Delivering on our strategic objectives - Canadian Forces Housing Agency Annual Report 2017-2018

Providing excellent services to our customers and clients

People are at the core of everything we do to deliver our mandate. Every CFHA employee is dedicated to providing our customers with the best possible service. To achieve this goal, we work hard to create an environment in which employees can excel both personally and professionally.

We launched the Stars of CFHA program in 2017. This recognition program aims to highlight our frontline staff who provide excellence in customer service across Canada. Three exceptional employees were named the 2017 Stars of CFHA. In addition, Housing Services Centre Esquimalt received the title of 2017 Star Housing Services Centre for their work in providing consistent outstanding customer service.

Further witnessing the hard work of our employees, commanding officers at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown presented Housing Services Centre staff with commendations on two separate occasions. The first for their exceptional support to the base and the second in recognition of the outstanding assistance to ill and injured members of the Joint Personnel Support Unit. Also, we are proud to highlight the accomplishment of our manager at Housing Services Centre Edmonton. This past spring, she received the Joint Task Force North Commander’s Pennant - an award that is rarely given to civilians. This was in recognition of her strong work ethic, fairness, and tenacity in assisting CAF members and their families living in DND housing in Yellowknife and Iqaluit. 

Being the agent of excellence in the provision of residential housing for the CAF

As noted in Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada's Defence Policy, one of the key objectives related to our mandate is the need to improve infrastructure on bases and wings, including military housing. The policy recognizes that military service has a broader impact than to those in uniform and includes several initiatives to improve the quality of life for both CAF members and their families. We recognize that some of our occupants have special requirements which make mobility within a standard home difficult and we are committed to providing barrier-free design solutions. This is realized through partnerships with CAF leadership, base and wing staff, industry professionals, and occupants. 

In fiscal year 2017-2018, we successfully invested over $144 million into the housing portfolio. Included in the $144 million was $50 million from the Infra2016 program; government dedicated funds for the improvement of national infrastructure as identified in Budget 2016.

Through the combined investment from life cycle, betterment and recapitalization programs, we enhanced thousands of residential housing units. Our investments yielded improvements to the portfolio which included complete exterior and interior renovations, renovated kitchens and bathrooms, and improved parking and access.  

Across Canada, 37 new residential housing units were constructed at three of our sites. These construction projects resulted in 26 apartment units (Cold Lake and Comox), four semidetached homes and seven single homes (Trenton). Construction work on another 30 apartment units is well underway and was over 50% completed in March 2018. Our investments are allowing us to right-size our portfolio to better meet the needs of CAF members and their families. 

Fostering a vibrant, competent workforce in a healthy workplace

As part of our journey of continuous improvement in fiscal year 2017-2018, we took further steps in our pursuit of organizational excellence. On the road to reaching Excellence Canada’s Platinum Level Certification, we joined a two-year wellness study looking at the impact of BestLifeRewarded’s (BLR) Health Behaviour Change Program. Along with four other government organizations, we joined the pilot study in September 2017. The Program uses several behaviour change models to promote a healthy lifestyle. 

In fiscal year 2017-2018, we continued to focus on building an engaged, agile and sustainable workforce. Similar to the rest of the Department, our organization faces challenging workforce demographics that require a concerted effort, as more than 30% of our regional workforce will be eligible to retire by 2022.

In order to help mitigate these challenges, we continued carrying out our Strategic Workforce Management Plan which includes developing, maintaining and implementing flexible and efficient organizational structures aligned with current and future business objectives. It also includes a comprehensive succession planning process which is used to identify and develop talent at all levels throughout the organization, as well as a continuous focus on employee engagement and workplace wellness. 

We have taken steps toward improving how we recruit our workforce; we began promoting some of our vacant positions using interdepartmental social media platforms. Use of new avenues for recruitment reflects our commitment to modernizing human resources practices and leveraging partnerships and opportunities with external stakeholders.

Excelling in our sound management practices and stewardship of resources

Throughout fiscal year 2017-2018, we continued to proactively explore new opportunities to implement energy efficient housing solutions in support of the Department’s environmental objectives. As stated in Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy, and the Defence Energy and Environmental Strategy (DEES), new objectives were set which outline the Department’s environmental priorities for the future.  Specific to the Agency, Target 6 commits the Agency to “achieve an EnerGuide energy performance standard for all new or recapitalized residential housing units by 31 March 2020.” In working toward this target, we perform energy efficiency evaluations to assess all new and recapitalized homes. Results for fiscal year 20172018 demonstrate that for all 206 assessed residential housing units, we are well on our way to achieving the target. 

In addition to working toward the DEES targets, we remain committed to being a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainable management practices. Housing-related Energy Star, Green Globes and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles are fully integrated into our technical standards. These standards promote the use of green materials and methodologies for improved energy efficiency in maintenance work, lifecycle replacement and whole house renovation projects.  

In line with Departmental priorities, we continue to dispose of surplus residential housing units, resulting in a reduced environmental footprint and helping to meet the Department’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. In fiscal year 2017-2018, we expended $2.8 million on demolition projects that were carried out in Cold Lake, Winnipeg, Gagetown and Trenton.  

Over the course of the year, the demolition program reduced the national housing portfolio by approximately 1%. These projects have helped to consolidate the residential housing sites and improve privacy, parking, landscaping, as well as security and access in our communities. Demolishing residential housing units also helps reduce operating costs and the need for future infrastructure and servicing utility upgrades. 

The demolition projects follow federal and provincial regulatory requirements, through the proper assessment, remediation and documentation of soil contamination due to legacy activities, compliance with the disposal of systems containing halocarbons, the proper management of construction waste and hazardous building materials, as well as the decommissioning of fuel storage tanks. Surplus housing will continue to be demolished and divested during this upcoming fiscal year, as part of our ongoing rationalization strategy.

We continue to drive innovation in the delivery of maintenance services as exemplified by exercising a two year extension to our Maintenance Services Contract in Petawawa. This project continues to provide the Agency with increased flexibilities and process efficiencies resulting in our ability to provide a more efficient change of occupancy to CAF members and their families, allowing for smoother occupant moves and reduced wait times. As a result of the success of this pilot project, CFHA planned the implementation of a similar model in Gagetown for fiscal year 2018-2019.

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