FAQ: Travel and Work Abroad

Will Defence Team personnel employed on exchange to other nations adopt the same protocols with respect to PHMs and the wearing of PPE?

Defence Team personnel employed on exchange to other nations shall comply with PHM and PPE protocols as prescribed by their host nations, but not less than those prescribed by DND/CAF as a minimum.

What information is currently available regarding CAF travel restrictions?

For the most up-to-date information regarding traveling restrictions for DND/CAF personnel, please see the CDS/DM Directive on DND/CAF Reopening Strategy (summer 2021 posture) and related CANFORGENS. Presently both duty/work and non-duty/non-work related domestic and international travel are authorized for CAF personnel and will be approved through the same pre COVID-19 pandemic process used in CAF, provided that the starting, destination, and any countries transited through do not restrict such travel. Provincial, territorial, regional, municipal, and host nation restrictions must be adhered to.

If traveling within Canada for duty-related reasons, CAF members may be exempted from provincial/territorial travel restrictions if authorized for a specific duty, where advice has been sought on the activity. For non-duty domestic travel, all periods of self-isolation and quarantine required by local public health authorities at the destination, and any points in between, must be covered by annual leave. If required to quarantine upon return to place of residence, chains of command will be responsible for determining whether remote work is feasible for the quarantine period and, if not, annual leave will be required for that time period.

For international duty-related travel, while all domestic and international restrictions should be adhered to. It is understood that due to the unique considerations and environments in which CAF operates, it may not always be possible to adhere to all Government of Canada international travel restrictions. For this reason, international duty-related travel for CAF members has specific exemptions. For international non-duty related travel, all periods of self-isolation or quarantine required by local public health authorities at the travel destination, and at any points in between, must be covered by annual leave. If quarantine is required upon return, chains of command will determine if remote work is feasible. If not, annual leave will be required for that time period. Members are responsible for making the arrangements to meet COVID-19 testing requirements from local public health authorities and all costs incurred will be at the member’s expense.

Are there currently any travel restrictions for public service employees?

While traveling domestically for work-related purposes, travel for DND employees will be approved through the pre COVID-19 pandemic process used by DND/CAF provided the starting point, destination, and any points transited through do not restrict such travel. All provincial, territorial, regional, municipal, and host nation restrictions must be adhered to.

If you are planning to engage in travel (whether international or domestic), you must abide by public health travel advisories, active travel health notices, and restrictions outlined by provincial and territorial authorities. Note that a mandatory isolation period may be required upon your return. As a result, please consider that additional leave may need to be utilized if remote work is not possible.

Links to each Provincial and Territorial Government site are posted on the Defence Team COVID-19 page to allow members to find the most up-to-date information on travel restrictions, self-isolation requirements, and inter-provincial travel and functionality for all Defence Team members.

For more information on domestic and international travel for public service employees, please see the CDS/DM Directive on DND/CAF Reopening Strategy (summer 2021 posture).

I work OUTCAN and was extended for an extra year because of COVID-19. Although I did have to pay out of pocket to renew my driver's license and plates for the extra year, can these be reimbursed? And if so, by who?

Benefits are dependent on where you are posted and what kind of work you are doing. Generally speaking, if you are in a country where the expenses for driver’s license renewal and plates are higher than they are in Canada, you will be reimbursed the difference between the cost in Canada and the host country.

However, this is dependent on the country you are in and the position you hold, and may not apply. Please contact your URS for further information concerning your benefits, as they will have the information specific to your situation.

I am being directed to travel overseas. I will self-isolate in a hotel in a foreign city for 10 days and 14 days upon return. Is there compensation (over time or other) provided to employees that are required to self-isolate due official travel.

Compensation provided to employees while on Travel Status is subject to the National Joint Council’s Travel Directive and the applicable, existing articles of your Collective Agreement. Although there is no compensation expressly allowed for self-isolating during or after official travel contained within your Collective Agreement, you are encouraged to speak to your manager and your local Union representative prior to travelling for support and advice to determine what provisions are applicable to your circumstances during the self-isolation period. Your manager should consult with their Labour Relations Advisor so that all parties come to an equitable solution and determine fair compensation for the prescribed period.

