The Government of Ontario recently introduced the Ontario Electricity Rebate, providing eligible customers with a 31.8% reduction on the pre-tax amount of their bill. The new rebate replaces the 25% Fair Hydro Plan subsidy and the 8% Provincial rebate.
Social housing providers with multi-unit complexes must provide notice to their local electricity utility by January 31, 2020 to receive the new rebate. Single-unit buildings will automatically receive the rebate.
Each local electricity utility has developed its own form of notice and procedures for submitting the notice. For information on eligibility and submitting a notice, social housing providers should contact their local electricity utility directly.
See this memo from the Ontario Energy Board for further details.
In 2019, we were pleased to continue the exchange of best practices and innovations on the revitalization of community housing with our fourth Regeneration Forum. We also held an exciting SHARE Innovation Forum in October, in partnership with Cahdco on new collaborations that are emerging in our sector, in Ottawa and elsewhere. Presentations and details on the latter event are now available on the SHARE website
We also hosted a webinar on understanding financial proformas, an essential skill for providers that seek to develop or redevelop their portfolios.
We are in the early planning stages for two events in 2020: one in partnership with NOSDA at their Annual General Meeting in Thunder Bay in June and another in the Fall once again in Ottawa, this time with Ottawa Community Housing. Stay tuned for more details.
Do you have an idea for a session? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestion!
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2019 marked the official launch of HSC Business Solutions. Though we’d taken on a variety of projects for Service Managers and housing providers in past years, this was the first year that we developed a cohesive offering with staff exclusively dedicated to projects relating to strategic planning, asset management, data analysis and financial modelling. Response to our services has been enthusiastic. Under the leadership of Judy Lightbound, the team has completed 28 projects in 2019 relating to:
We work collaboratively to ensure we meet your needs, providing practical and actionable plans.
In November, we were very pleased to add Tim Engert to our team as Manager, Business Analytics. He brings extensive experience in housing development, asset management, and financial management reporting. His skill sets align well with the work we are doing on capital planning, forecasting, analysis and management as well as drafting business case proposals for affordable housing developments.
As we move into 2020, we are seeing significant interest in asset management planning. The updates Service Managers are making to Housing and Homeless Plans indicate that many are interested in identifying strategies for the existing community housing stock. That includes both a review of the best use for existing units and building a strategy to develop new stock.
Do you have a project where we can help?
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Since my last update, we’ve published two issues of Energy Matters. Key highlights include:
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I’m pleased to say our natural gas program is delivering results – our rates for 2020 were the lowest in more than 10 years and beat out comparable municipal group buying programs.
In addition, LHCs enthusiastically responded to our options for fixed transportation costs, which often represent a significant portion of gas bills. Given that utility costs are the single largest operational expense for providers, clients will have opportunities to save even more under the HSC program.
In the past few years Brian Laur has struck fear in my heart by occasionally talking about retirement. 2020 was supposed to be the year but I’m pleased to say that I’ve been able to persuade him to defer that by taking on the role of Manager of Claims—see below. Given the turbulent insurance markets that we expect for another couple of years and the importance of insurance and risk mitigation to our sector, I and Sarah Baker, our Chief Operating Officer will take on direct oversight of the HSC Insurance Program—same program, same people as always.
As Manager of Claims, Brian will be doing what he loves most: working with providers to manage claims and delivering practical risk management workshops. I am thankful of Brian’s work in growing a successful program over the past seven years.
From here on in, if you have any inquiries about the program, please email email@example.com and we will make sure your question gets to the right person!
Premiums for the HSC Tenant Insurance Program are changing. The change applies to residents with new and renewing policies and will come into effect February 1, 2020. For most residents, the increase will be less than $2/month. HSC’s program still remains the lowest cost option in the marketplace, despite the current hard insurance market.
While we anticipate that this will be a smooth adjustment for most clients, we would like to flag to you an adjustment that will be required for OW/ODSP recipients that have payments for tenant insurance automatically deducted from their shelter allowance on a monthly basis. These clients will need to pass on their annual renewal notices to their caseworker, who will then need to have the monthly payment adjusted. This will start with clients whose insurance expires on January 31, 2020 and will complete with clients whose insurance expires on December 31, 2020.
