Letter to Canadian Forces Housing Agency: Moosejaw Visit in February of 2015

23 February 2015


Ms. Dominique Francoeur
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Forces Housing Agency
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General George R. Pearkes Building
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K2


Dear Dominique,

I am writing to follow up on my visit to 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, from February 2-5, 2015. During this visit, my staff and I were pleased to meet with and listen to concerns and positive feedback from military personnel, civilian employees, caregivers and military family members.

I would like to highlight some of the concerns that we heard regarding residential housing units (RHUs) in Moose Jaw and CFHA services. I recognize that you and your staff are aware of these issues, but I thought it would be helpful to detail them nonetheless and to offer you our assistance should you wish to follow up on any of these matters. I am a firm believer that collaboration and sharing best practices leads to long lasting positive changes.

When it comes to Residential Housing Units, 15 Wing Moose Jaw is no exception; numerous issues were discussed at each town hall meeting.  Much frustration was expressed over the rent charges as well as the lack of services provided by CFHA and contractors. 

On the matter of the condition of the Moose Jaw RHUs, there are serious concerns with respect to the overall safety of units.  Members described a variety of situations such as frequent flooding in basements, very large cracks in foundations and basement walls, and poor quality or very old windows requiring covering to prevent the heat from escaping.  Some also mentioned having to purchase space heaters to ensure their children’s rooms would not go down to freezing temperatures during the nights.  Members stated they are incurring higher than normal energy charges due the state of their RHU; in turn, they also face increases in rent charges that the repairs or renovations, when completed, do not justify.

Many noted that the services provided by CFHA are inadequate as there are no after hour services; consequently, members or spouses have to take time off work and lose wages to accommodate contractors.  Members shared that requests for repairs are often left unanswered and that required renovations have unreasonably long wait times and often are completed by sub-contractors, who are difficult to find because the payment schedule by CFHA often takes over a month.  Families feel they have no recourse for the lack of quality of work by inexperienced contractors.  On a positive note some members found if they engaged their chain of command this helped in accelerating the required services in a timely manner.  However, this is not a viable long-term solution.

Housing was of great concern for members in Moose Jaw, specifically, the lack of RHUs and the constraints with regards to door-to-door moves because of the lack of available housing:  members move their families to the City of Moose Jaw and they have to move again, at their own expense, when RHUs are available.  We were informed that priority is given at CFHA’s discretion and that there is no clear direction and policy as to who is eligible for priority housing. Concerns were expresses with regards to the wait time for a unit being over a year.  A more transparent communication about priority attribution and repair schedule is what CAF members and families would appreciate.

I am available to discuss further and explore what positive contribution can be made for the members who serve and their families.  Please do not hesitate to contact me.



Gary Walbourne

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