surpass ourselves.

Dominique Francoeur
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Forces Housing Agency


Profile

CFHA is the managing authority for the Department of National Defence residential housing portfolio. As a result, CFHA makes a significant contribution to the quality of life of Canadian Armed Forces members and their families. Specifically, the Agency is responsible for the allocation and maintenance of Crown-owned housing units in Canada, as well as the provision of customer services to all their occupants. In conjunction with the base and wing commanders, the Agency is also responsible for the long term strategic planning and development of the portfolio to meet the evolving needs of Canadian Armed Forces members and their families.

  • More than 12,000 Crown-owned and leased housing units. Represents about 40% of all the Department’s buildings
  • 31 locations in Canada, under a regional reporting structure
  • Approximately 280 permanent employees spread out amongst Head Office, Housing Services Centres and satellite sites
  • Defence housing serves approximately 15-20% of the Canadian Armed Forces

Organizational Structure

The following groups report to the Chief Executive Officer:

  • Executive Services
  • Housing Operations
  • Finance, Planning and Resource Management
  • Infrastructure and Technical Services
  • Corporate Services

Our Mandate

To manage Crown-controlled residential accommodation for the Department of National Defence, to ensure assets are maintained to a suitable standard and to develop and implement plans to meet the future residential needs of members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Our Mission

CFHA manages assets and provides accommodation services in support of the Canadian Armed Forces requirements and Canadian Armed Forces members’ needs.

Our Vision

CFHA excels in providing the Canadian Armed Forces with a portfolio of wide-ranging innovative accommodation solutions.

Our Values

Customer-Centred

CFHA recognizes that every employee is responsible for customer service. This means anticipating and understanding customer needs; and delivering dependable, courteous and responsive customer services to address those needs.

Commitment

CFHA is committed to creating a culture where employee involvement and engagement are valued, discussed, shared and lived. All employees seek and accept responsibility and strive for the achievement of our vision of excellence as a reliable provider of housing services.

Teamwork

CFHA supports teamwork with a commitment to information sharing in a collaborative environment; and communicating knowledge and experience. Agency employees are encouraged to work together to create optimal results. Management encourages effort while recognizing and celebrating success.

Respect

CFHA is committed to demonstrating fairness and accountability in every action. We treat all others with care, honesty, fairness and importance. We provide exemplary management and stewardship of Agency assets.

Our Strategic Objectives

  • To provide excellent services to our customers and clients
  • To be the agent of excellence in the provision of residential housing for the Canadian Armed Forces
  • To foster a vibrant, competent workforce in a healthy workplace
  • To excel in our sound management practices and stewardship of resources

Department of National Defence Housing Locations in Canada

Regional Reporting Structure, Location and Number of Units

Pacific and Western
  • Cold Lake - 854 
  • Comox - 236
  • Edmonton - 504
    • Iqaluit - 5
    • Yellowknife - 113
  • Esquimalt - 702
    • Masset - 6
    • Matsqui - 9
  • Moose Jaw - 160
    • Dundurn - 28
  • Shilo - 595
  • Suffield - 175
  • Vancouver - 109
  • Wainwright - 186
  • Winnipeg - 557
Central
  • Borden - 677
  • Kingston - 497
    • Ottawa - 146
  • North Bay - 182
  • Petawawa - 1622
  • Trenton - 539

Quebec and Eastern

  • Bagotville - 321
  • Gagetown - 1460
  • Goose Bay - 415
    • Gander - 70
    • Corner Brook - 2
  • Greenwood - 579
  • Halifax - 481
  • Moncton - 70
  • Montréal - 190
  • Valcartier - 819 

Excellence in Action

Highlights

  • CFHA achieved Excellence Canada’s Silver Level certification for the Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard for Canada.
  • The Agency received a Canada Award for Excellence, whose patron is the Governor General of Canada.

Inspired by an Excellence Canada model designed to help organizations continually improve overall performance through innovation, customer focus and organizational health, CFHA has been on an excellence journey since 2005. The progressive implementation of the Excellence, Innovation & Wellness Standard for Canada helps CFHA to connect and align various frameworks and improvement initiatives under a single umbrella, thus building a culture of excellence that will sustain the Agency over the long term and enable CFHA to be responsive to evolving departmental requirements and provide better service and housing solutions for military families.

Receiving recognition from Excellence Canada, in the form of Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard Silver Level certification, in 2014, was a significant milestone for CFHA. Excellence Canada adjudicators reviewed the submission and a team of professional auditors conducted a site visit involving four focus groups drawn from CFHA employees of various levels from across the country. The auditors prepared a report highlighting CFHA’s current strengths and identifying the improvements required for the next level of certification. CFHA also received a Canada Award for Excellence, whose patron is the Governor General of Canada.

Not satisfied with simply maintaining the quality of service that helped it earn the above recognition; CFHA is working hard to build on its previous accomplishments to achieve even higher levels of excellence.

Excellence Canada’s Excellence, Innovation and Wellness model is founded on six drivers of excellence:

  • Leadership and Governance
  • Strategy and Planning
  • Customer Experience
  • People Engagement
  • Process and Project Management
  • Partners and Suppliers

Our Excellence Journey

  • Began in 2005 with the implementation of a quality model
  • Adopted a complimentary model in 2007 to strengthen our focus on building a healthy workplace
  • Maintained forward-moving momentum and achieved Level Two certification in Quality and Healthy Workplace
  • Transitioned to the new Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard for Canada in 2012
  • Achieved Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Silver Level certification & received Canada Award for Excellence in 2014

This report highlights how CFHA stayed on course, overcame challenges and embraced opportunities to improve the Department’s housing portfolio, while ensuring members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families were provided with excellent customer service and housing options to meet their needs.

Leadership in Action

Highlights

  • The Process Review Board reviewed 21 processes to ensure they fit the Agency’s long-term plan.
  • Valuable information is obtained from the implementation of5 multifunctional reviews.
  • To enhance internal communications, CFHA developed employee profiles, increased the use of blogs by senior management to focus on current issues and introduced video blogs.

A pillar of the excellence model is an organization’s ability to demonstrate leadership. CFHA’s leadership team has instilled a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging engagement, consultation, collaboration, and supporting innovation. CFHA has enjoyed several successful initiatives over the past year.

Demonstrating Good Governance

Aligned with CFHA’s roadmap to excellence is a range of tools to promote continuous improvement. The Agency enhanced its governance structure to provide oversight and improve program delivery and project monitoring. One example is the Process Review Board, which was established in fiscal year 2010–2011 and has multifunctional, as well as divisional representatives. The Board further improved the consistency and quality of products and services tailored to meet clients’ needs.

The board first came into full effect last year, handling 21 processes. It examines reviewed processes to ensure they fit into the Agency’s long-term plan and adjusts existing processes as required to match the big picture. Employees view the board as a way of connecting information to identify ideas, evaluate a process’ effectiveness and make further improvements.

