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CFB Cold Lake Thread- Merged

Edward Campbell

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pbi said:
It is possible. I was a young (and rather poorly paid) 2Lt with a wife and infant in 1984, back when soldiers on food stamps and out driving pizza deliveries were in the news. We were single income, so we adjusted. We didn't own a car until I was a Capt, and our first TV was a gift from my mother in law. We walked, bussed, or took taxis. We entertained friends at home. Now, I know this probably sounds terribly sanctimonious and holier-than-thou, but it can be done. The CF overall is very well paid, and much more secure than most Canadians could ever dream of. The CF have a gold-plated pension scheme if you compare it to what most people (other than Senators or MPs) get in the non-Federal govt world. The CF is one of the very few employers that actually has systems in place (for decades...) to help its people who have financial problems.

All of this would probably make it a bit difficult for the average working class, non-unionized Canadian, who makes less than a Cpl does in a year, to be particularly sympathetic.


Thanks for that, pbi. Another post with which I fully agree.

The CF has not been poorly paid since the 1960s. If anything one might want to argue that there is not enough space between corporal and sergeant and, again, between sergeant and WO; if you agree that $100,000/year is a fair rate of pay for CWO then, maybe, corporals are, ever so slightly, overpaid.

But that's not the point. I see two points:

    1. Leadership, which, in my opinion, ought to be on top of soldiers with problems ~ offering things like financial counselling;* and

    2. Systems, like cost of living differentials, that are not kept up to date.

As I said earlier: I do not believe that senior leadership/management (civil and military) is indifferent to pay and morale. But resources are always limited and we you the CF is just one cog in a big machine that is hard to steer in any one direction.

Now, obviously, like most people here, I know nothing about this soldier's problems. Maybe he needs a kick in the arse (which he seems likely to get) and some good, free, financial counselling. Maybe the system need s a shakeup ... but, the CF is neither poorly paid nor is it being kicked about by heartless bureaucrats.

_____
* Many decades ago regular, en masse, financial planning lectures were a routine event for junior ranks. That largely died out, on a CF wide basis, by the 1980s. I reintroduced it in my unit ~ inviting interesting experts to share tips and tricks with my soldiers. I insisted on "interesting" because I wasn't going to keep 400 junior ranks sitting in a theatre for 45 minutes listening to dry statistics. I found bankers and investment managers and lawyers who were both: willing, even eager, to take on the task (most lawyers and bank managers hate seeing problems when it's too late to help) and who gave lively, interesting, useful presentations.
 

Tibbson

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Kirsten Luomala said:
http://www.cfha.forces.gc.ca/hl-el/coldlakegi-coldlakeig-eng.aspx

Here are the rates for PMQs in Cold Lake.  According to the photo max he would pay 1350 a month.  Please budget is the issue here his budget not the militaries.

I lost all faith in the system a number of years ago when posted to Borden.  I met a woman at Canex who mentioned she was going to a CFHA Conference in Winnipeg the next week.  I remarked that I didn't think she lived on base to which she informed me she didn't but she did own a house in Angus that she was renting out and that she was a member of the local housing committee as a civilian local representative.  I asked why and she said she was there because the low military rents (at that time) were cutting into the ability for landlords like her to compete with DND which was seen to be unfairly impacting on local businesses (landlords) by having the PMQ rent subsidized.  Over my time in Borden the rent for a PMQ like mine went from $375 a month to just over $1000.  Lucky for me I was grandfathered and mine never broke $400 a month.  She and her friends got a more competitive market though. 
 

ModlrMike

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The cynic in me asks how much of this is being driven by a desire to get posted to Bagotville, conveniently down the road from Jonquière?

The young soldier -- from Jonquière, Quebec, and posted in CFB Cold Lake for the past two-and-a-half years...
 

George Wallace

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Schindler's lift said:
I lost all faith in the system a number of years ago when posted to Borden.  I met a woman at Canex who mentioned she was going to a CFHA Conference in Winnipeg the next week.  I remarked that I didn't think she lived on base to which she informed me she didn't but she did own a house in Angus that she was renting out and that she was a member of the local housing committee as a civilian local representative.  I asked why and she said she was there because the low military rents (at that time) were cutting into the ability for landlords like her to compete with DND which was seen to be unfairly impacting on local businesses (landlords) by having the PMQ rent subsidized.  Over my time in Borden the rent for a PMQ like mine went from $375 a month to just over $1000.  Lucky for me I was grandfathered and mine never broke $400 a month.  She and her friends got a more competitive market though.

