Follow up on visit to 17 Wing Winnipeg from 14-18 November

7 December 2016

Mr. Serge Tremblay
A/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 Mr. Tremblay,

I am writing to follow up on my visit to 17 Wing Winnipeg from 14-18 November 2016. During this visit, my staff and I were pleased to meet with the localCanadian Forces Housing Agency employees, and listen to concerns andpositive feedback from military personnel, civilian employees, caregivers and military family members.

Ms. Colleen Ridley and her team were very welcoming at the Canadian Forces Housing Agency offices in Winnipeg. I sincerely appreciated the openness and candour during our meeting. Additionally, the briefing package they assembled for my team to take home and analyze exceeded our expectations.

As I mentioned during our meeting with CFHA team, I was thoroughly impressed by the professionalism in the face of funding challenges. At this location and across the country, limited resources coupled with increased demand for improvements to National Defence infrastructure will continue to challenge the Canadian Forces housing system.

This letter is to highlight some of the comments received during our visit from members and their families about your services. Generally, families held your office in very high regard. One military spouse made particular note of your office going above and beyond to make improvements to a home in order to accommodate a child with multiple disabilities.

Some raised concerns with the conditions of their homes, feeling that they did not reflect the assessed “fair market value” that these families were paying. While it was indicated that there are ongoing renovations to some of the older properties, I felt that I should nevertheless make you aware of these specific concerns. Additionally, it was our understanding from a number of members that duct cleaning is not performed at regular intervals in Canadian Forces Housing Units. While I am unsure of the specific policy regarding the frequency of the work to be conducted by your team, there were some significant concerns as to the state of some of the ventilation in these homes.

I also want to congratulate Ms. Ridley on the “Ambassador Program” initiative under which volunteers are hired from the Military Family Resource Centre on 90-day contracts, providing them with employment and valuable work experience with the goal of turning them into ambassadors within the military community. I firmly believe that this innovative program should be replicated across the country, and I praise your efforts in this regard.

Once again I want to thank your team for the opportunity to meet; your continued efforts to improve Canadian Forces housing were well-reflected in my final debrief with Colonel Cook.

Sincerely,

 

Gary Walbourne

Ombudsman

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