Another example of good governance is CFHA’s process for allocating housing units to military members. To improve methodology and systems, CFHA conducted a top-down/bottom-up review of all systems and applications used to allocate units to military families. All steps were carefully studied: (1) initial contact with customers completing their applications; (2) reviewing and evaluating applications for completeness, accuracy and eligibility; (3) applying and managing waiting lists properly; (4) selecting unit size and processing offers.

These reviews created an open dialogue across the country, which helped identify the need for consistent implementation and for greater reliance on improved automated systems. Recognizing this need, the leadership team took decisions to help employees develop tools. Multifunctional reviews are some of the leadership governance and oversight tools put in place to monitor the Agency’s work. The reviews are risk-based and have a five-year cycle. They result in reports to management, which, in turn, trigger plans describing actions needed to address discrepancies identified during the review.

A multidisciplinary team conducts the reviews. In fiscal year 2014–2015, CFHA conducted reviews at Housing Services Centres Borden, Edmonton, Moose Jaw, and Gander, as well as the Housing Operations division at Head Office. The reviews are expected to yield continued business improvements; better information sharing; greater understanding and consistency of corporate management practices and controls; and, timely assessment and implementation of preventive or remedial actions in areas showing control deficiencies or failures.

Communicating with Key Audiences

With two thirds of CFHA employees spread across the country in 31 locations, and limited opportunities for travel, internal communications are a significant challenge. Many initiatives are in place to keep occupants, wing and base leadership and employees as well informed as possible. Over the past year, much time and effort has gone into improving internal communications, particularly via the intranet, to streamline information and build stronger links among people at CFHA. Development of employee profiles, increased use of CFHA issues blogs by senior management and video blogs have been well received by employees. These initiatives have enabled staff in the regions to participate more by using the blog comment box, an easy way to exchange ideas and lessons learned, and to recognize each other’s work.

Planning in Action

Highlights

  • CFHA’s senior management makes use of a multi-activity tracker to monitor the performance of various initiatives.
  • The agency received $102.75 million in additional funding from the Federal Infrastructure Investments Program that will be used to build, recapitalize, and improve housing at 10 sites between 2015 and 2017

CFHA, which was recognized by Excellence Canada for its strong planning practices, has, over the past year, taken every opportunity to adjust its processes and practices in order to leverage areas of success. The following are a few examples of how we have achieved successful outcomes through our planning processes.

Integrated Planning

Through our annual business planning process, we adhere to the Department’s and the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment)’s strategic planning objectives. Our Strategic Plan objectives, one of which is ensuring proper stewardship, provide a framework for the Agency’s projects and key performance indicators to fulfill our mandate.

Annual priorities and commitments are established in the Business Plan which links together key components of the Agency’s many areas of accountability. An example of this is CFHA’s Real Property Functional Planning Guidance, which provides those delivering the real property program with the information, direction and guidance they need to do their work in accordance with portfolio and asset management priorities. Similarly, CFHA’s human resource information management/information technology and procurement planning enabled the Agency to carry out operations and to make necessary adjustments to various initiatives so that they would remain on target.

This integrated planning approach was a key factor in CFHA’s receiving a Canada Award for Excellence in 2014.

Planning Well to Spend Well

CFHA has a proven track record in managing its finances efficiently. Spending 98 percent of its budget in 2014–2015, and over the past three years, is the result of robust investment and financial planning processes and a solid team effort from each and every Agency employee to deliver on the plans. Housing Services Centres and Head Office work closely together throughout the year, first of all identifying financial and business requirements as part of the Business Plan process and then establishing program and project requirements through the Program Review Board. Continuous dialogue between the Housing Services Centres and Head Office about the progress of projects, ongoing monitoring of financial results and appropriate reactions to ongoing changes are the primary reasons for this excellent performance. 

Fiscal Year 2014-2015
  Planned Actuals % Spent
Vote 1 $90,508,227 $90,433,251 99.9%
Vote 5 $43,000,000 $42,097,827 97.9%
Total $133,508,227 $132,531,078 99.3%

Monitoring Progress

To monitor the progress of the Agency’s high-priority initiatives, CFHA senior management has been using a performance monitoring tool, the Multi-Activity Tracker, since 2014. These initiatives include:

  • Business planning initiatives
  • Process improvement initiatives
  • Agency improvement activities
  • Multifunctional reviews

The initiatives are projects with distinct deliverables (milestones). The tool tracks and highlights their progress based on milestone due dates and other user input. The results are summarized to provide management with a quick overview based on Agency priorities, personnel workload and budget/resource allocation. The CFHA Management Committee reviews the tracker on a weekly basis.

The tracker ensures that oversight and follow-through on the Agency’s priority initiatives. It manages information about various initiatives simultaneously and allows management to keep initiatives visible and adjust plans. It also allows senior management to better manage personnel workload, priorities and interdependencies that influence the progress of initiatives.

Interdependent Planning

Each division formulates its own plans to meet the objectives the Agency sets. These plans can be used to look ahead and to identify interdependencies so that informed decisions can be made and housing program outcomes optimized.

A good example of this interdependent planning was when the Government of Canada announced additional funding for the Federal Infrastructure Investments Program, with the Department identifying ten housing sites that would benefit from these investments.

Strong program planning practices allow CFHA to move quickly and to be ready at all times to improve housing conditions and implement projects on short notice. Using our existing physical development and investment plans and relying on targeted human resources and procurement strategies, CFHA was able to quickly revise its plans and develop a robust and realistic investment program to deliver the Federal Infrastructure Investments Program within the Government of Canada’s established program.

As a result, work plans for each housing site began in January 2015 with implementation to start on April 1, 2015. These plans include betterment, recapitalization for whole house renovations, new construction and replacement construction.

Planning Based on Lessons Learned

On November 24, 2014, the Prime Minister announced an additional $5.8 billion in infrastructure spending over the next three years to be distributed across several federal departments. Further to this announcement, the Minister of National Defence specified that the Department would be receiving an allocation of $452 million from this additional funding over the next two years, with $102.75 million being allocated to CFHA as capital investment funding for the housing portfolio at ten of our sites.

In three months, CFHA developed a program to build, recapitalize, and improve housing at the ten sites between 2015 and 2017. Working closely with Defence Construction Canada in the planning phase at the national level saved time by directing the procurement strategy for the Housing Services Centres. The resulting program was then sent to the regions and subsequently to the Housing Services Centres who then partnered with local Defence Construction Canada for delivery.

CFHA developed an ambitious capital investment plan by leveraging past successful construction projects (conventional or modular construction) and successful recapitalization designs. Properly scoped betterment initiatives were also used. This allowed CFHA to increase the scope of previous years’ smaller projects in line with the Federal Infrastructure Investments Program provisions.

When planning new construction in Bagotville and Comox as part of the Federal Infrastructure Investments Program, CFHA drew on the lessons learned from our Modular Construction Pilot Program. Planning this way avoided the need to redefine new project requirements, while existing specifications were used to save time and money.

