Over 12,000 CAF Members Will Lose Canadian Military Housing Benefit Under New Policy: Federal Figures

Over 12,000 CAF Members Will Lose Canadian Military Housing Benefit Under New Policy: Federal Figures
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march in a parade in Calgary, Alta., in a file photo. (The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh)
Peter Wilson

Over 12,700 members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will lose a military housing benefit they previously received once a modified version of the policy comes into force in July, according to recent federal figures.

The Department of National Defence (DND) said in an Inquiry of Ministry tabled in the House of Commons on May 15 that new policies coming into force through the Canadian Forces Housing Differential (CFHD)—which the CAF announced in March—will see a number of military members have their previous housing allowance reduced to zero.

“How many service members or veterans will see a reduction in their housing allowance by the full amount?” asked an order paper question tabled by NDP MP Rachel Blaney on March 29.

The DND responded that as a result of the CFHD, over 12,700 CAF members would lose their housing allowance completely, 4,359 of whom are stationed at the Canadian Forces base near Quebec City-Valcartier and 2,810 in Edmonton.

The department also said that around 2,420 CAF members would see their housing allowance reduced by 75 percent because of the new policy, while just under 900 will see it cut by more than 50 percent.

The DND also projects that around 11,590 CAF members who weren’t previously eligible to receive the PLD will be able to receive the CFHD effective in July due to the policy change.

CAF members have previously received housing benefits through the Post Living Differential (PLD), the purpose of which CAF says is to reduce any negative financial impacts military members and their families might experience when posted to regions with higher costs of living than that of the “standard city,” using Ottawa and Gatineau as examples of standard cities.

The CFHD will replace the PLD as of July 1.

DND calls the CFHD “a sophisticated approach ... with the goal of assisting CAF members in adjusting to housing costs in different locations within Canada.”


CAF says the incoming policy’s aim is to ensure that military members “who are renting or purchasing primary residences on the economy will only pay 25% of their gross monthly salary towards their housing costs.”

The military adds that the CFHD will focus only on housing costs, while the PLD “was designed to account for many living expenses.”

CAF says a change was needed because the PLD model wasn’t providing assistance to the military members “who actually needed it.”

It adds that the CFHD will take into account the “diverse intersectional identities” of military members when determining their housing differential monthly rates.

CAF says that CFHD eligibility will be “based on a small handful of very specific factors,” which includes a military member’s salary, whether they share their primary residence with other CAF members, and their location of duty rather than the location of their residence.
The Canadian military has recently been experiencing increased attrition and lower retention rates compared to previous years.

However, DND told The Epoch Times that it has not yet collected or seen any data suggesting the new housing differential policy is driving CAF members to file for release.

“We [DND] also don’t necessarily centrally track the reason for CAF members wanting to release, at least not over the course of such a short period of time,” a DND spokesperson said.