Today was one of the most difficult days so far. Submitted my application for compassionate status (a career ender) and I am coming to the conclusion that no matter how much I sell, how hard I work or how many jobs I take, I cannot repay the money. The most frustrating part, is that it is not my fault. I’ve been carrying the HEA debt since 2010 and using all finances to buy time. Since it has been five years and TBS continues to delay and deny, I am left with little else to do but declare. Why did I not declare earlier? Here are a few reasons:
Loss of perfect credit score for 7 years;
resultant inability to relocate in future, inability to loan or co-sign loans for 5
school aged children (jeopardizing their future);
places the focus of blame on the individual, not the CAF/TBS;
subjected to repossessions and harassing collection agencies;
further personal and family humiliation;
it is against my families beliefs to pass debt onto the taxpayer; and
added stressors to an already stressful situation.
All this time, work and effort – at what price? The Treasury Board of Canada has worn me down, destroyed my life and the lives of my family.
At what price?
In November 2014, the TBS received a report which they requested, in order to assess the housing market in Edmonton CMA and Bon Accord, Alberta between Jun 2007-May 2010. These are the dates that I lived in Bon Accord. This report was funded by your tax dollars.
Below is my response to this “market analysis” which has been provided to TBS.
05 December 2014
REPRESENTATION – MAJOR MARCUS BRAUER
CONTINUING HOME EQUITY ASSISTANCE DENIAL APPROACHING YEAR 5
Good afternoon Mr XXXXXXX:
- As requested, please find below an initial analysis of the Residential Market Conditions (hereafter the “report”) (prepared for PWGSC by XXXXXX) on 21 November 2014.
- The report by XXXXXX, should have no impact on the decision of declaring Bon Accord a depressed market. As stated in the CFIRP (2009) the Market Analysis to be assessed is to be provided by the CF Member and the realtor. Further, the Federal Court of Canada has stated that:
- “The applicant’s situation seems to me to be precisely the type of problem the CFIRP Directive was meant to remedy as indicated in the views expressed by the Grievance Board and the CDS. As interpreted by TBS, however, “CF members are subject to […] absorbing an equity loss” upon “relocation akin to a “forced relocation””. This cannot be what the Government of Canada intended for its military personnel”;
- “I find that the TBS decision was unreasonable in the sense that it was not justified and was outside the range of acceptable outcomes defensible in light of the facts and the law”.
- The report is found to be, at best, inconclusive and at worst –intentionally misleading. Significant problems include the intentional MLS data being manipulated to get the results in the report. This is reminiscent to the findings of the Federal Court Judge Justice Mosely, who reviewed the previous TBS market analysis for Bon Accord as follows:
- “In my view, TBS relied on irrelevant, post-dated and unsubstantiated information”.
- The purpose of the report as stated by PWGSC in the Statement of Work (SOW) was not the same as the author’s objective. As below, the report did not provide any conclusions nor conduct the study with the same objective as required by PWGSC:
- From SOW: “The stated objective of the study (in the SOW) is a third-party assessment of the market conditions in order to establish if a given location can be considered a “depressed market”;
- Report states “The objective of this study is to determine whether or not Depressed Market conditions were experienced during the study period. A Depressed Market is said to exist where there has been a decline in residential Market Values of twenty percent or more”; and
- The criteria provided to the author (Report Addendum A) contains the requirements for a depressed market survey. These criteria are markedly different than the criteria listed in the 2009 CFIRP and therefore set the author up for failure in achieving the stated objective(s).
- Throughout the report, there was inconsistent use of terminology. This is one of the major dis-satisfiers with the overall 2009 HEA policy. Specifically:
- “Edmonton CMA” is used interchangeably with the terms “Edmonton Region”, “full Edmonton CMA”, “Edmonton CMA Universe” although they have different meanings and geographic areas depending on the data (Statistics Canada and EREB do not have overlapping geographic areas for CMA). Further, the geographic area for Edm CMA has changed according to StatsCan;
- Variance: Variance is defined as: “A measure of overall variation in a set of data that represents the average squared difference between each value in the data set and the mean of all values”. The report appears to use the term to describe “difference”;
- Sale price: Also used is “adjusted sale price” which is not defined, and implies that the data has been changed in some respect;
- Significant (i.e. statistical significance): Refers to a statistical test result that leads to the rejection of the implicit or explicit hypothesis of independence between two or more variables. The author indiscriminately uses the term significant to imply “trustworthy, or of significant importance”;
- Days on Market, Marketing time: are used interchangeably without being defined; and
- Note that the author uses “Market Values”, which, according to CFIRP 2009 is defined as: “The value of a residence at the time of its sale.”