Programs & Delivery in Action

Highlights

  • More than $100 million was injected into the housing program:
    • $42.5 million was invested in housing unit improvements
    • $67 million was spent on repairs, maintenance and site operations
  • 45 units were built and 283 demolished
  • 84% of units ranked as average or above for their overall condition.

CFHA is working to improve the condition of its portfolio, to become the Agent of Excellence in the provision of innovative and sustainable homes for military members and their families. The Agency is committed to balancing existing and future needs while taking local realities into account. Activities include ongoing repairs and maintenance, annual inspections, renovations, new home construction and disposals, to ensure the Department has safe and appropriate housing for families.

Improving the Portfolio

With revenues of $98 million in fiscal year 2014–2015 and capital funding from the Department, CFHA was able to inject more than $100 million to improve its 12,300 units in 31 locations. Improvements are made to areas such as life cycle, maintenance, repairs, recapitalization, and housing operations.

The Agency invested $16.9 million in the recapitalization program and renovated 120 unit interiors across the country. In addition, $25.2 million was invested in unit improvements, such as renovating kitchens and bathrooms, changing layouts, and replacing plumbing, electrical and heating systems. An additional $67 million was spent on repairs, maintenance and operations, including a combination of planned life cycle maintenance, (e.g., window and roof replacements) and responsive emergency repairs, to ensure houses remain functional and meet health and safety requirements. Such investments have a positive impact on quality of life, as well as prolong the useful life cycle of our assets.

The construction of three units in Esquimalt, four in Halifax and 38 in Petawawa were due to high demand for military housing in recent years at some locations and to meet the changing needs of military members and their families, as well as in response to new capability at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.

CFHA is constantly monitoring the Department’s residential housing portfolio to identify and reduce excess or surplus units so as to focus investments in locations where housing requirements are greater. Portfolio rationalization is planned and implemented in response to many variables, including perceived demand, local real estate markets and economic conditions, as well as strategic reductions directed by the Department.

This year, 103 units were demolished at five housing locations, including 92 at in Goose Bay to reduce its surplus and consolidate the residential housing site footprint. The other 11 demolitions took place in Petawawa, North Bay, Greenwood and Esquimalt, and were the result of a fire, or the units having exceeded their useful life and a replacement project. Another 180 units were disposed of in Moncton and Vancouver through routine or strategic disposals to meet departmental objectives.

Assessing the Condition of Units

Each year, CFHA conducts a condition assessment to provide a clear and objective evaluation of the housing portfolio condition so the right work can be done at the right place and at the right time. The portfolio condition continues to improve. For the third year in a row, the average national condition assessment rating increased, with 84 percent of units being ranked average or above. Also, the number of units listed as "new or like new" has steadily increased since 2011, with 120 units being added to the category since last year. As for units "below average," their number has decreased nationally by two percent, continuing a downward trend that began in 2009.

These improvements are attributable to the implementation of life cycle replacement, recapitalization, new construction and disposal projects, as well as a focus, in recent years, on data integrity.

Supporting Service Delivery

CFHA has employees spread across Canada, who require consistent, effective and efficient tools and enablers. This past year CFHA reached an important technological milestone with the launch of a major upgrade to HAMIS. Moreover, work is well under way to meet other objectives that will result in a more user-friendly and well aligned system that will facilitate further innovation and contribute to business process efficiencies.

Where the Money Goes

Direct Costs (82%)
Capital and Betterment New construction and recapitalization, or work completed to improve an asset 31.8%
Life cycle and Maintenance Planned activities with the purpose of maintaining the useful life of the asset or its components (e.g. roof replacement, siding replacement, furnace replacement) 24.2%
Repairs Activities with the intent of addressing breakages of the asset, response to failures, or unforeseen events (e.g. concrete repairs, electrical repairs, plumbing repairs, heating, ventilation and air conditioning repairs) 15.2%
Housing Operations Activities directly attributable to regular/periodic upkeep of the housing units (e.g. snow removal, grass cutting, and general maintenance between occupancy) and management of vacant units

10.8%

 

Indirect Costs (18%)
Operational Salaries Salaries for Housing Services Centre personnel 8.1%
Corporate Salaries Salaries for Head Office personnel 5.5%
Corporate Overhead Lease and utilities, supplies, training, professional services, travel for Head Office employees, market studies, and strategic site plans 3.4%
Housing Services Centre Overhead Recurring activities required in running site offices (e.g. office lease and utilities, supplies, training, and travel for Housing Services Centre employees)

1.0%

People in Action

Highlights

  • According to the Public Service Employee Survey, 81% of CFHA employees feel there is support for work-life balance.
  • An organizational excellence committee was formed to provide advice on concrete actions that will lead to continuous improvement.
  • Employees are given a voice to share their satisfaction with the workplace and identify areas that need improvement.

CFHA gives prominence to its four core values (customer-centred, commitment, teamwork and respect) in all its processes, and they are guiding principles when it comes to decisions about its people. These values help the Agency meet its commitment of demonstrating fairness and accountability in every action it takes while instilling an organizational culture where every employee feels valued, trusted and supported.

CFHA is also committed to fostering the best work environment possible for all its employees and understands that this can only be achieved through a culture that accepts the need for continuous improvement. CFHA aims for employees to be well-equipped and supported so that each person can contribute value and embrace a physically and psychologically healthy and safe workplace. CFHA strives to provide a workplace that includes an awareness of and responsiveness to mental health issues in the workplace, an area identified of national concern.

Favouring a Healthy Workplace

Last year, CFHA’s leadership pursued its commitment of promoting individual and organizational wellness across the Agency and the efforts are paying off. Results of the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey were significantly better than those of the previous surveys, providing a springboard for future improvement activities. As many as 81 percent of CFHA’s survey respondents felt there was support for work-life balance, compared with 72 percent at National Defence and 71 percent in the public service. At the same time, 72 percent of employees said that they have access to senior management, compared with 58 percent at National Defence and in the public service.

Several employee focus groups, led by an Excellence Canada external audit team as part of the Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard Silver Level certification process, provided the Agency with additional employee feedback. This information has helped inform and shape management’s leadership of our employees. Excellence Canada’s final report includes feedback from voluntary participants among staff from the Housing Services Centres and Head Office.

The universally positive feedback about the culture at CFHA included such comments as: great place to work; dedicated; supportive, passionate, friendly, a joy to come to work; customer-centric; we tackle issues together; engaged; collaboration; approachable; positive, like a family, welcoming.

When asked what they would never want to change, participants said: the people; putting the customer first; the way we all chip in and support one another; flexible work arrangements; team environment; we are a small Agency, we can see where we make an impact; continuous process improvement; innovation; leadership encouragement and support; being a role model; open communication.

The best practices noted by Excellence Canada included the customer service focus, the Annual Report, the Communication Strategy, the multifunctional reviews, the Process Review Board and the Multi-Activity Tracker.

