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HSC Happenings: August 2018

september 2017 newsletter

August 2018:

  • Energy Services: Learn about UMP Generation 2, our work with our gas clients and read articles from the latest issue of Energy Matters.
  • Insurance & Risk Management: Get an update on the state of our group program, watch a video on a recent catastrophic fire at Barrie Housing, read articles on risk management and learn about our first bulk tenant insurance client
  • Asset Management & Renewal: Updates on Technical Service and our work with Service Managers and providers on EOA and Asset Management Services. Get resources from past SHARE events, sign up for our upcoming webinar on the Portable Housing Benefit. Learn about the theme for our 2019 Regeneration Forum and our event streams.
  • Community & Business Partnerships: Read about how the sector bank is progressing; our work with NOSDA on insurance; and how we’re helping sector organizations meet business gaps. Also, the Housing Partnership Canada business transformation study is now available. Read about what it is and its key findings.
  • @HSC: Where we’ve been over the past few months and comings and goings at HSC and in the sector.

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Energy Services

Since my last update, HSC has offered LHC gas clients two opportunities to make purchases. Due to production growth and storage inventories in Western Canada, which resulted in historic low prices, we offered an early bird purchasing round in the Spring. We then offered a second opportunity to make purchases at our usual time in the year, in June.

Taking a more dynamic approach to purchasing, along with reducing our admin fees by 60%, has meant that HSC’s pricing is now fully price competitive with all other group programs. In addition, clients benefit from tremendous housing-specific value-adds not available elsewhere to help control energy consumption, such as our Community Champion and Utility Management Programs.

We’ve also been working on improving our Utility Management Program (UMP), our energy dashboard. UMP Generation 2 will use EnergyCAP software to benchmark and track utility usage. More than 3,000 organizations across North America use EnergyCAP, including many municipalities and housing organizations.

Users will be able to log-in to get a snapshot of their energy performance at any time. They will be able to customize their own energy dashboard. They’ll also be able to drill down to see how each building in their portfolio is using energy and water and run custom reports.

We look forward to bringing you a new and improved UMP Generation 2. If you’d like more information, contact

Energy Matters newsletter

Our next Energy Matters newsletter is coming out shortly. In the meantime, if you didn’t catch our June issue, key highlights include:

Read the June 2018 issue of Energy Matters Subscribe to the Energy Matters newsletter

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Insurance & Risk Management

2018 continues to be a particularly challenging year for claims to our program. Due to extreme weather events, providers have made a number of wind and flooding claims in recent months. In addition, we’ve had several major fire claims. The video below tells the story of one of these major claims, where thankfully there was no loss of life:

Given the challenges of the year, as well as the global state of the property insurance and reinsurance market overall, we received a much more muted response from underwriters in our annual renewal meetings. At this point, it’s unclear how this will impact the group premium. Much will depend on what happens with claims in the months to come.

That said, it’s important to emphasize that the program is fundamentally sound: our group of providers are committed to active risk management and support the inclusive values of the program. And the program structure we have put in place reduces our exposure to the volatility of the insurance marketplace; has returned dollars to providers; has kept claims costs down through active management; and funds the creation and delivery of other risk supports.

You can read more in Brian Laur’s most recent quarterly update, which featured stories on:

View the Q2/2018 issue of Managing Risky Business Subscribe to Managing Risky Business

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Asset Management & Renewal

Technical Services

Back in 2014, HSC Technical Services partnered with CHF Canada on a six-week job to deliver a series of reports on 28 housing cooperatives across Nova Scotia. This short-term stint subsequently blossomed into a four-year partnership to provide oversight on 24 capital repair projects to 20 Nova Scotia co-ops under the Province of Nova Scotia’s Social Housing Assistance Repair Program.

Work in Nova Scotia is winding down and our projects there will wrap up over the next few weeks. We are grateful to both CHF Canada and Nova Scotia cooperatives for the opportunity to work together. Meanwhile, here in Ontario, we’re pleased to have recently picked up Technical Services projects in Peterborough, North Bay, Kirkland Lake, Clinton and Toronto.

Do you need help with a capital repair you’re planning? Contact us!