- Throughout the report, the most basic conventions of research or analysis were not evident. These can lead to issues with interpretation, verification or duplication of the calculations or results. It certainly affects the credibility of the conclusions. Some of the gross errors include:
- None of the diagrams, tables, charts or datum labelled;
- the majority of charts and diagrams show only year (assume annual averages),
- some diagrams do not include the report’s mandated dates at all (i.e. 2007 and 2010 not represented;
- the report’s data sources were not referenced in any diagrams, tables, charts or addenda;
- data supposedly from MLS was only provided for Bon Accord, not Edm CMA;
- boundaries of CMA’s and their sub-components change often. MLS data does not make the same changes and is therefore, not representative of reflecting the housing market of a CMA;
- Statistics from government agencies were not referenced, nor were source data tables or dates obtained provided;
- The report and the 2009 CFIRP (TBS) have different definitions of depressed market: “Depressed Market is said to exist where there has been a decline in residential Market Values of twenty percent or more”. Vs.: “Depressed market, as established by Treasury Board Secretariat, is defined as a community where the housing market has dropped more than 20%.” The author and the TBS are using different definitions of “Depressed Market”;
- comparisons do not measure “like against like”. By not using similar house types, the Edm CMA “Total Residential Market” data includes duplexes and townhouses. One report cannot satisfy the market assessment unless it analyses the market(s) for each style of house, as required by CFIRP and the applicant//realtor to provide to DCBA/TBS. CFIRP 2009 states that “similar type homes” are to be compared for HEA calculations;
- throughout the document, there are many direct relationships stated without any proof of cause and effect. The cause and effect must be either demonstrated, or referenced. Otherwise it is solely an unqualified opinion.
- the report identifies the geographical area of the Edm CMA incorrectly according to Statistics Canada;
- MLS data does not use the same geographical boundaries as the EREB or the CMA, therefore the CMA conclusions are ineffective;
- throughout the report, different criteria were used to assess the % loss. These included average price per sq ft, sold price per sq m and average sale price. No standard unit of measure is used within the report to identify a change in price;
- Annual sale values are used throughout the report. As the SOR requires Jun 2007-May 2010 information, no annual data will capture changes over these timeframes (i.e. Jun 2007 market compared to May 2010 market); and
- multiple errors, omissions, mis-calculations and misclassifications are identified within the notes of the attached PDF file;
Efficacy of the Report
- While the report did not achieve the objectives outlined in the SOW, it did attempt to provide a “market analysis” of Edmonton CMA and Bon Accord. There were serious issues with the methods and analysis used by the author:
- the report did not use the same methodology for both Edm CMA and Bon Accord Market Analysis, although the author (incorrectly) attempted to draw conclusions by comparing the two distinct geographical areas;
- the report included only data from Bon Accord, and not Edm CMA;
Bon Accord analysis:
- the report excluded some MLS data from the Bon Accord Analysis;
- the missing Bon Accord MLS data was not presented,
- rationale for removing the MLS data from Bon Accord was not identified;
- The impact on the “missing data” was not identified not stated;
- The report did not identify the number of homes sold during the Jun 07-May 10 timeframe, a definite indicator of a depressed market. In the Bon Accord community, there was only one BLEVL type homes sold, which represents 100% of the market between those two dates. Note also that the FCC identified that “30 houses had sold in Bon Accord in 2007 and 40 in 2008, only 6 had been sold as of May 2010”
- the Edm CMA “Total Residential Market” data includes duplexes and townhouses, whereas the Bon Accord data does not;
Edm CMA analysis: Much of the Edm CMA analysis is captured in comments on the attached PDF file and is beyond the scope of this report;
- Generally accepted research principles conduct research in a specific order to minimize error or influence of the author. This sequence is for the investigator to: Follow the objective, develop indicators, measure, study and conclude. This report appears to deny there are depressed markets, provide measures then manipulate the MLS data. It never achieves it’s secondary stated outcome of “identifying five benchmarks of the real estate market”.