Only one example of DND bowing to outside interests or agendas.  I can still to this day not figure out why the Government caved into someone's demand to see what their Taxpayer dollars were spent on and wanted access to CAF establishments, bringing about the now "Open Base" policy.  Front Gates have all but disappeared from our military Bases.  Cross the 49th and you will never see the likes of that.
 

Halifax Tar

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Perhaps we're missing the part where while the 50k Cpl pay in Pet is adequate it is not in Cold Lake Alberta. 

I bring to you this article:

http://www.coldlakesun.com/2010/05/11/cold-lake-drops-to-98th-for-best-place-to-live-in-canada

While 4 years old it's the most recent I could find in a cursory search.  I draw you attention to this quote:

In 2009 the average household in Cold Lake took in about $95,000.

That number is up to just over $105,000 this year, but the community fell three spots to 19th overall when compared to the other communities.

If that is the median house hold income in that area then the Cpls 50k salary suddenly seem 1/2 as good.
 

dapaterson

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There is no mandate for the Canadian Forces to provide housing below market value to its personnel.  If we want cheap housing to be part of the CF compensation, then we should be cutting pay to balance it out.  But then we're penalizing those who don't live in the Qs to subsidize those who do.
 

armyvern

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Halifax Tar said:
If that is the median house hold income in that area then the Cpls 50k salary suddenly seem 1/2 as good.

BINGO.  Pay is not the issue that should be being debated here.  Our pay is more than generous.

It is the PLD which is intended to compensate members for differences in cost of living for various posting-locations across the country.  PLD that is supposed to be reviewed annually to ensure the Cpls 50K in Cold Lake allows him a standard of living on a somewhat even playing field with the other Cpl's 50K income in Gagetown, Greenwood etc.  That annual review has not happened for years now and that is the problem.

If one were to look at the links included earlier in this very thread, DND referred inquiries about the lack of review of PLD to TB; TB then stated to the inquiriers something akin to, "You need to make that inquiry to the DND spokesman".  And the big red-tape circle of SNAFU continues.
 

Kat Stevens

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dapaterson said:
There is no mandate for the Canadian Forces to provide housing below market value to its personnel.  If we want cheap housing to be part of the CF compensation, then we should be cutting pay to balance it out.  But then we're penalizing those who don't live in the Qs to subsidize those who do.

Where's the logic in this?  Most people prefer not to live in Qs because, for the most part, they are sub standard dung heaps.  Perhaps if they were brought up to a competitive standard with the civilian market, it may be justifiable to to charge competitive rents.  Paying the equivalent rent of a 4 level split with garage for a 60 year old hay barn with 2x4 construction and a wet basement is pure crap.  Maybe CFHA is losing money for the same reason everyone assumes this Cpl is, piss poor budgeting.
 

armyvern

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dapaterson said:
There is no mandate for the Canadian Forces to provide housing below market value to its personnel.  If we want cheap housing to be part of the CF compensation, then we should be cutting pay to balance it out.  But then we're penalizing those who don't live in the Qs to subsidize those who do.

Problem with that is that the sub-standard and horribly maintained PMQ housing is not equal to civilian housing of same size.  See linked Omsbudman report from earlier --- less than 20 PMQs (RHUs) in Cold Lake of 800 some-odd were deemed to be in "good" condition, and the remainder were deemed to be in "poor" and "bad" condition.
 

agc

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dapaterson said:
There is no mandate for the Canadian Forces to provide housing below market value to its personnel.  If we want cheap housing to be part of the CF compensation, then we should be cutting pay to balance it out.  But then we're penalizing those who don't live in the Qs to subsidize those who do.

Then perhaps there should be a mandate to pay market salaries.
 

Halifax Tar

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agc said:
Then perhaps there should be a mandate to pay market salaries.

I think the original point of PLD was to compensate for this.  Unfortunately, I would surmise, the Alberta economy has out paced the ability of PLD to be adjusted.
 

PPCLI Guy

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agc said:
Then perhaps there should be a mandate to pay market salaries.

:rofl:

Have you paid ANY attention to this thread, others, or dare I say it, the real world?
 

dapaterson

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agc said:
Then perhaps there should be a mandate to pay market salaries.