Download our Technical Services brochure


EOA Services & Asset Management

In recent months, we’ve been delivering our EOA workshop sessions to providers and their Boards and undertaking post-EOA scenario-building and financial modeling for a number of Service Managers, including Parry Sound, Thunder Bay and Kenora DSSABs. In Kenora, a team of HSC staff spent a week travelling through the District, meeting one-on-one with housing providers to review financial scenarios and planning tools to support them through EOA. This summer, we also undertook an interactive EOA planning session with housing provider staff and Board members in the District of Thunder Bay to build their capacity to plan for their future.

With both EOA and the new municipal asset management planning regulation, Service Managers are also using HSC to help evaluate their portfolios for opportunities to unlock the potential in their housing stock. We are currently working with the City of Kawartha Lakes on their housing asset management plan and housing master plan. And in late 2017, we worked with Thunder Bay DSSAB on a study to determine the highest and best use of a site in their portfolio.

Do you need help on next steps? We can help. Contact Judy Lightbound for details.

Download our EOA Services brochure Download our Asset Management Support Services brochure



Since my last update, HSC has held a number of SHARE webinars and a full-day, in-person innovation event in partnership with the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA) entitled Rethinking Housing for Better Outcomes in Northern Ontario.

Resources associated with our earlier 2018 webinars are available online at the links below:

We also have a SHARE webinar scheduled for the fall:

Transforming the Thinking: Portable Housing Benefit
September 12, 2018 | 12:30 to 1:30 EST | Cost: FREE

This is an opportunity to learn about the innovative thinking, approach and implementation strategy being piloted by the City of Kingston to evaluate both the tenancy and the administration outcomes of the portable housing benefit.

Read more and register now


2019 Regeneration Forum: Roadmap to Development

The next HSC Regeneration Forum will be held on March 25 and 26, 2019 at the Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in downtown Toronto.

The theme for 2019 is Roadmap to Development. Based on consultations with the sector, we have structured the event to address three key elements that support regeneration and development: planning, execution and design. The Forum will include sessions on the practical how-tos of development as well as ones that focus on strategic visioning to support creating healthy and vibrant communities. Our event is also a great opportunity to network with experts and practitioners from across Canada.

We will be launching our event website in September. In the meantime, I’d encourage prospective sponsors to secure their spots – opportunities are moving quickly. If you wish to be included in our forum mailing list to be notified about event updates, please click on the button below (please note: if you have already receive SHARE notifications, you don’t need to sign up again).

Get added to the Regeneration Forum Mailing List Contact us for sponsorship opportunities View material from previous Regeneration Forums

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Community & Business Partnerships

Sector Bank Update

Over the past few years, I’ve been working with Housing Partnership Canada, more specifically with Manitoba Housing and BC Housing, on developing a sector bank given the challenges Canadian providers have had in accessing long-term financing. We’ve made considerable progress.

The HPC Housing Investment Corporation (HIC) is now a reality – having moved from an initial feasibility study to laying the groundwork for a first round of borrowing in late Fall 2018. We are now completing the preparations for completing financing for approximately $150M for projects in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario – having recently retained a credit rating agency and landed a pair of underwriters to co-lead its work in the capital markets, TD Securities and Scotiabank.

HIC has also hired a Chief Financial Officer, Alfred Chuang. Alfred has over 15 years of experience in finance and has worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and most recently, OMERS. His roles have involved working in investment structuring and operations in private investments, investment governance, tax and audit and fraud investigation. At OMERS, he lead the Private Markets Finance Team to being an effective partner by supporting operational requirements in the business.

I’ve been pleased with the reception HIC has been receiving from providers, as I’ve been travelling the Province to drum up borrowers and projects for the next round of financing. In June, I was pleased to receive some ‘fan mail’ on the sector bank from Pat Thomson at Thorold Municipal Non-Profit Housing, which is looking to sell 31 units to finance a new build. He writes I think what you and your team have done with HIC is fantastic. Anyone who has tried to source funding for social housing development will recognize that HIC is re-writing the book for all of us.