- The TBS is to base their decision on the Market Analysis provided by the CAF and his/her realtor to determine a depressed market in accordance with the CFIRP. Conducting an additional analysis only demonstrates the desire to limit/deny applications for HEA. As noted in the initial HEA application, the Community of Bon Accord’s housing market was calculated by a realtor (as specified in the CFIRP).
- The realtor identified that the Bon Accord housing market fell by 23.11% (undisputed by TBS in Federal Court). This evidence was un-contradicted in the FCC between Jun 2007 and May 2010.
- A 47 page report which self identifies its conclusions as “speculative”, “interpretive”, “not guaranteed for accuracy” speak towards its validity. When conclusions are drawn from an analysis which is self stated as statistically insignificant, those results should not be relied upon. Specifically: “It (average home sale prices in Bon Accord) does not represent the variance from June 2007-May 2010 as there is insufficient sales in the Town of Bon Accord to draw a statistically relevant conclusion”, goes on to conclude in the report summary that “depressed market conditions” were not experienced in the Edmonton CMA or the Town of Bon Accord”.
- The report compiled for the TBS is not valid and it should not be relied upon to make any determination on market conditions.
- The report identifies that it has different objectives and criteria than requested in the Statement of Work;
- As the 20% criteria was proven in the initial 2010 application, uncontested in Federal Court and deemed not necessary in the only two successful HEA cases in Canada , it is unclear why another report was commissioned where it cannot be used in making the decision of a depressed market;
- By using the MLS data provided in the report, and using all of the homes of similar type (BLEVL) bought between Jun 2007 and May 2010, with a sample size of 100% of the Bon Accord market, bought in those months, the housing market fell by 21.7%. This statistic is in agreement with the Royal Lepage assessment provided in the initial application date 10 May 2010, which found the Bon Accord housing market to have gone down by 23.11%. This report provides multiple percentages, but does not provide one percentage of housing market decrease for Bon Accord as requested in the SOW.
22. Considering the history of this matter and the length of time I been attempting to obtain a remedy, I would ask that this matter be dealt with expediently. As the TBS has confirmed through providing 100% HEA in Temiscaming, QC and Yarmouth, NS without a market analysis confirming 20% loss, and considering that the 20% factor is not the only factor to be considered, I would ask that this application for entitlements be dealt with post-haste in order for me to attempt to regain some of my life, career and family. Of note, I contacted the members who won their HEA application in Temiscaming and Yarmouth, and they both were terrified that they were contacted, and advised that they were told they cannot talk about it. I may be reached at the number below if you require any clarification/information.
25 Wheatstone Heights, Dartmouth
Nova Scotia, B2Y 4E1
Appendix: e-copy of Report with notes
cc: CAF Ombudsman’s Office
cc: Hon Robert Chisholm
cc: Undisclosed recipients (4)
 The foundation of my review is based on a masters level courses obtained in 2010-2012. Managerial Epidemiology (HESA 5320.03), is “designed for health administrators, not researchers. The course has three components: assessing the health status of a population using existing data; using Epi-Info for statistical analysis of associations (relative risk, odds ratio, chi-square test, confidence intervals, Mantel-Haenszel analysis, multiple logistic regression); and clinical guideline monitoring. Throughout the course, recurring themes are: understanding the meaning of numbers, assessing validity, and ascertaining causation, including the concepts of confounding and effect modification”. Further my masters level thesis was an 10 year trend analysis of blue cross payments by the Canadian Forces, which involved many hundreds of thousands of calculations. I have significant experience in assessing research and conducting analysis of data. Several courses in research methodology and master level statistics courses as well.