Engaging Employees

The excellence model provides a detailed roadmap to CFHA that is progressively and successfully guiding the Agency’s progress toward organizational excellence. When working on key initiatives that help deliver our mandate, we make sure to include views and engage employees from the functional, regional, divisional, operational and strategic perspectives, as well as from employees at both the front-line site offices and Head Office in Ottawa. An organizational excellence committee was formed and reflects this inclusive and pan-Agency approach. The committee plays a leadership role in promoting excellence and providing advice on concrete actions that will lead to continuous improvement and improved overall organizational performance. All committee members are empowered to contribute to a culture of excellence, innovation and wellness. For example, the committee, and additional volunteer employees and union representatives contributed to the formulation and prioritization of CFHA’s Public Service Employee Survey action plan initiatives in fiscal year 2014-2015.

Giving a Voice to Employees

Core to CFHA’s philosophy of caring for its workforce is having a workplace where employees can thrive and contribute to the Agency’s success in a meaningful way. For example, we established a process improvement approach that ensures that everyone affected by a process is involved in its review. Also, employees are encouraged to join various working groups. These initiatives demonstrate that front line employees are valued as subject matter experts, and their participation is essential to making key business processes more efficient.

Each Housing Services Centre and Head Office division goes through a multifunctional review every five years. During the review, employees are interviewed to assess the satisfaction with their workplace and identify areas that need improvement. Such interviews give a voice to employees which lets them know that they are valued and that their opinions are heard, in-turn engaging and empowering them to make their work environment the best that it can be.

Multifunctional review reports are sent to the management team and action plans outline steps to address discrepancies identified during the review.

Customer Service in Action

Highlights

  • CFHA gets an insight into the experiences and challenges of military members and their families currently living in Department-managed Crown housing with a survey evaluating occupants’ satisfaction.
  • 2/3 of CFHA employees have completed customer service training.A customer service representative is now working in Yellowknife with support from CFHA in Edmonton.

Mindful of our core values, our excellence program and the importance of providing quality service in day-to-day dealings with internal and external customers and clients, we are committed to a customer-centred approach based on respect and courtesy to others at all times. We use a variety of techniques to gain a better understanding of customers’ needs.

Engaging Customers

Postings can be stressful and CFHA strives to make family relocations as smooth as possible with standardized national processes. While this is challenging, given that wings and bases are not all the same in size and structure, CFHA streamlines its front-line processes to ensure customers are receiving the same great service. To understand the experiences and challenges of occupants and to mould and improve our overall services, we conducted an occupant satisfaction survey in February 2014.

The survey focused on military housing, CFHA services, CFHA communications, and quality of life. Occupants remain largely satisfied with current housing as well as with CFHA services. Satisfaction with CFHA services is driven by multiple, interrelated factors, including: satisfaction with homes; the outcomes of repairs and renovations; and feeling well-informed by CFHA about housing-related issues.

To uphold CFHA’s commitment to continuous improvement, an action plan targeting areas identified for improvement was developed and is currently being fully implemented.

CFHA has also taken steps to make improving customer service part of its core business. Our program and project planning includes a customer impact assessment to ensure that customers’ needs are taken into account during recapitalization. Customer service training is mandatory for all permanent employees. To date, over two thirds of employees have completed the training, which provides them with an opportunity to enrich their knowledge and exposes them to skills and approaches that will make them better service providers. Moving forward, a customer service strategy is being developed to bring all of the key components together to track customers’ satisfaction from their first contact with CFHA to the end of their stay.

The survey identified a need to improve communications with occupants. As a result, all Housing Services Centres can now use a database to email occupants directly, while standard newsletter templates have been developed so that service centres can provide their occupants with twice-yearly local updates.

Serving Military Families in Remote Locations

Military members posted to remote locations such as Iqaluit, Masset and Yellowknife can count on CFHA to help them find suitable housing. Although CFHA does not have a service centre in Masset, for example, Housing Services Centre Esquimalt and Head Office employees work hard to secure housing for military members posted there. CFHA Head Office will consult with the Housing Services Centre Esquimalt and publish an Expression of Interest to attract local private landlords who wish to lease to CFHA. The houses are selected based on a number of factors such as condition, cost and size. Meanwhile, a close relationship ensues between all parties to ensure that all maintenance issues are addressed in a timely fashion.

Housing Services Centre Edmonton, with the assistance of a part-time housing clerk located in Yellowknife, has historically provided service to military members looking for Crown housing in Yellowknife and Iqaluit. In the coming years, the increased number of military members being posted to Yellowknife will likely result in a higher demand for units. The prospect of an increased demand for service led to CFHA’s decision to recruit a full-time customer service representative working out of Yellowknife with support from Housing Services Centre Edmonton. This will ensure that military members posted in the north get the best service possible to alleviate the stress that uprooting their families can cause.

"Through my own life experience, I have gained vast empathy and respect for what military families experience when they are posted. One of the challenges for many of them is finding suitable, affordable housing at their new location especially when the family household income can be lessened when the military member’s spouse has to leave her or his employment. It is my honour to provide each military member and their family with the best customer service possible that they deserve." – Evelyn Keeping, Customer Service Representative – Housing Services Centre Yellowknife

“I want to bring to your attention the level and quality of maintenance of housing at Saint-Hubert. We have rarely seen a base so well-maintained with nice mature trees, and CFHA employees are kind and benevolent. Childrens’ infrastructure is renewed, safe and convenient. It feels good to see employees really dedicated to the well-being of citizens on the base. I think it’s important to mention great actions.” – Alexandra Lemaire, Occupant – Housing Services Centre Montreal

"Housing Services Centre Moose Jaw staff toured units with Major Dea (Wing Administration Officer) and Lieutenant Doherty this afternoon. The wing indicated that they were impressed with our units and in particular liked the renovated three-bedroom row units. They commented on the siding project currently under way on the row house exterior. Positive comments were made regarding the new exterior siding on both Anson and Harvard. " – Iona Gadd, Housing Services Centre Manager – Moose Jaw

"On behalf of Nancy and myself, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to you and the entire staff of Borden office. Their dedicated efforts ensured my family had a wonderful and long stay in two different units between the summer of 2006 and the end of spring 2015." – Warrant Officer Stéphane Joly, Occupant – Housing Services Centre Borden

"From the moment I walked through the door to sign for my keys, all the staff were very polite and professional towards me, my family and others in the office. The staff would stop whatever they were working on to put all attention on the customer. All the staff and inspectors were very knowledgeable when asked a question. If they didn’t know the answer they would find it and call us either the same day or emailed by the next morning. It didn’t matter what the issue was, they were there to help and it was done quickly and professionally." –  Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Denman, Occupant – Housing Services Centre Borden

The Customer Experience

  • Potential new occupant fills out an application form and submits it to the Housing Services Centre
  • The Housing Services Centre reviews the application and  inventory, based on size of family to see if a suitable home is available
  • If a suitable house is available, an offer is made in writing. If a unit is not available, then the potential occupant may be added to a waiting list. They will be contacted when a unit becomes available
  • If the housing offer is accepted, an orientation meeting is scheduled with the occupant to sign the Licence to Occupy. At the end of the meeting, the occupant receives the keys to the unit
  • The occupant moves in to the housing unit. The Housing Services Centre is available to provide support and maintenance
  • Before vacating the unit, the occupant gives a notice in writing, at least 30 days beforehand
Quick Facts
  • More than 7000 annual move-ins and move-outs
  • 74% of occupants are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their current accommodation. 70% of occupants say that CFHA employees are friendly and courteous.
  • 8,947 calls to the CFHA emergencyafter-hours response service

Innovation in Action

Highlights

  • A pilot project was initiated in Halifax to gather information on the costs and benefits of tasking an employee with a small number of "handyman" like duties, that normally would be contracted out to a third party.
  • A single contract for repair and maintenance services was developed in Petawawa.
  • CFHA adopts a new approach for business application user training and the establishment of a self-directed learning environment.

