The Courier

For this article, the Courier News asked some common housing questions with members of the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA), both at CFB Cold Lake and in Ottawa.


For CAF members where 4 Wing Cold Lake may be their first posting, what does the process look like to get into DND residential housing?

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members can start the application process for a Residential Housing Unit (RHU) by visiting RHUs are assigned based on the applicant’s household size and on a first-come, first-served basis. A priority system is also taken into consideration when assigning RHUs. The applicant’s record will detail the number of dependents (household size required). CFHA uses this to determine the size of house that may be assigned (based also on priority and on availability). A copy of the CAF member’s posting message must be included with the application. An overview of the priority system is available on that can help applicants determine which priority they would fit into. 


What does rent look like? As well, how is rent calculated on base?

RHUs in Cold Lake are available at a range of between $768 and $1383 monthly. Shelter charges (rents) vary depending on the type and square footage of the unit. Renovated units are also a factor in determining monthly cost. Specific information about the types of RHUs in Cold Lake and their shelter charges can be found on The rents listed online don’t include utility charges. Water and sewage rates are calculated in accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS)/National Joint Council (NJC) Isolated Post and Government Housing Directive (IPGHD), Section 6.14 – Fuel and Utility charges. For electricity and natural gas utility charges, occupants pay consumption charges directly to the supplier.

Military members posted to Cold Lake receive a Post Living Differential (PLD) which  helps CAF personnel and their families with the cost of living when posted to various locations across Canada. 

As per the DAOD 5024-0, DND Living Accommodation, rent in Crown housing should not exceed 25% of the combined gross household income while renting/living in DND housing (excluding costs for parking, fuel and utilities). To determine eligibility, occupants should fill out the Calculation of Household Income form and send it to the CFHA Housing Services Centre (HSC) Cold Lake. 

Government of Canada policy and DND regulations ensures that a CAF member is provided with DND housing at a rental cost that is similar to what others would pay for a similar housing unit in the private market. 

To meet these regulations, CFHA must review shelter charges across the country on a yearly basis and make adjustments to reflect changes in the local market, based on the initial value of the unit. Statistics Canada’s provincial Rented Accommodation Consumer Price Index (CPI) is used to determine annual housing shelter charge adjustments. Occupants are provided with a 90 day notice in December that reflect the new rent charges that will take effect on April 1 of the upcoming year.  


Are there wait times for housing at CFB Cold Lake?

There are no waiting lists for DND Housing in Cold Lake. Currently, there are two, three and four bedroom RHUs available for allocation.


What are the responsibilities of the Occupant when they move into an RHU?

The Occupant Handbook is available online. It outlines some of the basic rights and responsibilities of living in a DND RHU. Occupants must abide by the terms and conditions of the Minister’s Licence to Occupy and the Occupant Handbook. Specifically when moving in for example, it is the occupant’s responsibility to note any damages and/or deficiencies noticed in their allocated RHU. This is done on the provided DND Housing Checklist for New Occupants. It must then be signed and returned to the HSC within five working days of the move-in.

The occupant must also provide proof of insurance to the HSC prior to taking possession of the premises and at any time upon request.

The Occupant Handbook further describes good housekeeping practices that are to be followed. This includes guidance on landscaping, snow removal, furnace operation, extended absences and domestic pets to name a few.


What are some common questions that are asked to the CFHA office during posting season?

The most common types of questions centre on services and amenities relating to family life. Questions about schools or daycare in the area, health services and access to the city. CFHA collaborates with the local MFRC and often refers CAF members to them. Occupants in Cold Lake enjoy neighbourhood parks, splash pads for kids and a nearby beach. Bus service is free.

Other common questions are related to the types of homes available in Cold Lake. Often, “how wide of a refrigerator will fit in the kitchen”. Thanks to the large availability of homes, CAF members posting to Cold Lake have options regarding available housing units and can view these during their house hunting trip (HHT). CFHA makes a note of their request and will try to allocate based on the request and availability of course. There is also the possibility of a friend who already lives in Cold Lake to do a tour of available units on behalf of the applicant, when an HHT is not possible.


What are the responsibilities of people when they move out of an RHU?

The most important thing that an occupant is required to do is to submit a 30-day written notice of their intention to vacate CFHA. If the occupant fails to provide the required written notice, the occupant will be charged for the full 30 days’ notice period unless a short-order posting message is provided to the HSC within 48 hours of receipt. The Occupant Handbook provides more details regarding the moving-out requirements.


We’ve heard your online presence has grown. What is now being done online?

The Agency is shifting to become more digital. New online forms have been published that streamline processes such as applying for housing and repair or maintenance requests. There is also a new online form that facilitates the occupant being able to advise their local HSC of an extended absence from their RHU. For emergency purposes, occupants are asked to arrange an individual to check on their RHU when they are away for more than 48 hours. Information on shelter charge updates is done regularly online and specific information is available on the number and types of RHUs at each site. The recently released Responsible Pet Ownership instruction can be found online along with the online exemption form for current occupants that exceed the new limit on pets.

CFHA has had a Twitter presence for a few years now where home maintenance tips and information is posted. Posts about new RHUs or updated CFHA policies are also placed on Twitter. Recently, CFHA has created a LinkedIn page where jobs openings are advertised and corporate information is posted.





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