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HSC Happenings: November 2016


November 2016 issue:

  • Energy Services: Read about our redesigned gas program; our October Energy Forum; Community Champion Program case studies and the forthcoming Energy Services eNewsletter.
  • Insurance & Risk Management: Brief updates on the group insurance renewal; our new premium financing option; our first-ever Risk Forum and the webinar we delivered on Directors’ and Officers’ risk.
  • Asset Management & Renewal: Materials from our autumn SHARE sessions; update on HSC’s EOA Services and how Technical Services can help you successfully deliver your SHIP project.
  • Information & Technology Services: HSC InSite is catching on. Read about the organizations who have recently come on to the system.
  • Community & Business Partnerships: Read about the study tour to the UK CIH Canada is co-hosting and its current offerings as well as our work in supporting Housing Partnership Canada’s Housing Bank.
  • @HSC: Where we’ve been over the past few months and comings and goings at HSC and in the sector.

[download/view this update as a PDF]


Energy Services

Lower Prices, More Client Input: HSC’s Redesigned Gas Program

HSC’s redesigned gas program is here! In late May, the program’s stakeholder advisory committee met for the first time to discuss the new shape of the program and to exchange ideas. The advisory committee consists of:

  • Andy Blomberg, Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board
  • Sean Botham, CityHousing Hamilton
  • Dan Dicaire, Ottawa Community Housing
  • Hans Kogel, Windsor-Essex Community Housing
  • Jim Kroesen, City of Toronto
  • Kelly Miller, Housing York
  • Peter Robinson, Peterborough Housing
  • Don White, Niagara Region Housing
  • Fred Zhang, Toronto Community Housing
  • Ken Ranta, Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board

The goal of the committee is to ensure that the program is reflective of client needs. It will also help us find the best ways of supporting them in their conservation efforts.

In June, clients were introduced to a new suite of purchasing options for 2017, which featured a 20% reduction in administration fees as well as variable and fixed price options. As a result of the redesign, most clients will see savings of up to 11% in 2017. Customers will realize further savings in 2018 and 2019.

Response to the program changes has been overwhelmingly positive– with lower fees, integrated tools like UMP and Community Champions, and the focus on mobilizing the group to advocate on provincial policy and exchange conservation best practices.


Energy Forum – A Smashing Success

On October 27, nearly 100 housing professionals from across Ontario participated in the 2016 HSC Energy Forum at the Holiday Inn Toronto-Yorkdale. The event provided an opportunity to share ideas and strategies to reduce energy consumption in Ontario’s social housing buildings. Through support from our sponsors and speakers, attendees examined the role of resident engagement, readiness for funding opportunities and new innovations in energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

wong_at_ef grover_small ker_small
Howie Wong welcomes participants Hemant Grover on Peel Region’s experiences
with resident engagement
Lisa Ker speaks about Ottawa Salus’
passive house project
Read more and view the presentations



How HSC’s Community Champion Program Can Help You

Providers across Ontario never cease to amaze us with their innovative approaches to conservation and environmental sustainability. This has demonstrated itself in how they have utilized our Community Champion Program (CCP) to drive results and improve community cohesion. CCP takes staff and residents through a process of understanding and getting involved in conservation. The program is available at no cost to providers in HSC’s Gas Program. To help people understand the flexibility of the program, we’ve started to create a series of case studies on how providers have used it. I encourage you to read the first two and to stay tuned for future case studies!

Read about York Region and CCP Read about Mimico Cooperative Homes and CCP


Energy Services: The Newsletter

As part of the redesign of HSC Energy Services, we’re changing the way this unit communicates with clients. Our new advisory committee, which will help drive our service offerings and program features, represents one element of this change. Another element involves rethinking our quarterly notifications to participants in the Utility Management Program.

Starting in January, these notifications will become a full-fledged quarterly newsletter – featuring policy updates, trends and developments in the utilities marketplace, sector approaches to conservation and more.

While participants in our energy services are our intended audiences and will be automatically added to our mailing list, anyone who’s interested in conservation is welcome to subscribe!

Subscribe to our Energy Newsletter

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Insurance & Risk Management Update