 FCC decision para 64 at http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/fct/doc/2014/2014fc488/2014fc488.pdf
 FCC decision para 68 at http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/fct/doc/2014/2014fc488/2014fc488.pdf
 As found in the Reports Statement of Work, pp.41
 As noted in an email from PWGSC (3 Dec 2014) “In this instance, the report you reference was a low dollar value sole source contract, as an update of previous work to specifically address the Bon Accord market in the context of an earlier study of the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) Edmonton market. This original work was contracted after competitive bids were solicited from qualified suppliers. Details of the deliverables required and the original statement of work for the CMA Edmonton study were included in the addenda of the report.”
 Note: This report is supposed to be provided by the CF Member and their realtor (Royal Lepage) which was provided in the initial application.
 Report p 43
 Confirmed with EREB and MLS
 “A” implying singular.
 Report pp.6
 As evidenced by Statscan in their 2011 report at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/92f0009x/92f0009x2011001-eng.pdf
 In accordance with the Materials on the Statistics Canada website were produced and/or compiled by Statistics Canada for the purpose of providing Canadians with access to information about the programs and services offered by the Government of Canada. The information is being used against Canadians by the Government. Not being used for the purpose for which it was gathered, nor is it being referenced.
 2009 CFIRP
 B.A. is a town, while the Edm CMA remains poorly defined. Even if the Edm CMA was defined (using either MLS, EREB or Statscan geographical boundaries), it is akin to making a comparison between your spleen (Bon Accord) and your body (Edm CMA).
 Report pp.16
 CFIRP 2009 s. 8.2.13 para 4(b)
 Edmonton CMA is currently contains the following areas: http://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p3VD.pl?Function=getVD&TVD=117159&CVD=117161&CPV=835&CST=01012011&CLV=2&MLV=3
 As determined in the FCC decision “It appears that no consideration was given to the differences between Edmonton, a major urban centre with a diversified economy and population of about 1 million and Bon Accord, a small town linked to the oil industry”.
 Edm CMA had no adjustments of MLS data due to physical characteristics of the properties, while Bon Accord had the selling prices in 2010 greatly manipulated (adjusted sale price) for that same reason. (report pp.21). This had an impact on the calculation.
 Report pp.16
 Report pp 1
 CFIRP 2009
 Report pp.32
 FCC decision para 65 at http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/fct/doc/2014/2014fc488/2014fc488.pdf
 “The declarations in these that the standard required in this instance – a decline in the housing market of greater than 20% – was not required in those cases” two cases contained no finding that the entire housing market had declined by 20% or more. Rather they dealt with the general economic conditions in both communities and the personal circumstances of the individuals concerned. Thus it appears
The intent of this site is to combine our knowledge, resources and skills. As I am new to blogging etc, I would invite everyone to become involved and make this forum a focal point for our cause.
All members have been given editor access and so there is opportunity for everyone to change the site and make it better/easier to access.
I look forward to working on developing this site as our one point of focus for exchange of information and historical record. Once we have it developed, we will share it with our contacts and friends to spread the word. We need to take advantage of the recent press activity and I would like to have this up and running in a week or so. All assistance is greatly appreciated.
In 2010 we were moved by the military and entitled to “home equity assistance”. We lost $88,000 in the sale of our home. The Government has a policy which protects military members due to the amount of moves they must do (often every 2 years). Our shortest posting was 7 months.
We have been fighting for five years, and met success at every step of the way…except for Treasury Board. Each time, they change the assessment criteria, and try to wriggle out of payment using different tactics. Including breaking the law under the access to information act.
In 2014, Justice Mosely found that:
” I find that the TBS decision was unreasonable in the sense that it was not justified and was outside the range of acceptable outcomes defensible in light of the facts and the law.”
The file was sent back to TBS for determination. TBS found someone to do a new report in 2014. That report was provided to a TBS panel who found that there was no entitlement.
Hon Tony Clement – President of the Treasury Board
To date, TBS has used various rationale to deny all 147 of 147 applications (between 2007-2010). These rationale are not written anywhere, nor are they inline with the policy. They are not even consistent between denials. Yes, it is true that the TBS approved two applications for HEA in Temiscaming (2008) and Port Maitland (2010), however 2008 falls under the previous policy. Further, both of these approved applications were done in 2012, at the same time as my application for HEA was working its way through TBS. I have contacted the families who were approved, and neither will speak about their file for fear of having it taken away.