Like $50K to someone with no skills not trained by the employer, with 4 years experience?  Like $100K to mid-level managers?

Already do that.


PLD is a terrible can of worms, since any re-evaluation is across the board.  Meaning places like Halifax & Edmonton would likely lose a lot when the rates are re-assessed.  Anyone want to see their PLD reduced?  Because if it's supposed to ensure an average standard of living, once your relative cost of living goes down, the PLD should also go down.  Or will a cut to Halifax or Edmonton or Toronto PLD get great shrieks of outrage regardless?

I don't have a solution; you can't lock PLD to when someone was posted in, yet if you enter at the top of the real estate market and are then carrying a huge mortgage, just to see the market collapse, so the cost of living is less so your PLD drops it seems unfair as well.

 

Halifax Tar

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dapaterson said:
PLD is a terrible can of worms, since any re-evaluation is across the board.  Meaning places like Halifax & Edmonton would likely lose a lot when the rates are re-assessed.  Anyone want to see their PLD reduced?  Because if it's supposed to ensure an average standard of living, once your relative cost of living goes down, the PLD should also go down.  Or will a cut to Halifax or Edmonton or Toronto PLD get great shrieks of outrage

Sure will.  But they were warned years ago not to bank on PLD.  Mind you in the three you list I would guess only Halifax's would/should be adjusted. 

Anyway when the average household income in the geo area is 100k plus, the the 50k salary suddenly will struggle to stay afloat in that locale.

 

agc

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dapaterson said:
Like $50K to someone with no skills not trained by the employer, with 4 years experience?  Like $100K to mid-level managers?

Already do that.

I understand the pay rates are based on what work the CF gets out of its people.  The point is that the job market pays more in different ares of the country based on supply and demand.  This creates a big manning problem here as well, because a lot of techs get recruited by the oil companies.  A Cpl's salary goes a lot further in Greenwood than it does in Cold Lake, but the rents are drastically different.  So my point was that if the CF wants to pay an average salary across the country rather than a market one, then charge an average rent rather than a market one.  Good for the members and good for the CF.  Possibly better for CFHA's bottom line as well.
 

dimsum

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ModlrMike said:
The cynic in me asks how much of this is being driven by a desire to get posted to Bagotville, conveniently down the road from Jonquière?

Funny, that was the first thing I thought too.
 

Jarnhamar

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I find it pretty telling that twice as many people choose to leave the CF when getting posted to Cold Lake than anywhere else. Many who probably didn't even blink when getting sent to war.


Are CF members living in PMQ's offered the same rights and protections under the Residential Tenancies Act as someone renting a place as a civilian?
And likewise for responsibilities and whoever owns/runs the PMQs?
 

dapaterson

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agc said:
I understand the pay rates are based on what work the CF gets out of its people.  The point is that the job market pays more in different ares of the country based on supply and demand.  This creates a big manning problem here as well, because a lot of techs get recruited by the oil companies.  A Cpl's salary goes a lot further in Greenwood than it does in Cold Lake, but the rents are drastically different.  So my point was that if the CF wants to pay an average salary across the country rather than a market one, then charge an average rent rather than a market one.  Good for the members and good for the CF.  Possibly better for CFHA's bottom line as well.

A average rent wouldn't work.  Why would someone in Greenwood pay above local rates for living in a Q?

And let's look at a hypothetical no spec pay Cpl in Cold Lake: $4714 (basic pay, no IPC) + $319 PLD = $5033 month, or $60 396 per year - so our 21 year old with no experience outside the military is getting $60K, not 50K.  Not starvation wages, and his rent in the Qs is limited to 25% - but may be less, as the condition of the Q is factored into the rent charged.
 

armyvern

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Dimsum said:
Funny, that was the first thing I thought too.

I can assure you that if my 50K salary, 1/2 that of the average wage in Cold Lake, was going to twice towards bettering my family's QOL if I were posted to another location because PLD is not being dealt with --- I'd pray for a posting out too!!  You seriously going to say that you wouldn't be doing so as well??

Why exactly do you think that people are releasing to get out of there and to avoid going there??  All your comment does is exactly highlight the problem in Cold Lake.  It isn't about this one individual as you are making it out to be --- he is merely the face (the published-martyred face??) of hundreds of others posted there today.

At least this kid went and, apparently the fact that he did is biting his family directly in their asses; kudos to him.
 
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