HIC recently launched a website. To find out more, visit


Work with NOSDA on DSSAB Insurance

This year, representatives from NOSDA joined us for our underwriter meetings in London to present on a proposal for a new integrated group risk management insurance program, exclusive to NOSDA members. In addition to the existing insurance coverage for their social housing stock, this initiative would see coverage expanded to all services these northern municipal organizations provide, including social services, children’s services and emergency medical services.


HSC Help on Projects: Our Work with OMSSA and London’s Housing Development Corporation

For several years now, HSC has been working behind the scenes with a number of housing providers and Service Managers on small projects where our clients need help that they can’t find easily internally or where the job’s too small for a consultant.

Recently, we’ve been helping on strategic planning and facilitating discussions. The Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) and London’s Housing Development Corporation (HDC) recently engaged HSC for these types of services.

That’s because in recent years we’ve developed expertise in LEAN process improvement and navigating and communicating change – as a result of our own business transformation and the redesign of our core business lines. HSC staff is also equipped with a unique perspective, as a result of our work in the sector, which involves understanding and balancing the business needs of both housing providers and Service Managers and having a macro view on the sector.

We were recently asked by the HDC to assist with the development of their 2019-2023 Strategic Plan, engaging stakeholders and creating materials to communicate their plan – after having initially worked with the organization supporting their unique approach to procurement relating to housing development. HSC also assisted OMSSA with facilitating group discussion at its Social Housing Summit, utilizing our in-house knowledge of sector initiatives, legislation and policy directions. We focus on smaller, discrete projects — where you might hire an external facilitator or consultant. We see these projects as opportunities to provide much needed capacity and deepen our staff’s knowledge of housing in areas outside our core business. In exchange, we offer broad sector knowledge, domain expertise in our core business areas, and expertise in a wide range of functional areas of business at affordable billing rates.

If you have a project where you think HSC might be able to help, contact me.


Business Transformation Study Now Available!

Housing Partnership Canada’s new study, Skillsets and Core Competencies to Facilitate Business Transformation in the Non-Profit Community Housing Sector, is now available. This research is the most comprehensive study of its kind and the first in Canada to bring together evidence and profile change in our sector in the last two decades.

This study addresses how leading non-profit housing organizations in Canada community housing sector are transforming the ways in which they adjust business practices and invest in organizational development to ‘future proof’ their business’. The findings from this study provide tangible and replicable strategies that the sector can use to support its strategic planning and future visioning for achieving long-term sustainability.

HSC participated in the research working group and prepared the implication for practice report to support the study findings. We also co-hosted a SHARE webinar to disseminate the findings.


View the report, its implications and the research bulletin View the SHARE webinar on the report Join the SHARE mailing list

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Since our last update, we continued our hands-on work in the sector:

CEO Meetings & Presentations

  • CEO meetings with the HSC, HSC Insurance and Encasa boards; check-in meetings with Niagara Regional Housing and City of Ottawa; underwriter meetings for the group insurance program
  • Attendance at meetings of HSC’s Service Manager Advisory Committee, the Local Housing Corporation Forum
  • Presentations at Canadian Housing Renewal Association conference; NOSDA-SHARE innovation event; attendance at the CHF Canada AGM
Energy Services

  • Meetings with Local Housing Corporations on gas purchasing for 2019 and beyond
  • Community Champions workshop in York Region
Insurance & Risk Management

  • Underwriter meetings for the group program
  • Insurance claims meetings with providers in Barrie, Windsor, Ottawa and London
  • Presentations to providers in Sudbury and Grey County on tenant insurance, directors’ and officers’ risk and cannabis; risk management workshops in Smiths Falls, Simcoe County
Asset Management & Renewal

  • Technical Services project meetings with providers in North Bay, Kawartha Lakes, Toronto, Niagara, Sudbury and Huron County
  • Meetings with City of Kawartha Lakes, Thunder Bay DSSAB on asset management planning
  • Asset Planner training for Renfrew County
  • EOA workshops and discussions with providers in Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay

We also published our 2017 Annual Report, which is available on our website.