Our next issue of Managing Risky Business will be out shortly, providing details on renewals, new coverages and our plans for the program in 2017. In the meantime, here are a couple of previews (spoiler alert!):

riskforum1-mailchimpKim Hodder from Supportive Housing of Waterloo discusses best practices for dealing with hoarding at the 2016 Risk Management Forum
  • Renewal results for 2017: I’m pleased to report that overall this has been a successful insurance renewal. Together, we’ve managed to hold the group premium at the same level for the past two years and offer improved coverage. Our additional living expense coverage – the coverage that pays for tenant accommodations and meals in the event of a disaster that requires them to leave their home – has more than doubled from $1M per claim to $2.5M.
  • Premium Financing: HSC now offers providers the ability to spread out their insurance payments rather than having to pay in a single lump sum. For more information, contact our insurance team at
  • Risk Data to Service Managers: HSC believes that Service Managers are uniquely positioned to play an important role in improving the safety of social housing communities and supporting practical risk management. Therefore, we are starting to work with our Service Manager Advisory Group to pilot the development of risk metrics for Service Managers across Ontario. The goal is to better pinpoint and address risk areas and to assist in developing plans for mitigating them.
  • Risk Management Forum: On October 26, HSC held its first Insurance & Risk Management Forum! The event was a great success and left both attendees and staff feeling energized. Speakers discussed claims and risk management, shared their experiences and best practices.
  • Webinar on Directors’ and Officers’ Risk: On November 2, HSC’s Director and Manager of Insurance led a SHARE webinar on governance risk — that is, the risks and obligations associated with overseeing a housing organization. To view the webinar, click here.


View the previous issue of Managing Risky Business

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Asset Management & Renewal

SHARE Webinar & Event Materials Online


There was a full house at our Ottawa SHARE event on affordable housing development. Thanks to Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation for hosting!

Since my last update in May and our Regeneration Forum, we’ve held a number of events. Materials for the following events are now available online:

HSC holds SHARE events across Ontario to ensure most housing sector professionals have access to them. Interested in co-hosting a SHARE event in your area? Contact us!


EOA Services

HSC has been working with several Service Managers on portfolio planning after the expiry of operating agreements – including training for Niagara housing providers, discussions with the City of Toronto as well as forthcoming discussions with the City of Peterborough and Peel Region. Recently, our work with staff at the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville got some profile when recommendations were presented to the Counties Council. You can read the story in the Brockville Recorder here.

Read more about HSC EOA Services


Need help with your Social Housing Improvement Program (SHIP) project?

As the deadline to commit to SHIP projects approaches, housing providers are getting word from their Service Managers about their submissions. Have you received funding and need help with program delivery? Consider HSC Technical Services. Tech Services serves as an Owner’s Advocate, working in the best interest of the housing provider to ensure that projects meet capital requirements; contractors are held accountable, and projects are delivered on time and on budget.

Learn more about how we can help with SHIP

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Information Technology Services


HSC InSite

When considering a property management and accounting solution, providers are seeing the value of HSC’s hands-on support and knowledge of housing management and administration. InSite is helping providers save time and improve service by integrating resident, maintenance and financial management across an organization-wide platform.

Clients using InSite currently include:

  • Durham Region Non Profit
  • Georgian Bay Native Non-Profit Homes/Parry Sound Non Profit Housing
  • Gloucester Housing Corporation
  • Nipissing District Housing Corporation
  • Summit Housing and Outreach Programs

Our largest client, London Housing Corporation, has nearly completed their implementation. We’re also pleased to welcome, our newest client, St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Centre, in Toronto to InSite!

InSite isn’t for all providers, but for many – especially if you lack in-house IT expertise – it’s a great fit. We’re happy discuss your IT needs to see if InSite is right for you.

Find out more about InSite

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Community & Business Partnerships


CIH Canada

CIH Canada is coming off a busy Fall, with member meetings in Alberta, Ontario and BC, as well as numerous webinars and courses. On January 25, it will hold another web-based member meeting on January 25 from 1 to 2pm EST, which will summarize feedback received to date and provide members another chance to share thoughts and ideas for the direction of CIH Canada.

CIH Canada is also organizing a UK Study Tour with CHF Canada, to take place in June 2017. You can find more information here. Finally, it’s not too late to register for upcoming CIH Canada courses:

CIH Canada is also now accepting applicants with significant experience and knowledge in housing and management for its Experienced Professional Route. Completing this route will enable participants to obtain their Chartered Designation by submitting a written assignment and completing a professional interview rather than completing online courses. The registration deadline is January 26 with a start date of February 16.

Find out more about the Experienced Professional Route


Housing Partnership Canada


HSC, alongside other members of Housing Partnership Canada, has continued efforts to raise awareness and garner support for the sector bank (now officially known as the Canada Housing Finance Authority or CHFA).

Response has been overwhelmingly positive. We were also pleased that a dedicated lending institution was in submissions on the National Housing Strategy from the Province of Ontario, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association, Maytree, the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, and the National Housing Collaborative.

Over the coming months, we will continue advocate for its inclusion in the National Housing Strategy with the help of our sector partners.

