Victory for northern homeowners receiving housing subsidy

After a successful mobilization campaign by PSAC members across the North, homeowners working for the federal government will continue to receive a housing cost allowance as part of the National joint Council’s (NJC) Shelter Cost Differential (SCD) program.  

When the revised Shelter Cost Differential methodology was announced July 4, the new provisions were expanded to include several new northern communities that were previously ineligible for the housing cost allowance, which meant many more PSAC members would be included as part of the subsidy.  

However, the revised provisions initially specified that the subsidy would only apply to employees renting private accommodations or living in government housing.  

PSAC action led to change 

PSAC and other unions immediately flagged this would mean homeowners currently receiving the subsidy would now be excluded, and Treasury Board agreed to review and discuss the potential impacts to federal public service workers at the Isolated Posts and Government Housing committee meeting October 31.  

Following that meeting, unions and Treasury Board agreed to revise the Shelter Cost Differential to ensure it would be payable to employees renting or owning private accommodations as part of the expanded list of communities in Appendix K-1, as well as to employees renting government housing as part of Appendix K-2. 

Our members played an important role in making this happen. We came together, spoke up, and pushed for change. PSAC engaged with northern MPs while members took action by writing to their MP and federal Ministers to highlight the importance of this subsidy for federal public service workers living and working in the North. The Shelter Cost Differential is vital to help offset the high cost of living in the North for federal public service workers. 

This financial support is also instrumental in recruiting and retaining federal public service workers in northern communities. 

Learn more about the Shelter Cost Differential change 

Additional information about the Shelter Cost Differential and the revised methodology that came into effect August 1, 2023 and the transitional provisions that will take effect December 1, can be found on the National Joint Council’s website and their FAQ about the changes.