According to Blueprint 2020, a federal government-wide initiative, public servants should always embrace new ideas, ways of thinking, realities, business models and developments. This inspired CFHA leaders to encourage a culture of innovation by pursuing new ways of managing specific business components in an effort to achieve broader efficiencies.

Reducing Repair Costs

In January 2015, a pilot project was launched in Halifax to gather information on the costs and benefits of tasking its Technical Services Officers with a small number of "handyman" duties, that normally would be contracted out to a third party. The project ran to the end of March 2015 and was limited to one Technical Services Officer from the Halifax office. The project aimed to improve customer service by responding quickly when simple repairs were needed. It often takes a Technical Services Officer longer to describe, contract out and track such repairs than it would to actually carry them out themselves. Moreover, the occupant has to make a second appointment with a contractor. While reducing costs and paperwork on low value items is an added benefit, the intention is not to replace qualified contractors, who will continue to perform the vast majority of housing maintenance and repairs work for CFHA.

The project involves a limited range of quick-fix, ad hoc tasks including adjusting doors not working properly (e.g., cupboard doors), tightening fixtures and caulking. Anecdotal evidence gathered during the project indicates that it was successful and it will be expanded on a limited basis. Data will be collected to assess costs or savings of this handyman approach; impact on the Housing Services Centre staff’s workload; and feedback on customer service.

Awarding a Single Maintenance Contract

CFHA has traditionally had contracts with several suppliers for repair and maintenance services. However, working with Defence Construction Canada resulted in a single maintenance contract for Petawawa being awarded to Carillion Canada – a new and innovative way to increase administrative efficiencies and reduce the number of contracts to deliver on its mandate.

In January 2015, with the help of Defence Construction Canada, CFHA developed a single contract with a statement of work that includes: general management services, scheduled maintenance services, repair and replacement services, change of occupancy services, small projects and programmed works. As a result, the Agency now has to work with only one contractor, who manages the relationship with all other sub-contractors. CFHA manages this three-year contract and has an option to renew for two additional years. The aim of this contract is to allow CFHA to reduce project administration and achieve broader efficiencies in dealings with housing contractors. The review and evaluation of the contract will begin in the fall of 2015.

Saving on Training

In fiscal year 2014–2015, there was a successful collaborative effort to identify and set up an economical training solution for HAMIS, which interfaces with financial management and business intelligence systems. This resulted in the creation of an innovative approach to business application user training and the establishment of a self-directed learning environment, Oracle User Productivity Kit Knowledge Center.

The new approach provided Canada-wide access to hundreds of sample housing management processes in both English and French. The new tool was demonstrated and marketed during see-and-share (video conference) sessions, conferences and regional meetings organized to maximize user participation.

This resulted in significant travel-cost savings during the preparation and launch of the HAMIS Housing upgrade. Tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for multiple trainers and users to travel across Canada over an extended period have been eliminated. This is because remote see-and-share sessions were used for the learning tools’ orientation component, while formal user training was performed at users’ individual work stations across the country via networked access to the centralized User Productivity Kit Knowledge Center and the associated practice environment.

Networking in Action

Highlights

  • CFHA maintains a cooperative relationship with Defence Construction Canada.
  • Housing Services Centres across the country maintain collaborative relationships with municipal suppliers to maximize service to occupants.
  • CFHA works closely with other Level 1 functional authorities such as the Chief of Military Personnel and the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman’s Office.

CFHA establishes and maintains cooperative relationships with suppliers, service providers and community partners at the local and national levels, such as Public Works and Government Services Canada and Defence Construction Canada. This past year, the Chief Executive Officer accepted the Friends of Defence Construction Canada Award for developing a strong and collaborative relationship with them over many years. CFHA has also established good working relationships with the Chief of Military Personnel and the Office of the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman.

There are several mechanisms in place to manage working relationships with key partners, suppliers and stakeholders, whether departmental or external.

Establishing Cooperative Relationships with External Partners

Besides support for procurement contracting, Defence Construction Canada provides the Agency with real property services such as urban planning, environmental and project management support.

To maintain their relationship, CFHA and Defence Construction Canada hold regular local and national meetings. At the same time, national coordination from Ottawa ensures all efforts continue to have a positive impact on military families’ quality of life. Time is saved and financial efficiency is increased through greater national-level involvement to resolve project issues that cause delays. The Agency also has a clear mechanism to deal with the non-performance of contractors.

Meanwhile, Housing Services Centres across the country maintain collaborative relationships with municipal suppliers to maximize service to occupants effectively and in a timely manner.

Canadian Forces Base Kingston, for example, was experiencing difficulties with bylaw enforcement respecting animal control. Housing Services Centre staff, the Base and the City of Kingston were unsure of their respective roles and responsibilities.

To address the issue, Housing Services Centre Kingston asked the City of Kingston for bylaw enforcement support and communicated with occupants through a newsletter. The Base Standing Orders were also revised. As a result, the City of Kingston assumed responsibility for animal control bylaws in the housing area, requests were dealt with in a timely manner, and occupants recognized that the Housing Services Centre had the power to enforce local rules.

Other areas requiring attention in this regard were waste management in apartments and parking. The Base took steps to mitigate issues where it could. For example, a better trash disposal system for occupants was provided. This initiative improved communication and ensured a clearer and supportive working relationship between the Housing Services Centre and the Base. Now that lines of communication have been established, the City of Kingston may be consulted and contacted as needed.

Housing Services Centre Borden provides another example where CFHA used its networking abilities to help provide better service for its occupants. The Housing Services Centre worked closely with the Base Deputy Fire Chief to develop a form that residents may complete so that, in the event of an emergency, the fire department would be aware that someone in their home has a disability. Once residents submit the information, it is entered in the Base fire department’s system and when a call for help comes from a residence where an occupant with special needs is registered, the information pops up to ensure firefighters are alerted and can assist appropriately. Housing Services Centre Esquimalt is using this model to work to introduce a similar registry.

