ARCHIVED - Military housing rent increases and ongoing problems with cost of living differences

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The Office of the Ombudsman is aware of the planned rent increases (shelter charge adjustments) for military residential housing units on 1 April 2014.

Housing rent costs and annual rent increases have been raised as a vigorous source of dissatisfaction by military members and their families across the country - particularly in locations where the Post Living Differential rates (designed to offset regional differences in cost of living) - are either low (CFB Cold Lake) or are not available (CFB Wainwright).

PLD has been frozen by the Department of National Defence since April 2010. This move was instituted in order for the department to review the PLD methodology in conjunction with the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Some regions have experienced a significant rise in the cost of living over the past five years. The PLD rates no longer realistically offset cost of living differences.

The creation of a Transitional Post Living Differential means that some members receive 2009 rates with no reduction, while those posted into the same region after the freeze receive lower rates or, in some cases, no PLD at all. The Chief of the Defence Staff stated in a grievance decision in October 2011 that this created a system of "haves and have-nots" and he directed that this unfairness be addressed.

The program is still under review at the Treasury Board.  Our office has consistently raised the issue in reports and correspondence as being a significant source of financial unfairness.

Pierre Daigle

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