” The TBS interpretation of the term “community” can only be reasonable if it can be established that it does not render the purpose of the CFIRP Directive meaningless by making it inapplicable in all but the most exceptional circumstances. From information provided to the Court by the respondent after the hearing, it appears that TBS has declared only two communities, on one occasion each, to be depressed markets in relation to the CFIRP Directive: Temiskaming, Quebec in 2008 and Port Maitland, Nova Scotia (January 2010-December 2011). The declarations in these two cases contained no finding that the entire housing market had declined by 20% or more. Rather they dealt with the general economic conditions in both communities and the personal circumstances of the individuals concerned. Thus it appears that the standard required in this instance – a decline in the housing market of greater than 20% – was not required in those cases.” Justice Mosely, Federal Court of Canada, 2014.
In my case, TBS denied my application first by declaring that “there are no depressed markets in Canada” without reviewing the files.
I grieved, and the grievance was returned “without action” as the military stated it was not grievable.
I contested this and found to be in the right. I grieved the decision to deny my HEA entitlements, and won at the Chief of Defence Staff level. He could do everything, but pay out.
The CDS directed my file was to be submitted to TBS, with his full support.
TBS denied the application as they indicated that the town of Bon Accord was not a community, and that we were considered Edmonton. I later learned that NO DATA from Bon Accord was used in their assessment. Further, I found that they used a report from 2009 to assess the housing market in 2010!
Yaprak Baltacioglu (secretary of the Treasury Board of Canada)
The military could/did not do anything. They were directed to work with TBS to resolve this “community” definition. They did not. My family was forced to take on TBS to do the military’s job. We did, and won. Bon Accord was now a community and TBS had to re-assess the file. Unfortunately, they decided to have a report crafted for them. This report, done in 2014 is so flawed, it could not possibly constitute any type of “evidence”. However, the internal TBS board determined that our family was…ineligible. Find below some of the major issues with the TBS “report”:
So now what? Five years down the drain, immeasurable suffering and we are left with starting over with a claim against the Crown or another Judicial Review.
Wouldn’t it be great if the government would start living up to their policies, instead of treating our soldiers like enemies of the state?
Treasury Board Secretariat has misled, mistreated and manipulated for too long. The 6th of June is coming, and with it – a big surprise for TBS (and it is not a gazebo). Its going to be a great show! Time for some payback on behalf of all of those military families robbed of their futures. For all those who assisted with this injustice, you reap what you sow.
It took a single income family of seven many years to save up the equity which is being denied. We are not looking for a free ride. We would like our entitlements, as promised and we would like to see that our fellow soldiers, their families and children do not have to put up with this type of blanket denial by the Treasury Board of Canada.
Please feel free to share this information as you deem suitable.
Mr. Jack Harris: Thank you. I hope that we’ll be able to deal with that motion later on today.
To move to another point and I’m finding that, again and again, that services that are expected to be provided to military and military families there seem to be glaring gaps occur. I want to refer you to two that come to mind as a result of recent information and recent reports.
The first one being the fact that the Universal Child Care Benefit doesn’t appear to be universal when it comes to military families. I have here a letter addressed to a military family living and serving in the United States saying that the Universal Child Care Benefit that was given is not available to that family because they’re living outside of the country and demanding $3,600. to be repaid going back to 2012. I wonder how is that that these things occur and is this something that you can actually fix? This seems to be certainly problematic.
The other one is the case of Major Marcus Brauer who has twice now been refused by the government to be paid for his $88,000 home equity assistance loss that occurred when he was forced to move from Edmonton base to Halifax despite having won a grievance through the grievance procedure and having the Chief of the Defence Staff of that time support his grievance, but being unable to pay it out. Now, that seems to me to be a direct contradiction to the notion that people who serve in the military should be entitled to get the benefits that a policy suggests that they should receive. Secondly, in the case of Major Brauer, that the grievance procedure that we have in place doesn’t seem to provide an effective remedy when a monetary payment is required because the Chief of the Defence Staff doesn’t have the authority to actually order a monetary payment.
These two things are glaring. Major Brauer has been fighting this for five years now. This case of the Universal Child Care Benefit it seems again another fact where our military members are not receiving what they should receive in terms of government benefits.