Maintaining Collaborative Relationships with Stakeholders

CFHA continues to work with other Level 1 functional authorities to obtain policy direction and support for services and ensure alignment with departmental and Canadian Armed Forces objectives. The Chief of Military Personnel is a critical partner in the delivery of CFHA services and is responsible for military human resources issues as well as the accommodation policy. Working with the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment), the Chief of Military Personnel ensures that CFHA is kept abreast of changing military housing needs as well as departmental priorities and policies. In the past year, the Chief Executive Officer met with the Chief of Military Personnel and the Assistant Chief of Military Personnel on a number of issues ranging from the future of housing to site-specific issues.

The Chief Executive Officer is also key in maintaining strong relationships between CFHA’s Head Office and Housing Services Centres and visits several locations annually. In 2014-2015, the Chief Executive Officer visited Petawawa, Halifax, Greenwood, and Valcartier where she toured houses, met with CFHA staff and military command. These visits provided insight into site-specific challenges and resulted in better management of CFHA deliverables.

CFHA maintains a good working relationship with the Ombudsman’s Office. The Ombudsman investigates complaints and serves as a neutral third party on matters related to the Department and the Canadian Armed Forces. Acting independently of the chain of command and Level 1s, it reports directly to the Minister of National Defence.

In February 2015, the Ombudsman’s Office identified a number of concerns raised during his visit to Moose Jaw and shared them with the Chief Executive Officer. CFHA used these observations as a feedback mechanism to implement actions to improve delivery. As a result of our work with the Ombudsman’s Office, CFHA is continually strengthening its communication tools to ensure decisions about regular repairs and maintenance are more transparent and better understood by occupants. We have and will continue to build our inventory of frequently asked questions and answers to keep applicants better informed of the departmental policy respecting the allocation of available units and the maintenance of priority waiting lists for housing.

Several bases across the country have community councils. These can be composed of military members, CFHA staff, and municipal representatives. Canadian Forces Base Borden has a community council made up of a mayor, a deputy mayor and ward councillors representing different sections of the housing site. CFHA is an ex-officio member of the council, which meets monthly.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Denman, a 15 year occupant of military housing, participated in the Borden Community Council and later sent a letter of appreciation to CFHA Borden for its polite and professional relationship with both him and his family.

"When I became a member of the Community Council in Borden as a Ward Councillor and Public Relations Rep," he says, "I was able to work hand in hand with CFHA and other community members to help other residents. I feel that every base should have a council so that the residents can get to know CFHA staff and work together to improve the living area within the units." – Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Denman, Occupant – Housing Services Centre Borden

Moving Forward

In the coming year, CFHA will continue its efforts to achieve the next level of the Excellence, Innovation and Wellness Standard for Canada.

The Office of the Auditor General’s next report to the Parliament will include a performance audit chapter report entitled "Canadian Armed Forces Housing." The objective of this audit is to determine whether National Defence managed military housing in a manner that supports housing requirements, is consistent with Government regulations and policies, and is cost-effective. The audit will cover the period between April 2010 and March 2015, and will be completed in September 2015 and tabled in Parliament in early 2016.

It is expected that the report will provide recommendations to the Department to which CFHA and other departmental stakeholders of the military housing program will have to respond with action plans to address the audit’s findings. CFHA will incorporate any associated response and/or action plan in its business plan.

The Federal Infrastructure Investments Program funding of $102.75 million that was announced in Budget 2014 are being rolled out over 2015 and 2017. CFHA began planning as soon as the announcement was made so that implementation could begin on April 1, 2015. The projects that CFHA will deliver in order to invest these new funds will include a mix of betterment and recapitalization projects, as well as some replacement construction for a few sites. In addition, Bagotville and Shilo will see their portfolios grow with new construction. This program requires collaboration between Head Office and Housing Services Centre staff as well as the bases and wings to achieve success.

CFHA will continue to support the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment) during the transformation to real property centralization. The Agency itself contributes to the service transformation and shares the goal of delivering high quality services tailored to client needs, while increasing efficiency and collaboration.

CFHA will look into expanding some of the pilot projects undertaken this past year, such as the maintenance service contract project in Petawawa, as well as the handyman project in Halifax.

In accordance with Blueprint 2020, the Agency will continue to focus on innovation by moving forward key initiatives such as progressing on technology upgrades, introducing social media and improving Web capability to provide better customer service. CFHA will also use the life cycle/betterment program to prioritize and plan projects. It will also improve its vacancy management practices.

These endeavours will be successfully accomplished by collaborating with stakeholders to ensure that CFHA is delivering its housing program in accordance with the Department’s accommodation policy.

CFHA will continue to strive to deliver an effective, efficient and sustainable housing program in support of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Agency remains motivated to do more for military families and to ensure the optimal reinvestment of their rents towards improving the military housing portfolio.

Contact Information

Canadian Forces Housing Agency
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General Georges R. Pearkes Building
101 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa ON K1A 0K2

General Inquiries: 1 888-459-CFHA (2342)
Fax: 613-998-8060

www.cfha-alfc.forces.gc.ca

Financial Statement

Statement of Management Responsibility

Responsibility for the integrity and objectivity of the accompanying financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2015 and all information contained in these statements rests with the management of CFHA. These financial statements have been prepared by management in accordance with the accounting policies set out in Note 2 of the statements, on a basis consistent with that of the preceding year.

Management is responsible for the integrity and objectivity of the information in these financial statements. Some of the information in the financial statements is based on management’s best estimates and judgment and gives due consideration to materiality. To fulfil its accounting and reporting responsibilities, management maintains a set of accounts that provides a centralized record of the Agency’s financial transactions. Financial information submitted in the preparation of the Public Accounts of Canada and included in the Departmental Performance Report is consistent with these financial statements.

Management is also responsible for maintaining an effective system of internal control over financial reporting designed to provide reasonable assurance that financial information is reliable, that assets are safeguarded and that transactions are properly authorized and recorded in accordance with the Financial Administration Act and other applicable legislations, regulations, authorities and policies.

Management also seeks to ensure the objectivity and integrity of data in its financial statements by careful selection, training and development of qualified staff, by organizational arrangements that provide appropriate divisions of responsibility, and by communication programs aimed at ensuring that regulations, policies, standards and managerial authorities are understood throughout the Agency.

The CFHA financial statements have not been audited.

Approved By:

Dominique Francoeur
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Forces Housing Agency

Natasha Tchentsova
General Manager
Finance, Planning and Resource Management

Statement of Financial Position (Unaudited)

For the year ended March 31

(in thousands of dollars)

20152014

Assets

- Financial Assets

-- Accounts Receivable (Note 4)

107 192
  107 192

- Non-Financial Assets

   

-- Tangible Capital Assets (Note 5)

196,941 166,378
  196,941 166,378
Total 197,048 166,570

 

Liabilities 20152014

- Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities (Note 7)

23,856 17,133

- Vacation Pay and Compensatory Leave

887 836

- Employee Future Benefits (Note 8)

1,331 1,923
  26,074 19,892

Equity of Canada

170,974 146,678
Total 155,570 166,570

The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.