Given the increased difficulties of house hunting during the pandemic (highly competitive housing market, travel restrictions, waiting for vaccination appointments, etc.), how should members proceed during posting season?

Members should consult CANFORGEN 028/21 CMP 018/21 182016Z MAR 21 paragraph 7 when planning House Hunting Trips (HHT) or Destination Inspection Trips (DIT), as they may be prohibited or restricted. If quarantine is required at your destination, then the HHT/DIT is not authorized. Members can check if quarantine is required at the destination by contacting the Public Health Authority at their target destination or by checking the CAF HHT/DIT website. If you have concerns about moving during posting season, please reach out to your chain of command to discuss your personal situation.

I had to travel domestically for training purposes. I was told by provincial government that I am exempt from 14-day isolation. Can my chain of command can force me to isolate even though provincial public health measures state I am exempt?

Members are to follow all restrictions in place, whether provincial, regional, etc. In cases where Provincial Health Services have stated members are exempt from self-isolation, it would be at the discretion of the member’s chain of command (CoC) if they would still require the member to self-isolate. Members are encouraged to reach out to their local CoC to obtain information for their area.

I live in New Brunswick, and I’m waiting to take a House Hunting Trip (HHT) to Quebec. I’ve been informed that my HHT will be denied. Is this true? When will I be able to take my HHT? When can we expect the next update on the subject?

Approval or denial of a House Hunting Trip (HHT) is the decision of the commander of the losing unit. When the commander receives a request for HHT, they should contact the winning unit for information on local restrictions and then act on the request.

When preparing for relocation, members are encouraged to contact the Canadian Armed Forces relocation coordinator to get the current restrictions for the location in question.

Is there a reference that says that military members are federally exempt from quarantining while travelling through provinces during posting season?

There is no reference that provides direct exemption from quarantining for military members travelling during posting season. Members are advised to have their posting message on hand, and to have a copy of an exemption letter which should reflect the member’s specific situation. There is no automatic exemption for anyone, although some Provincial Health Services have made arrangements to accommodate military families. Members are to remain informed of local restrictions and are encouraged to contact their new chain of command who can provide the status on their new location.

For further guidance on posting and relocations during COVID-19, members are encouraged to read the Canadian Armed Forces relocation directive, and to reach out to their Canadian Forces integration relocation program coordinator, both of which can be found on the Military Personnel Command benefits page (accessible on the intranet) under “Relocation Management”.

I have been denied by my commanding officer to go on my House Hunting Trip (HHT) due to COVID-19 restrictions. The move is in within the local area and not out of the province. Why can I go in to work every day but am not allowed to go on my HHT?

According to CANFORGEN 035/21 CMP 022/21 291455Z MAR 21, Domestic Relocation Planning in Relation to COVID-19 (APS 2021), a House Hunting Trip (HHT)/Destination Inspection Trip (DIT) to a destination where quarantine is not required can proceed but members should carefully consider all the risks when planning their HHT. If quarantine is required at the destination, an HHT/DIT trip is prohibited at this time.

According to the HHT/DIT Information on Local Community Conditions, the final decision for the approval or denial of an HHT is the decision of the losing unit’s commanding officer (CO). When the CO receives an HHT application, they contact the gaining unit to obtain information on local restrictions and then action the request accordingly.

The COVID-19 situation varies by region and commanders are empowered to resume and constrain business resumption and return to work activities asymmetrically. Commanders have been granted significant flexibility for decisions concerning returning to the workplace, as long as force health is not compromised and all Public Health Measures and the Layered Risk Mitigation Strategy are followed. That is why you may have to return to work but are prohibited from conducting your HHT/DIT trip. If you have any further questions about business resumption at your unit or HHT/DIT restrictions, please raise the issue with your supervisor or direct chain of command.

A military member has been posted from Halifax to the National Capital Region. This member is requesting to stay in Halifax and work from home. Is there a directive for this?