Hon. Jason Kenney: Thank you, Mr. Harris. On the first point, I’d be happy to look into that. Of course, many social benefits administered by both federal and provincial governments apply only to residents for taxation purposes. But I will certainly look into that and commit to get back to you.
On the second matter, I’m not familiar with that case. Perhaps the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff could respond.
LGen Guy R. Thibault: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
On the issue that’s been referred to, Major Brauer’s case, one of the dimensions of the Canadian forces that we see is the frequent moves of members of the Canadian armed forces. So in those kind of circumstances, finding the appropriate locations for your homes is always one of our biggest challenge and to find the right place for your children to go to school. In those moves, what happens of course inevitably over time is that individuals who buy into market will find that they may not be able to sell their home when they’re being posted.
So within the protection that we do have for members of the Canadian armed forces with a protection really to offer them in the case where they may not be able to recoup their full cost, there are provisions to allow a member to recoup some of that which would be involved with their overall situation in a particular sale of a home.
We can never tell somebody where they’re going to buy a house or what kind of house to buy.
Mr. Jack Harris: Vice-Chief, he won his grievance procedure and the Chief of Defence Staff has the final say and he says “yes, you should be entitled to receive your full loss of home equity”.
LGen Guy R. Thibault: In this particular case, if I may, the point would basically be is that of course he’s gone through the grievance procedure. He has still measures that are available to him in terms of judicial review which is his entitlement to do and ultimately at this point, I would just say that from the compensations and benefits that we provide for members of the Canadian armed forces, I think are recognized very widely as being a very high standard. We have a good overall compensation and benefits package for members of the forces and that ultimately when you come to each individual circumstance, you’re never going to satisfy 100% of the people, 100% of the time.
Editors note: “But you can deny 99% of the HEA applicants and try to get away with it”. 1 of the 147 applications between 2007-2010 were approved, and these were approved after the fact in 2012″
Mme Élaine Michaud
I want to very briefly about the case that was raised by my colleague, Mr. Harris, that of Major Browar , because I do not quite understand the answer you gave , General Thibault. The situation is that Major won his grievance, he should not have to take additional action, he won, he got the support of the Chief of Staff. There you mention it always has recourse, I do not understand why he would still have to fight when he won his grievance, he should not have to take further action or use of other services. I do not understand why he has yet to fight for funds that have been granted with a favorable decision.
Editors note: “TBS is above the law and acting outside of it. No accountability and no conscience”.
Here is the link to the ATIP. Looks like someone has been telling stories…
TBS access to information requests reveal new HEA numbers. Page 143 of the report above indicate that there were 458 applications for Home Equity Assistance in 3 years. Of those, 191 personnel exhausted their envelopes and could have used the HEA entitlement if they met the criteria.
In the period 2007-2015, only 2 applications have been approved. Neither of these HEA approvals met the 20% criteria (which was not even assessed), and yet ALL the other applications were denied (as was mine) for not meeting the 20%.
An interesting point, in 2012 the TBS was still (wrongly) using the 20% value as determined by the house in question’s difference having to drop by 20%, instead of what is clearly stated in the policy (community dropping by 20%). DND let them know in 2012, yet members still were denied on this maladministration. See pages 224 and 233 of the attached.
Hey, wait a minute…TBS was using the wrong criteria in 2012? Thats a full 3 years after the issue was brought to their attention and after hundreds of troops were denied their entitlements!
“Mr. Speaker, last week Major Marcus Brauer was informed that his claim for home equity assistance benefits has been rejected. It is devastating news to Major Brauer and his family.
This Canadian Forces member lost $88,000 on the sale of his home when he was ordered to relocate. The Conservatives have spent almost as much money fighting with Major Brauer as it would have cost to simply honour the commitment.
Why do the men and women in uniform in our country have to fight the government tooth and nail for the benefits they deserve?”
“Mr. Speaker, what I can tell the House is that in compliance with the Federal Court’s May 2014 order, there was an independent, impartial review that was conducted. Of course we relied on the advice of that independent third party expert in the conclusion that in fact the market was not depressed”.
Find the link below, some of the issues in the “independent third party expert”. These issues were not addressed. The Treasury Board figures that
You make the call.