Statement of Operations (Unaudited)

For the year ended March 31

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Care and support to the Canadian Armed Forces and contribution to Canadian society    
Operating Expenses    
- Maintenance and Repair 64,143 56,174
- Salaries and Employee Benefits 17,589 19,168
- Professional and Special Services 7,503 8,531
- Utilities, Materials and Supplies 6,827 6,432
- Amortization (Note 5) 6,700 6,152
- Accommodation 4,695 4,720
- Other Services 1,291 994
- Travel 526 789
- Expenses Related to Tangible Assets 534 809
- Equipment and Other Rentals 118 120
- Bad Debts 52 91
- Communication 48 64
- Advertising, Printing and Related Services 42 20
- Other 19 13
Total Operating Expenses 110,086 104,077
Revenues    
- Shelter Charges 93,535 92,668
- Miscellaneous Revenues (Note 6) 5,916 5,640
Total Revenues 99,451 98,308
Net Cost of Operations 10,635 5,769

The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.

The expenses related to tangible assets include those assets that were not capitalized because they were lower than the capitalization threshold established by the Department (refer to Note 2(h) of these financial statements).

Statement of Equity of Canada (Unaudited)

For the year ended March 31

(in thousands of dollars)2015 2014
Equity of Canada, beginning of year 146,678 123,048
- Net Cost of Operations (10,635) (5,769)
- Current Funding Used (Note 3) 39,956 27,165
- Change in Net Position in the Consolidated Revenue Fund (Note 3) (6,545) 689
- Services Received Without Charge from Other Government Departments (Note 9) 1,520 1,544
Equity of Canada, end of year 170,974 146,678

The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.

Statement of Cash Flows (Unaudited)

For the year ended March 31

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Operating Activities    
- Net Cost of Operations 10,635 5,769
- Non-Cash Items    
-- Amortization of Tangible Capital Assets (Note 5) (6,700) (6,152)
-- Services Provided Without Charge by Other Government Departments (Note 9) (1,520) (1,544)
- Variations in Statement of Financial Position    
-- Increase (decrease) in Accounts Receivable (85) (96)
-- (Increase) decrease in Liabilities (6,182) 724
Cash Used by Operating Activities (3,851) (1,298)

 

Capital Investment Activities20152014
- Acquisitions of Tangible Capital Assets (Note 5) 37,262 29,152
Cash used by Capital Investment Activities 37,262 29,152

 

Net Cash Provided by Government of Canada33,41127,854

The accompanying notes form an integral part of these financial statements.


Notes to the Financial Statement (Unaudited)

1. Authority and Purpose

CFHA was established as a provisional special operating agency of the Department of National Defence in October 1995. In March 2004, it received permanent special operating agency status. The Department is granted revenue spending authority from Parliament through the approval of an appropriation act. The Department funds CFHA’s operating activities from vote-netted revenues generated by shelter charges collected from the housing portfolio and credited to the Defence appropriation. The capital investment program of the Agency is partially funded through departmental appropriations.

CFHA manages Crown-controlled residential accommodation assets for the Department, to ensure that those assets, occupied or available to be occupied, are maintained to a suitable standard. CFHA also develops and implements plans to meet the future residential needs of members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with government accounting policies which are based on Canadian public sector accounting standards. Significant accounting policies are as follows: 

(a)  Net Voting Authority

CFHA receives authority to operate net voting from Parliament with the approval of an appropriation act. Net Voting is the authority to expend revenues generated by shelter charges to offset related expenditures.

The Agency also receives additional funding from Departmental appropriations to provide Department-directed activities.

(b)   Net Cash Provided by Government of Canada

The Agency operates within the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is administered by the Receiver General for Canada. All cash received by the Agency is deposited to the Fund and all cash disbursements made by the Agency are paid from the Fun. The net cash provided by Government is the difference between all cash receipts and all cash disbursements including transactions between departments of the Federal Government.

(c)    Change in net position in the Consolidated Revenue Fund

The change in net position in the Fund is the difference between the net cash provided by Government and vote-netted revenues plus additional funding used in a year, excluding the amount of non-respendable revenue recorded by the Agency.  It results from timing differences between when a transaction affects vote-netted revenues and when it is processed through the Fund.

(d)   Revenues

  • Revenues from shelter charges are recognized in the accounts based on the services provided in the year.
  • Other revenues are accounted for in the period in which the underlying transaction or event occurred that gave rise to the revenues.

(e)    Expenses

Expenses are recorded on the accrual basis:

  • Vacation pay and compensatory leave are expensed as the benefits accrue to employees under their respective terms of employment.
  • Services provided without charge by other government departments for the employer's contribution to the health and dental insurance plans and legal services are recorded as operating expenses at their estimated cost.

(f)     Employee future benefits

i. Pension benefits

Eligible civilian employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan, a multi-employer plan administered by the Government of Canada. The Department's contributions to the Plan are charged to expenses in the year incurred and represent the total Departmental obligation to the Plan. The Department’s responsibility with regard to the Plan is limited to its contributions.

ii. Severance benefits

Employees are entitled to severance benefits under labour contracts or conditions of employment. These benefits are accrued as employees render the services necessary to earn them. The obligation relating to the benefits earned by employees is calculated using information derived from the results of the actuarially determined liability for employee severance benefits for the Government as a whole.

As part of collective agreement negotiations with certain employee groups, and changes to conditions of employment for executives and certain non-represented employees, the accumulation of severance benefits under the employee severance pay program ceased for these employees commencing in 2012. Employees subject to these changes have been given the option to be immediately paid the full or partial value of benefits earned to date or collect the full or remaining value of benefits of termination from the public service.

(g)   Accounts receivables

Receivables are stated at amounts expected to be ultimately realized; an allowance for doubtful accounts is made for receivables where recovery is considered uncertain. The allowance for doubtful accounts represents management’s best estimate of probable losses in receivables. The allowance is determined based on an analysis of historic loss experience and an assessment of current condition.

(h) Tangible capital assets

All tangible capital assets, having an initial cost of $30,000 or more are recorded at their acquisition cost. Capitalization threshold values lower than $30,000 may apply to certain assets such as vehicles and repairables.

Amortization of tangible capital assets is done on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful life of the asset as follows:

Asset classAmortization period
Buildings (New Construction) 40 years
Buildings (Betterment) 20 years
Work in progress Once in service, in accordance with asset class

(i) Measurement uncertainty

The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses reported in the financial statements. At the time of preparation of these statements, management believes the estimates and assumptions to be reasonable. The most significant items where estimates are used are environmental liabilities, the liability for employee future benefits, allowance for doubtful accounts, and the useful life of tangible capital assets.  Actual results could significantly differ from those estimated.  Management's estimates are reviewed periodically and, as adjustments become necessary, they are recorded in the financial statements in the year they become known. 

(j) Remediation Liabilities

Remediation Liabilities are recorded as accrued liabilities to recognize the estimated costs related to the management and remediation of contaminated sites where the Agency is obligated, or likely to be obligated, to remediate the sites.

