- HSC’s 2023-2027 Strategic Plan: We launched our new strategic plan earlier this year. Learn about how we created it and view our blueprint for the next five years.
- Webinars: Read about webinars we have coming up and check out recordings of earlier sessions.
- Bringing Stakeholders Together and Connecting with Clients: Learn about information exchanges we are facilitating to foster discussion on supportive housing and managing emerging risks.
- Program Updates and Newsletter Highlights: Updates on our Gas and Insurance programs as well as the best of our recent issues of Managing Risky Business and Energy Matters.
- Update on IDEA at HSC: In 2022, we launched an initiative to deliberately embed Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) principles into our programs, policies and workplace. Find out about our activities to date.
- Encasa’s New Investment Product: the High Interest Savings Account: In response to feedback from its clients, Encasa Financial recently added a new investment option. Learn about it and get the latest market commentary.
- Comings and Goings: Sector people on the move.
HSC’s 2023-2027 Strategic Plan
Over the course of 2022, HSC performed consultations with our staff, advisory groups, clients, stakeholders and board on how we should proceed as an organization over the next five years. We received helpful insight into what was important to each of these groups; what we are doing right; where we can do better; and their views on the sector’s changing needs as well as those affecting our world as a whole (such as climate change, new technologies and emerging ESG frameworks for business).
The result is our new Strategic Plan. I would like to thank those who shared their insight into how we can continue to build an organization that remains relevant and responsive to the needs of our sector. I am proud of what we have arrived at and feel that the plan accurately reflects the priorities of the sector and where HSC will have opportunities to help sustain the asset; build sector capacity; manage sector risk; and increase the supply of safe and affordable housing.
One of the key elements of our 2023-2027 Strategic Plan is to promote a networked sector. And a critical element of how we do this is to put on regular events that allow Ontario community/affordable housing providers to hear from colleagues across the province, Canada and internationally. Our webinars enable all providers to have access to this information, regardless of where they are located. We also endeavour to make them available at any time by publishing recordings on our website.
- Creating an Effective Contingency Plan (multiple dates: July 11; September 21; November 7)
- Preventing Internal Crime In Your Organization, June 7, 2PM
- Organizational Compass: Free Tool to Guide Providers towards Sustainability
- Fire Safety & Prevention: Managing Tenant-Related Risk
- Enbridge Gas Incentive Programs for Affordable Housing
- Getting Shovel Ready: Pre-Development Considerations When Planning A New Build
- Improving Your Risk Profile With HSC’s New Risk Rating Tool And Claims Management Best Practices
- Affordable Housing Development 101
Bringing Stakeholders Together and Connecting with Clients
Stream B Insurance Event
In my last newsletter, I mentioned two of the stakeholder groups that make up part of HSC’s network and how they help shape our program. Since then, we brought together another group of clients: our Insurance Program’s Stream B providers.
Stream B is comprised of the largest of Ontario’s community housing providers; each has property values over $100M, with developments spread across hundreds of sites. They own and operate approximately $19B in insured assets, and represent roughly 52% of the total program. Their scale and performance have tremendous influences on the program – on one hand, it helps bolster the ‘power of the group’ when it comes to negotiations with underwriters but on the other, it increases the likelihood of claims. As such, it is vital for these providers to have rigorous risk management practices.
To support them in this, HSC recently held an event for these providers to learn about emerging risks and to share experiences about their challenges and effective approaches to mitigating risk. Sessions focused on managing risk in a world of increasing natural catastrophes; building and maintaining cyber security; and fostering organization resilience. In addition, the group got an update on insurance claims, which have dramatically increased in volume and severity this year. You may have noted this in our previous issue of Managing Risky Business and will receive a further update in our next one.
New Approaches to Supportive Housing: A SHARE Innovation Forum at the NOSDA AGM
HSC is pleased to partner with the District of Thunder Bay, Rainy River and Kenora Social Services Administration Boards to deliver a SHARE Innovation Forum focused on Supportive Housing.
The event will explore different delivery program models for non-traditional supports into housing. Speakers will discuss their unique approaches, examining the way they’ve successfully structured partnerships and engaged community agencies to support their residents.
This event is hosted by HSC and will coincide with the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA) AGM taking place on June 21 & 22 in Thunder Bay.
In addition to these events, I have also had the opportunity to meet with staff at Kingston-Frontenac and Ottawa Community Housing; the Municipality of Chatham-Kent; Niagara Regional Housing; the City of Peterborough; and also the Social Housing Advisory Group in Durham Region.
Our Business Solutions team has also embarked on an outreach blitz to connect with Service Managers about our core programs and their range of services and competencies. Over the next three months, they are making visits to Oxford, Windsor, Hamilton, Simcoe, Hastings and St. Thomas.
We are happy to make ourselves available to our clients and their boards to answer questions and provide background about HSC’s programs and services. We are just a phone call or email away. To arrange a discussion or to contact a specific department, email email@example.com or call 1.866.268.4451.
In February, HSC identified a window of opportunity in the natural gas market for Local Housing Corporation clients whose contracts were up for renewal. To take advantage of this temporary dip in pricing, we offered advanced purchasing for the 2024 year, ahead of the regular renewal timing, which takes place in May.
In this early round, 17 providers locked in their gas pricing, selecting one of our purchasing options (1, 3, 5 year fixed and 1 year variable). The remaining 9 renewing clients have until June 2 to finalize their pricing, which has remained relatively stable since February.
- Expert Advice, Incentives and Free Upgrades to Save Energy and Money
- Get Inspired – Energy Projects for Affordable Housing
- Alternatives to Conventional Fuels – What Are the Options?