Check out our Q4/2019 issue of Managing Risky Business. Key highlights include:
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In 2019, HSC Technical Services started on 14 new projects, providing assistance to organizations with limited in-house capacity to support capital projects. Clients included co-ops using the CHF Canada Refinancing Program, Service Managers and non-profits. HSC Technical Services also partnered with HSC Business Solutions on projects where the procurement, coordination and review of Business Condition Assessments was required – typically as part of a broader portfolio analysis.
Heading into 2020, we anticipate this type of work to continue. We also foresee that providers and Service Managers may seek the help of Technical Services in meeting requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and to bolster the climate change resilience of their portfolios.
In January 2020 we welcome Jim Scott to HSC as Technical Services Project Manager. Jim is a professional engineer and brings considerable expertise in energy conservation and building envelope technologies to his role. If you are a Technical Services’ client, you may see Jim alongside team manager, Jim Kroesen and senior project manager, Bill Bacon, as he gets to know our projects. Please join us in welcoming Jim to the team.
2019 was a historic year for affordable housing finance in Canada. We were finally able to launch the HPC Housing Investment Corporation (HIC), a lending entity made by the sector to meet sector-specific needs, and close a round of financing for two affordable housing developments.
If you have development ambitions to create new affordable housing, HIC would like to talk to you. The sooner you get things started the better. For more information about HIC, contact HIC’s Chief Underwriter, Joshua Broadhead at 778-452-6488 by clicking the button below
|Visit the HIC website||Contact Joshua Broadhead|
Since my last update, Encasa has simplified the naming of its funds and merged Series A (Ontario) and Series B (Canada-wide) units. Encasa staff have also:
In 2020, HSC will be partnering with Encasa to better meet the needs of Ontario housing providers. As part of this, we will be creating an HSC Encasa Customer Advisory Group (ECAG). If you would like to be a part of this group, please feel free to contact HSC’s Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Baker, at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Learn more about the Funds||Read Encasa’s December 2019 Market Commentary|
Since my last update, we continued our hands-on work in the sector:
|CEO Meetings & Presentations
||Insurance & Risk Management
||Asset Management & Renewal
If you have a project where you think HSC might be able to help, contact me.
Since the last time I wrote, we’ve had a few changes both in the sector and at HSC. At the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, I’d like to welcome Joshua Paul as ADM of the Housing Division and Peter Kiatipis as Director of the Community Housing Policy Branch. We also bid farewell to Keith Extance, who has retired from the Director of Housing Funding and Risk Management branch after a long career in housing. Congratulations to Catherine Matheson, who previously served on our board, and is now the CAO at District of Nipissing Social Services and Administration Board. Congratulations are also in order for Andy Blomberg who has been promoted to Director of Housing at Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board.
In York Region, we said goodbye to Rick Farrell in October and welcome to Kathy Milsom, who is the new General Manager of Housing Services and Housing York. At Peel Living, we say welcome to Andrea Warren as the new General Manager and goodbye to the retiring Dan Labreque. At the City of Toronto, we welcome Abigail Bond, who joins as the Executive Director of the Housing Secretariat, from the City of Vancouver replacing the outgoing Sean Gadon. We also say congratulations to Mary Anne Bedard who is now the General Manager of Shelter, Housing and Supports at the City of Toronto.
Finally we had some changes here at HSC. We said goodbye to Joanna Gage, Katherine Perrino-Smith and Louanne Keay since my last update. But we also welcomed Tim Engert, Jim Wilson and Sam Starkman. Tim and Jim I’ve mentioned earlier in this newsletter. Sam will be serving in a hybrid legal/business role, and comes to us from Gowlings WLG (a Canadian based international law firm), where he focused on real estate law for a wide range of clients. Sam will be helping us across our business lines and partnerships.
We wish everyone success on their new transitions!