Recent Photos:

August 2018 CEO Update

Comings & Goings

CHF Canada has been at the centre of a number of comings and goings since my last update. I’d like to congratulate Tim Ross on becoming Executive Director and thank Karla Skoutajan for her service as interim Executive Director —I look forward to her continuing role as a fellow Encasa board member. I’d also like to acknowledge Patricia Tessier, who recently became CHF Canada’s Director of Member Services, after several years as Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness at Ottawa Community Housing and on the HSC-hosted Local Housing Corporation Forum. And welcome to Alfred Chuang, who joins the HPC Housing Investment Corporation and the sector as Chief Financial Officer after having spent the bulk of his career in investment banking.

I’d also like to welcome Steve Clarke, MPP for Leeds-Grenville, who in June became our new Ontario Minister of Housing. Congratulations to Donna Woiceshyn, who recently moved from being interim to permanent CEO of Niagara Regional Housing. I’d also like to congratulate Thunder Bay District Social Services Board (TBDSSAB) and our chair, TBDSSAB CEO Bill Bradica, on the recognition of their high-needs homelessness initiative with an OMSSA Local Municipal Champions Award. I’d also like to recognize and thank Chris Stewart, who is retiring from his role as Executive Coordinator at NOSDA in which he played a vital role in fostering the growth of HSC’s partnership with NOSDA and its members.

There are a few updates relating to the committees we convene and administer:

  • Service Manager Advisory Committee: Micheal Miller (Director, Housing Servies, Cochrane DSSAB) is replacing Brian Marks (CAO, Cochrane DSSAB) on this group. We welcome Michael and thank Brian for his time and dedication as both a member and Chair of SMAC. The committee is now moving to a revolving Chair with Stephen Giustizia (CEO, London Housing Development Corporation) starting things off.
  • Local Housing Corporation Forum: We say goodbye to Patricia Tessier (see above) and welcome Michael Wilson (Vice President, Organizational Effectiveness) from Ottawa Community Housing.
  • Service Manager Housing Company Network: This comparatively new group comprises of representatives local housing corporations that operate within a municipal structure. We recently welcomed Deb Schlichter (Director of Housing, Waterloo) and Donna Woiceshyn (CEO, Niagara Regional Housing) to the group.

Dr. Gordon Chong in 2007

Here at HSC, I’d like to acknowledge and thank all our staff for their efforts in our 2018 giving campaign. This year staff voted to help Elizabeth Fry Kingston, a participant in the Group Insurance and Investment Programs. HSC employees raised a total of $930. HSC insurance program partners, FirstOnSite Restoration and Crawford and Company, also contributed $805 and $250 respectively for a grand total of almost $2,000!

On an individual level, congratulations are due to Clinton Reid for his appointment as Second Vice-President for CHF Canada’s Ontario Region. I’d also like to welcome Jim Kroesen, who joins us from the City of Toronto Social Housing Unit as HSC’s new Technical Services Department Manager. Welcome back to Lisa Kotsopoulos and Helen Hassard, who are returning to us from parental leave. Since my last update, we also said goodbye and thank you to our two Technical Services project managers in Nova Scotia, Jason Craig and Scott Coleman, who were instrumental in the success of our work there. I’d also like to acknowledge Paul Speck, who is retiring this month after having worked on HSC’s group insurance program on behalf of Aon and Marsh pretty much from its inception. We welcome Barbara Anne Vaspori, who is taking over from Paul.

Finally in mid-July, I learnt of the death of Dr. Gordon Chong, SHSC’s founding Chair. Gordon had a long and storied life and career – as a dentist, a politician, a columnist and a contributor to the community. He was a tireless advocate for social and affordable housing in Toronto and around the Province. I met Gordon many years ago when we were both avid runners at the Central YMCA in Toronto. Little did I know at the time that I’d lead the organization that he’d helped lift off the ground. I am thankful for his contributions to our sector.


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[view previous CEO Updates]


Call Me Maybe
One Life
Turn Me On
Glad You Came
Rack City
Stand Behind The Music
Ninjas in Paris
What Makes You Beautiful
The Motto
Wild Ones
Turn Up The Music
Middle Finger
Sorry For Party Rocking
Is Anybody Out There?
Safe and Sound