How we operate
Bow Valley Regional Housing is a regional management body serving the people of our five member municipalities. We are a registered charity (registration number 118814292RR0001). Our membership is made up of Kananaskis Improvement District, M.D. of Bighorn, Town of Canmore, Town of Banff and Improvement District #9. Each member municipality is represented on our board of directors; the board reports to the Province of Alberta, which created BVRH to assess and address social and seniors housing in the Bow Valley region. As such we must maintain a regional perspective while serving various local communities and taking their needs into account.
BVRH is an excellent example of inter-municipal cooperation in our region. With the support of our member municipalities we are able to ensure over 400 of the region's inhabitants are housed appropriately when they might otherwise be at risk. As well we are able to employee about 36 of the region's citizens in stable, meaningful jobs.
BVRH is one of Alberta's management bodies, all of which were created to determine and as-able address their region's housing needs. As well we are able to partner with health service providers to ensure that many of the region's senior citizens have access to safe and life-enriching accommodation along with hospitality and personal care services.
The mandate of BVRH is to operate the provincially-owned housing portfolio in the region, along with our fully-owned Cascade House, under the Alberta Housing Act and related legislation and regulations. Its primary purpose is to administer and maintain a portfolio of affordable and adequate housing accommodations to those in greatest need in an unbiased manner for the benefit of Albertans to whom the various social housing programs are targeted.
The mandates of the lodges require BVRH to provide affordable room and board to senior citizens, who are functionally independent and in need of enhanced residential support services of meals, housekeeping, laundry services, 24 hour staffing for safety and security, and life enrichment activities in a home like atmosphere and personal care services through collaboration with Alberta Health Services.
The authority of BVRH was established in 1997 via Ministerial Order "MO" No. H:038/97. BVRH was created through the consolidation of three regional housing organizations: The Bow Valley Foundation; The Banff Senior Citizens Society and; The Canmore Housing Authority. The Bow Valley Foundation was originally established by the Province to bring supportive seniors housing to the Bow Valley. This foundation was authorized to requisition it's member municipalities to fund deficits resulting from Seniors Lodge operations in Canmore. Bow River Lodge opened in Canmore in 1975. BVRH has requisitioning authority to cover deficits resulting from its Seniors Lodge program. The Seniors Lodge program has been in place in Alberta since 1959.
You will find a summary of how the MO has evolved; how well it has served the members of BVRH and how it is currently structured below.
MO evolution timeline:
- 1973 - Bow Valley Foundation "BVF" (predecessor to BVRH) is established by the Province of Alberta via an Order in Council to bring Senior's Housing to the Bow Valley.
- 1977 BVF is granted ratepayer-requisitioning authority to fund deficits resulting from Bow River Seniors Lodge operations.
- 1997 BVF is established as an Management Body "MB" via MO No. H:008/97.
- 1997 BVRH is established as an MB via MO No. H:038/97 consolidating` the operations of three previously existing agencies: Bow Valley Foundation, Banff Senior Citizens Society and Canmore Housing Authority under BVRH. This MO continues to serve as the foundation of BVRH authority. There have been some amendments since.
- 1999 MO No. H:064/99 repeals the date clause of MO No. H:038/97. This clause had limited that MO to an interim period of two (2) years.
This model continues to serve the communities of our region and the province well. Since the establishment of BVRH our MO has provided the framework through which the MB has housed many seniors and low-income families of the region, in fact we currently accommodate more than 400 of the people living in the Bow corridor. Since the MO was established in 1997 the members of the board of BVRH have worked well together without ever having to use the veto power afforded to each member. BVRH is a great example of inter-municipal cooperation.
Current clauses of the BVRH MO:
- Establishment of the Management Body.
- Consolidation of three previous housing agencies (Bow Valley Foundation, Banff Senior Citizen's Society and Canmore Housing Authority), transferring those operations to BVRH.
- Order to repeal date clause of original MO.
- Membership of the Management Body (K.I.D., M.D. of Bighorn, Town of Canmore, Town of Banff and I.D.#9).
- Membership of the BVRH Board (K.I.D., M.D. of Bighorn and I.D.#9 1 member each, Town of Canmore and Town of Banff 2 members each) totaling 7 members of the board, each with full voting powers. The Towns of Canmore and Banff each appoint one elected member and one public member who is a senior citizen.
- Governance of the Management Body: Board direction in the areas of appointing board members and entitlement of the board members.
- Requisitioning authority and calculation model.
- Schedule A outlines operational responsibilities, i.e. properties operating under: Seniors Lodge Program; Seniors Self-contained Program; Community Housing program and Rent Supplement Program. An amendment to Schedule A pertaining to Cascade House is currently pending.
- Powers, functions and duties of the MB as provided by specific Regulations of the Alberta Housing Act.
- Veto power of the membership.
- BVRH is much more than just our Seniors Lodge Program. We also operate subsidized housing for low-income seniors who are fully independent. As well we operate subsidized housing for low-income families and we manage the Province's Rent Supplement Program providing financial assistance to low-income households in the region. We are all about helping the people in our many communities! With such responsibility comes a need for effective governance and oversight.
Every management body's governance model is determined by it's board and must meet the requirements of the Alberta Housing Act and Regulations, the applicable Ministerial Order and other pertinent legislation. Most Management Body boards implement the Policy Governance model allowing the CAO and management to manage the day-to-day operations while the board sets policy.
The BVRH Board hires and evaluates the CAO, meets monthly, reviews and approves all BVRH budgets and monthly financial reports, receives monthly operational reports, develops and approves all policies and business plans, sets wages, is responsible for tenant selection, and manages the vision and direction of the management body. As a further control at least one board member must review and authorize every cheque produced by the organization.
Provincial oversight is also achieved through various means. BVRH is inspected and audited regularly by Alberta Seniors and Alberta Health Services. As well the Board hires a Chartered Accountant to perform a full annual audit. Financial and tenant reports must be submitted to the province quarterly. Alberta Seniors reviews our audited annual financial statements.