Changes to Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive

On July 8, 2023,  the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Committee (the Committee) finalized its revised methodology for the calculation of the Shelter Cost Differential (SCD) contained in the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive (IPGHD)

Since 2013, the Committee's methodology involved adjusting the SCD rate annually, proportionally with increases to the territorial Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The purpose of the SCD is to provide an allowance to employees who are at an isolated post where the cost of renting private accommodation or government housing is higher than the national average threshold. However, as of August 1, 2023, the revised methodology for the calculation of the SCD came into effect. 

What does this mean for you?

There are now 20 qualifying locations instead of 5 and the same methodology has been applied to all locations. Once a location qualifies, the rate will be adjusted annually by the provincial or territorial Consumer Price Index (CPI), as application, until the next Census results are available. 

For employees in locations where the SCD rate is decreasing (Inuvik, Iqaluit, and Yellowknife), or who will no longer be eligible to receive the SCD (Norman Wells), transitional provisions for the reductions have been put in place

Employees who were receiving the SCD at a location which no longer qualifies or if the rate is decreasing will continue to receive the August 1, 2022 amount until December 1, 2023.  On December 1, the amount will decrease by 50% of the amount of the decrease and on September 1, 2024, the amount will decrease by the other 50%. 

If there are any changes to your allowance, the employer should provide you with written notification. This is in accordance with subsection 2.13.2 of the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive (IPGHD).

Can I file a grievance? 

Because the SCD calculation and other changes made to the IPGHD are agreed upon through the National Joint Council, the changes cannot be grieved as long as they respect the directive. 

More information or questions?

For other questions, we encourage you to review the FAQ below and visit the following links: New Shelter Cost Differential (SCD) Methodology - Highlights of Changes - IPGHD – August 1, 2023

Revised Methodology for the Shelter Cost Differential (SCD) - FAQ - August 1, 2023

We also encourage you to look at our FAQs below.

Members can also contact their local PIPSC steward if they have any questions.


How will it be determined if I’m entitled to SCD?

The Committee now first looks at the average rent for three-bedroom accommodation at the point of departure. According to the Directive, the point of departure is "Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Moncton, Halifax, or St. John's, whichever of these places is the nearest to the headquarters of an employee by the most practical route and means of transportation." 


Employees are only entitled to SCD if the average monthly rent for a 3-bedroom accommodation in the isolated post is higher than their national average threshold, which is the average cost of a 3-bedroom accommodation at the employee's point of departure, plus 15% (based on 2021 censuses).

I am a homeowner and not a renter, how will this impact me?

Some departments have been asking employees to indicate whether they own or rent their accommodations. The IPHD’s provisions do NOT indicate that the SCD is only payable to those who rent. As such, PIPSC will continue to consult on the issue in the interest of both homeowners and renters. 

If you are a homeowner and do not receive your allowance as a result, please contact your steward. We will determine whether a grievance is appropriate on a case by case basis.

How will I know if my SCD will be reduced?

If there are any changes to your allowance, the employer should provide you with written notification. This is in accordance with subsection 2.13.2 of the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive (IPGHD). Any reduction will be done gradually through a transition period starting December 1, 2023.

Why can’t I file a grievance?

The changes were made through consultation at the National Joint Council (equal parts employer and bargaining unit, including PIPSC). The bargaining agent side representatives (including us and the PSAC) unanimously endorsed the new methodology, and the calculations must be done in accordance with the methodology. This was driven by data leading to  entitlements in 14 additional communities. Therefore, if the changes affecting you are as a result of the application of the new directive, they are unlikely to be grievable.  

When the change takes full effect on December 1, 2023, review your pay carefully. If you believe the calculations are incorrect or inaccurately applied, please consult your local PIPSC steward. This applies equally to renters and homeowners.

Where can I find the IPGHD allowances?