3. Reconciliation of Current Year Funding Used

a) Reconciliation of Net Cost of Operations to Current Year Funding Used

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Net Cost of Operations 10,635 5,769
Adjustments for items affecting Net Cost of Operations but not affecting Funding:    
- Amortization of Tangible Capital Assets (Note 5) (6,700) (6,152)
- Vacation Pay and Compensatory Leave (50) (73)
- Employee Severance Benefits 592 197
- Adjustment to Previous Year's Accounts Payable (333) (288)
- Services Provided Without Charge by Other Government Departments (Note 9) (1,520) (1,544)
- Other 70 103
  (2,694) (1,987)
Adjustments for items not affecting Net Cost of Operations but affecting Funding:    
- Acquisitions of Tangible Capital Assets (Note 5) 37,262 29,152
Current Year Funding Used 39,956 27,165

b) Reconciliation of Net Cash Provided by Government to Current Year Funding Used

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Net Cash Provided by Government 33,411 27,885
Revenue not available for Spending    
Change in Net Position in the Consolidated Revenue Fund    
- (Increase) Decrease in Accounts Receivable and Advances 85 96
- (Decrease) in Accounts Payable, Accrued Liabilities and Transfer Payments Payables 6,723 (601)
- Adjustment to Previous Year's Accounts Payable (333) (288)
- Other Adjustments 70 103
  6,545 (689)
Current Year Funding Used 39,956 27,165

4. Accounts Receivable and Advances

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
- Receivables from Other Federal Government Departments and Agencies 6 63
- Receivables from External Parties 501 622
Gross Accounts Receivable 507 685
- Less: Allowance for Doubtful Accounts on External Receivables (400) (493)
Total 107 192

5. Tangible Capital Assets

Tangible Capital Assets
(in thousands of dollars)Opening BalanceAcquisitionsTransferDisposalsClosing Balance
Residential Houses 158,517   21,526 - 180,043
Work in progress 42,601 37,262 (21,526)   58,337
Total Tangible Capital Assets 201,118 37,262 - - 238,380

 

Accumulated Amortization
(in thousands of dollars)Opening BalanceCurrent Year AmortizationDisposals and TransfersClosing Balance
Residential Houses 34,740 6,700 - 41,440
Total Tangible Capital Assets 34,740 6,700 - 41,440

 

Net Book Value
(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Residential Houses 138,604 123,777
Work in progress 58,337 42,601
Total Net Book Value 196,941 166,378

Amortization expenses for the year ended March 31, 2015 is $6,699,978 (2014 - $6,151,976)

The expenses related to tangible assets include those assets that were not capitalized because they were lower than the capitalization threshold established by the Agency.

CFHA-managed residential housing assets were transferred from the Department at the time of CFHA formation with “0” cost value instead of a historical cost of the assets and fully amortized value because the residential housing portfolio was more than 5 years old and there was a lack of accurate cost information dating back to that time. The realty replacement cost of residential housing assets was approximately $1.832 billion and the number of CFHA owned housing units is 12,012 at March 31, 2015.

6. Miscellaneous Revenues

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Recovery of Utility Charges 4,564 4,415
Recovery from Foreign Military Training 1,145 985
Others 204 240
Total 5,916 5,640

7. Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Federal Government Departments and Agencies 3,402 3,647
External Parties    
- Accounts Payable 19,293 12,805
- Accrued Salaries 13 8
- Remediation Liabilities 166 -
- Other Liabilities 982 673
Total Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities 23,856 17,734

Remediation Liabilities – Contaminated Sites

Liabilities are accrued to record the estimated costs related to the management and remediation of environmentally contaminated sites where the Agency is obligated or likely to be obligated to incur such costs. Liability estimates are based on information known at a given point in time. These estimates are subject to variability due to: professional judgment involved in developing estimates, the possibility that additional volumes of contaminated media may be discovered upon implementation of the remedial action plan, and/or new technologies becoming available during the course of implementing the remedial action plan.

 The Agency has identified four sites where it is obligated to remediate and has recorded a remediation liability of $165,588 for these sites.

8. Employee Future Benefits

a. Pension Benefits

The Agency’s employees participate in the Public Service Pension Plan, which is sponsored and administered by the Government of Canada. Pension benefits accrue up to a maximum period of 35 years at a rate of 2 percent per year of pensionable service, times the average of the best five consecutive years of earnings. The benefits are integrated with Canada/Quebec Pension Plans benefits and they are indexed to inflation.

Both the employees and the Department contribute to the cost of the Plan. Due to the amendment of the Public Service Superannuation Act following the implementation of provisions related to Economic Action Plan 2012, employee contributors have been divided into two groups – Group 1 relates to existing plan members as of December 31, 2012 and Group 2 relates to members joining the Plan as of January 1, 2013. Each group has a distinct contribution rate.

The 2014-2015 expense amounts to $2,008 ($2,198 in 2013-2014). For Group 1 members, the expense represents approximately 1.41 times (1.6 times in 2013-2014) the employee contributions and, for Group 2 members, approximately 1.39 times (1.5 times in 2013-2014) the employee contributions.

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Pension Expense 2,008 2,198

The Department’s responsibility with regard to the Plan is limited to its contributions. Actuarial surpluses or deficiencies are recognized in the financial statements of the Government of Canada, as the Plan’s sponsor.

b. Severance Benefits

The Department provides severance benefits to its employees based on eligibility, years of service and final salary. These severance benefits are not pre-funded. Benefits will be paid from future appropriations. Information about the severance benefits, measured as at March 31, is as follows:

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Accrued Future Benefit Obligation, beginning of year 1,923 2,121
Expense for the Year (132) 526
Benefits paid during the year (460) (724)
Accrued Future Benefit Obligation, end of year 1,331 1,923

9. Related Party Transactions

The Department is related as a result of common ownership to all Government of Canada departments, agencies, and Crown corporations. The Department enters into transactions with these entities in the normal course of business and on normal trade terms.

A. Services Received Without Charge

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Accounts Payable to Other Government Department and Agencies 3,402 3,647
Total 3,402 3,647

Also, during the year, the Department received without charge from another department, the employer’s contribution to the health and dental insurance plans. These services without charge have been recognized in the Agency’s Statement of Operations as follows:

(in thousands of dollars)20152014
Employer's contributions to the health and dental insurace plans paid by Treasury Board Secretariat 1,520 1,544
Total 1,520 1,544

B. Payable Outstanding at the Year End with Reated Parties

The Government has structured some of its administrative activities for efficiency and cost-effectiveness purposes so that one department performs these on behalf of all without charge. The cost of these services, which include payroll and cheque issuance services provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada, are not included as an expense in the Department’s Statement of Operations.

10. Contractual Obligations

The nature of the Agency’s activities results in some large multi-year contracts and obligations whereby the Agency will be obligated to make future payments when services and/or goods are received.

Significant contractual obligations that can be reasonably estimated are summarized as follows:

(in thousands of dollars)2015-162016-172017-18201-192019-20 and thereafterTotal
Project 14,151,590 5,972,435 5,275,194 - - 25,399,219
Operating Lease 908,523 54,900 - - - 963,423