While the pandemic has demonstrated that much can be accomplished through remote work, not all tasks can be successfully completed this way. Some tasks must be done in person. The factors DND/CAF consider when determining the feasibility of remote work include local Public Health Measures (PHMs), operational requirements, infrastructure changes, and mental health. CAF leaders are carefully and deliberately re-opening workplaces while steadfastly supporting the health of the Defence Team, and have been granted significant flexibility to make decisions about whether returning to in-person and on-site work is necessary. As such, remote work, virtual work, hybrid models, and other flexible work arrangements will play an increasing role in the post-pandemic context.

All Defence Team members are encouraged to have open and honest conversations with their chains of command to determine what work arrangements best meet their needs and the needs of their team. If you and the supervisor cannot reach an agreement, you can contact your local Conflict & Complaint Management Service (CCMS). If you cannot resolve your issue locally, you may submit a grievance under Queen’s Regulations and Orders Chapter 7.

I am concerned about the effects COVID-19 restrictions will have on my posting. Where can I find information about the local restrictions I will have to deal with when I arrive?

Members are to abide by all federal, provincial, regional, and local restrictions that are in place. Links to each Provincial and Territorial Government site are posted on the Defence Team COVID-19 page to allow members to find the latest updates including travel restrictions and self-isolation requirements.

When preparing for relocation and posting during COVID-19, members should read the Canadian Armed Forces relocation directive, and reach out to their chain of command or their Canadian Armed Forces integration relocation program coordinator (accessible only on the National Defence network) at their new location for additional guidance, as destination location restrictions are constantly changing.

How will the CAF catch up on training and recruitment backlogs that occurred due to COVID?

According to the latest CDS/DM Directive, the continuation of training and recruiting remain top priorities for CAF, and plans continue to develop for the conduct of these activities in a latent COVID-19 environment. At this time, it is not possible to know the extent of the impact that COVID-19 will have on Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) recruitment and training but the CAF has adapted to virtual training, where possible, and has rigorously applied the layered risk mitigation strategy and Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines to recruitment and training activities. The implications of deferred training and recruitment are being assessed and careful planning and preparations are ongoing to ensure that personnel, resources, and equipment are ready. Every effort is being made to ensure the CAF/DND workforce is safe while making progress where possible on critical activities like recruitment and training.

I need confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test result for compassionate travel. Can DND administer the test and provide me this confirmation?

A negative test result is not required for travel within Canada. If you are leaving Canada to travel to an international destination, you will not be required to provide a negative test result to the Canadian public health authority. However, you must contact your airline or public health authority at the destination to determine the public health measures being enforced there. International travel requires following destination public health measures for travelling to a country and following Canada’s public health measures for re-entering Canada.

DND/CAF does not provide COVID-19 testing for the purposes of international travel for compassionate reasons. That test will need to be conducted by the health authority in the destination country before returning to Canada. For information regarding getting a negative test result required by the destination country, please contact your local public health authority.

If a fully vaccinated DND employee has to travel for work to another province, will they have to quarantine upon return? If their province's public health deems they do not have to quarantine will DND required them to quarantine?

If you are traveling between provinces within Canada, you will have to abide by the provincial and territorial rules, restrictions, and Public Health Measures (PHMs) of those provinces and territories, including the provinces/territories that are transited through between the origin and destination. If you are traveling between provinces where the rules and restrictions are different, you must abide by the rules that are the most stringent. All travelers within Canada, regardless of vaccination status, must continue to follow all PHMs, testing, and quarantine requirements. DND has no additional requirement for employees to quarantine if local public health guidelines state otherwise.

Exemptions are determined provincially by the local public health authority, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, federal, provincial, and territorial governments, health authorities, and public health experts. If you have questions or concerns regarding the exemptions of specific provinces, please contact the public health authority for that province.

When will military members be allowed to travel outside the country on leave for leisure unrestricted?

The guidance on whether military members are able to travel internationally for leisure purposes can be found in the CDS/DM Directive on DND/CAF Reopening Strategy (Summer 2021 Posture). Presently both duty/work and non-duty/non-work related domestic and international travel are authorized for CAF personnel and will be approved through the same pre COVID-19 pandemic process used in CAF, provided that the starting, destination, and any countries transited through do not restrict such travel. Provincial, territorial, regional, municipal, and host nation restrictions must be adhered to.

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