- FCM’s Funding Targets Energy Efficiency
As you may have read in our most recent Managing Risky Business newsletter, the 2022-23 term has been very challenging so far. There has been a significant spike in claims and claims costs. As of May 31, we have had 103 claims with a total of $20.8M incurred.
On a broader, global level, things are challenging too. Climate change has increased the frequency and severity of natural catastrophes, costing underwriters more in payouts; COVID-19 and inflation have pushed construction/replacement costs up, making individual claims more expensive; and there is a decreasing pool of insurers underwriting multi-residential buildings due to their risk profile, which means that there is less supply and greater demand for coverage.
These factors will make negotiations on renewals much more difficult than in years past. We anticipate that we will need to make adjustments on deductibles, the Claims Trust Fund and the total insured values of the program.
That said, we will make every effort to obtain the greatest amount of coverage at the lowest possible cost for you. HSC recognizes that providers need insurance to continue with the important work that they do. Hopefully, the second part of the term will be quieter than the first.
Managing Risky Business
- Tenant-Caused Fires: An Area of Concern in 2022-23
- Why Accurate Building Valuations Matter
- Safe Summer Fun
- Online Location For Tenant Insurance Info Has Changed
Update on IDEA at HSC
In my last newsletter, I mentioned HSC’s internal efforts to embed Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) into our programs, policies and workplace culture.
We have continued with our activities on this front. Recently these have included:
- Piloting an ESG (environmental, social and governance framework) survey created by our insurance program broker, Marsh Canada, with Ontario’s independent Local Housing Corporations
- Incorporating IDEA into the professional development component of HSC staff performance plans
- Training in anti-black racism and unconscious bias
- Integrating IDEA values into an event organized by our internal social committee – an outing to the Royal Ontario Museum to see an exhibition by Cree-artist Kent Monkman
- Using our intranet to share articles and raise awareness about diverse cultural perspectives and opportunities to put our values into practice
We would welcome a dialogue with our clients and sector partners both to exchange practices and to help HSC improve its sensitivity on this front. We invite you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Encasa’s New Investment Product: the High Interest Savings Account
In response to feedback from its clients, I am happy to share that Encasa Financial recently added a new investment option: a High Interest Savings Account (HISA).
HISA offers more competitive interest rates than a traditional savings account and reduces the short-term risks associated with the volatility of bond and equity markets.
As a Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) savings account, this differs from the investment Funds held by Encasa. However, it is yet another tool for housing provider to grow their capital reserves and can be accessed, like your other investments, through WorldSource InvestorNet.
Encasa’s mission continues to be the long-term appreciation of our investor’s capital reserves. This new HISA option will complement Encasa’s existing longer-term fund offerings and help better meet the liquidity needs, long-term return expectations and tolerance for risk of housing providers across Ontario.
Encasa Q1/2023 Market Commentary Now Available
Encasa recently published its quarterly market and economic commentary. After a tough 2022, the first quarter of 2023 brought some good news. Both stocks and bonds rose in major markets around the world. Inflation also slowed down. And in many asset classes, one-year returns turned positive.
Comings & Goings
Since the last newsletter back in the January, we’ve had some movement in the sector. We welcome Angela Cooke back to Ontario as the new Assistant Deputy Minister of Housing, after having served in roles at BC Housing and Toronto Community Housing. Tom Fortier moves from Simcoe to Muskoka as the Director of Program Housing and Homelessness with Laura Mccallum taking over for Tom in Simcoe. Brad Spiewak is the new Director of Housing in Simcoe. We welcome Jason Cooke from the City of Ottawa, who joins us in his new role as Housing Programs Manager. Congratulations to longtime CCOC Executive Director, Ray Sullivan, who is now leading the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association. We also congratulate Arfona Zwiers, who is now the Commissioner of Community and Planning Services at Muskoka. Former HSC staff, Clinton Reid and Scott Robertson, have moved on to new roles, with Clinton moving to Toronto Community Housing as Manager of Operations and Compliance and Scott going to Lennox Addington as the Manager of Social Services.
Our client reference groups have seen some recent comings and goings. We welcomed two new faces to our Service Manager Housing Company Network, Nicole Piquette (Greater Sudbury) and Cameron Banach (Niagara). Our Energy Services Stakeholder Advisory Committee has seen a change with longtime (and very active) member Hans Kogel retiring from Windsor Essex Community Housing. Picking up from Hans is Jay Shanmugam, to whom we extend a warm welcome. We saw a similar change to our Service Manager Advisory Committee; we recently welcomed Doug Rollins at the City of Toronto and said goodbye to Glenn Courtney, who has moved on to another role at the City after many years in housing.
At HSC, we have had some changes to our board. We recently welcomed Tammy McKenzie (Parry Sound DSSAB), Councillor Shelley Carroll (City of Toronto), Jennifer Murdoch-Martin (Waterloo) and Michelle Willson (York). At the same time, we said goodbye and thank you to Stella Danos-Papaconstantinou (Durham), Aileen Baird (Peel) and Bill Bradica (Thunder Bay) for their service – though we are happy to note that Bill will continue on the board of HSC Insurance.
We’ve also had some additions to the HSC staff team. We welcomed Kevin Willis to our Insurance team as a Senior Client Manager. Trevor Kitchen joined our Technical Services team as Senior Project Manager. Manbir More came on board as our new Salesforce Administrator. Tieng Ying and Sydney Dunstan joined our Finance Team as Accounts Payable Clerk and Controller respectively. Arsalan Shams has joined us for the summer as a Data Specialist. Finally, Kerry Hobbs joins us after many years at both York Region and Housing York as our new Director of Sector Services.