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Since my last update back in May, HSC has continued its hands-on work with the sector. Here are just some of the meetings we’ve had with clients and key stakeholders:

CEO Meetings & Presentations

  • CEO presentations to Service Manager staff in Ottawa, Niagara, Brantford, Thunder Bay and Sudbury; Urban Commissioners; North-West LHINs Health & Housing Forum; Housing Partnership Network; the provincial NDP Energy Critic; North-East LHINs and NOSDA Forum; Options for Homes and Habitat for Humanity; the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the OMSSA Board
  • Presentations to Municipal and Regional Chairs of Ontario; Canadian Housing Renewal Association Congress Aboriginal Caucus; Provincial-Territorial Deputy Ministers Forum on Housing; Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Participation in Sector Meetings & Events

  • Participation in OMSSA Service Manager Housing Network; LHC forum meetings; the Central-East Service Manager meeting; the Ministry of Housing Vibrant Non-Profit Working Group; HSC’s Service Manager Advisory Committee and the National Housing Collaborative consultations
  • Attendance at events including the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association AGM; International Housing Partnership Leadership Exchange; a meeting of the Housing Partnership Canada; the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada’s AGM; the North-West LHINs Health and Housing Forum; the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association’s conference
Energy Services

  • Energy Services meetings with its stakeholder advisory committee and Union Gas; participation in Ministry of Energy Long-Term Energy Plan consultations as well as meeting with providers during the HSC Energy Forum
  • Community Champion Program sessions in buildings in Dufferin County, Thunder Bay, Timmins, York Region, Peel Region as well as participation in the City of Toronto’s Neighbourhood Renewal group
Insurance & Risk Management

  • Meetings on insurance, claims and risk management with insurance underwriters; providers in York Region, Simcoe County, Windsor, Hamilton, Toronto and Thunder Bay as well as meeting with providers during the HSC Risk Forum
Asset Management & Renewal

  • EOA: Supporting the Service Manager Housing Network EOA Working Group to develop the Service Manager EOA Toolkit; discussions with Niagara Region; training for providers in Kawartha Lakes; presentation to Leeds and Grenville Counties Council; participation in City of Toronto EOA Forum
  • Technical Services project meetings in Mississauga, Kirkland Lake, Ottawa, Kitchener, Cambridge, Toronto, Newmarket, Sudbury, Kincardine, Hanmer, Parry Sound, Chatham, North Bay, Rainy River and New Liskard as well as in Nova Scotia with co-op providers in Halifax, Dartmouth, Chester and Digby


HSC staff has been making a tremendous effort to reach and support clients – with our events, face-to-face outreach and program-related advice and guidance. I’d also like to thank the HSC staff that assisted in organizing the International Housing Partnership pre-conference study tour in Montreal.

insitescreensScott Robertson poses for a photo with former HSC Chair Merv Hughes at our 2016 ONPHA tradeshow booth

One final item I wanted to recognize also relates to HSC staff. Back in 2015, HSC updated its HR policies to allow staff a day for volunteering to do community service each year. At a recent HSC town hall meeting, we heard about how HSC Business Development and Relationship Manager Scott Robertson spent his volunteer time. Scott volunteers with a local organization that helps people with intellectual disabilities. This group partnered with a private developer and provided input on an IAH application. The private developer was successful and received funding for Sidney Place, a 26 unit complex in Belleville with 16 affordable units including 10 supportive housing units for people with intellectual disabilities. The application resulted in $1.38M in provincial funding! Congratulations Sidney Place and thank you Scott for your valuable contribution to our housing community!

We want to meet you! Contact one of our program specialists today.


Comings & Goings

Finally, some sector welcomes and goodbyes. Since my last update, we’ve had several new Service Managers to welcome: Julie Western Set (Director of Housing Services for the City of Hamilton), Arfona Zwiers (Director, Social Housing, County of Simcoe), John Connolly (Director, Housing Services, Durham Region); Rebecca Morgan Quinn (Manager, Housing Division, City of Peterborough) and Rebecca Carman (Housing Services Manager, Northumberland County). We also welcome Deborah Filice (Acting CEO, Haldimand-Norfolk Housing). In London, we congratulate Josh Browne (CEO of London Middlesex Housing), Stephen Giustizia (CEO, City of London Housing Development Corporation) and Dave Purdy (Manager, Housing Services). Welcome also to Elisa McFarlane, who recently joined OMSSA as Interim Executive Director.

During this time, we’ve also had some retirements – we say goodbye and thank you to Stephen Arbuckle (City of Ottawa), Denis Desmeules (City of Greater Sudbury) and Christine Brutin (Haldimand Norfolk Housing Corporation).

Here at HSC, there have been a few developments. We said goodbye to Rachel Yang and Adwoa Afful. And in June, Lisa Oliveira was promoted to Program Manager, Strategic Asset Renewal Initiatives. In November, we welcomed Sheida Shoai to our Technical Services team as a Project Manager. Finally, HSC’s board member, Catherine Matheson, recently returned from her secondment at the North-East LHIN to her position as the City of Greater Sudbury’s General Manager of Community Development.

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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