DAOD 5018-4, Return to Duty Program for Canadian Armed Forces Members

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Overview
  4. Operating Principles
  5. Specifications, Conditions and Standards
  6. Return to Duty Program Administration
  7. Compliance and Consequences
  8. Responsibilities
  9. References

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2019-07-12

Application: This DAOD is an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).

Supersession:

Approval Authority: Chief of Military Personnel (CMP)

Enquiries: Director Casualty Support Management (DCSM)


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2. Definitions

injured or ill CAF member (militaire blessé ou malade)

A CAF member who is suffering from an injury, disease or illness that results in temporary or permanent physical or psychological harm.

Note – The definition of “injured or ill CAF member” includes a “seriously injured or ill CAF member” and a “very seriously injured or ill CAF member”. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 43113)

return to duty (retour au service)

The temporary accommodation of medical employment limitations of an injured or ill CAF member in order for the CAF member to return fit for general and operational duties. (Defence Terminology Bank, record number 695721)

return to duty medical recommendation (recommandation médicale de retour au service)

The medical employment limitations, modified duty schedule and follow-up monitoring plan recommended by a CAF health care provider for the return to duty of an injured or ill CAF member. (Defence Terminology Bank, record number 695722)

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3. Overview

Purpose

3.1 The timely return to duty (RTD) of injured or ill CAF members is promoted and facilitated by the RTD Program, a comprehensive recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration program for injured or ill CAF members. The RTD Program helps also to maintain the operational readiness of the CAF. The RTD Program assists the CAF with meeting the duty to accommodate injured or ill CAF members (see paragraph 4.5).

3.2 The RTD Program involves an injured or ill CAF member, their chain of command, their primary health care providers (PHCPs) from the Canadian Forces Health Services Group (CF H Svcs Gp) and the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group (CAF TG). It is recognized that some injured or ill CAF members will be unable to RTD and will eventually transition out of the CAF.

3.3 Early intervention after a CAF member has become injured or ill is essential for a successful RTD. The RTD Program provides the best opportunity for an injured or ill CAF member to RTD in their military occupation as soon as medically possible. To ensure the success of the RTD Program, an injured or ill CAF member must be confident that their chain of command will fully support their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration.

RTD Plans

3.4 A CAF member is placed on RTD status when their RTD medical recommendation is being implemented in an RTD plan approved by their unit commanding officer (CO). An RTD plan is a written arrangement between a CAF member and their CO that incorporates the RTD medical recommendation into a patient-based, goals-oriented framework that supports the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of the CAF member.

3.5 To be successful in the RTD Program, each injured or ill CAF member must have an RTD plan prepared in accordance with the Return to Duty Guide for CAF Members, with collaborative input from all the stakeholders invested in returning the CAF member to duty. An RTD plan serves as the road map for the CAF member to follow to RTD and lays out the duties that the CAF member can perform within the parameters of their RTD medical recommendation that are specific to their rank, military occupation and skills. Each RTD plan must have realistic and achievable goals that are integrated with, and cumulatively build on, the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration capacity of the CAF member. To measure success, each RTD plan must also have benchmarks established that can be assessed in terms of time and the ability of the CAF member to progressively assume more activities and, eventually, general and operational duties. See the Return to Duty Guide for CAF Members for further details.

3.6 The development of an efficient RTD plan requires consideration of the unique needs and circumstances of the injured or ill CAF member, along with local stakeholder relationships, expectations and standing operating procedures. As a result, the provisions in the Return to Duty Guide for CAF Members are general in application to allow for flexibility in the development and implementation of a tailored RTD plan for each injured or ill CAF member.

RTD Process

3.7 The RTD process is set out in detail in the Return to Duty Guide for CAF Members. The RTD process consists of the following:

  1. PHCP assessment and making of the RTD medical recommendation;
  2. intake with the Unit RTD Representative and the Transition Centre (TC) RTD coordinator;
  3. consultation with stakeholders;
  4. development and approval of the RTD plan;
  5. implementation of the RTD plan;
  6. monitoring of the progress of the CAF member and adjustments to the RTD plan as required; and
  7. return of the CAF member to general and operational duties or transition out of the CAF.

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4. Operating Principles

CAF Obligation and Commitment

4.1 In accordance with the principle of values-based leadership and the Integrative CF Leadership Model described in A-PA-005-000/AP-004, Leadership in the Canadian Forces – Conceptual Foundations, the CAF has the obligation to directly influence the essential outcomes of mission success and the value set of CAF member’s well-being and commitment. In the context of the RTD Program, CAF leaders and COs have the responsibility to:

  1. support CAF members in their recovery from injury or illness;
  2. take all reasonable steps in order that injured or ill CAF members return medically fit, employable and deployable for general and operational duties;
  3. manage injured or ill CAF members with openness and understanding while meeting operational requirements; and
  4. apply the RTD Program in a fair and consistent manner.

4.2 The CAF is committed to providing care and opportunities for all injured or ill CAF members through:

  1. early intervention and appropriate communication of medical employment limitations (MELs) and relevant functional capabilities between a CAF member, their chain of command and CF H Svcs Gp;
  2. providing meaningful opportunities to serve for the benefit of CAF members and the CAF;
  3. the fair, respectful and equitable treatment of all CAF members; and
  4. the commitment of base and wing commanders and unit COs to provide effective organizational support for CAF members on RTD status.

RTD Program Principles

4.3 The RTD Program requires that leaders provide flexible and creative options for duties that support the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of an injured or ill CAF member.

4.4 The RTD Program requires that an injured or ill CAF member must respect and comply with the terms of their RTD plan and be committed to their own recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration.

Duty to Accommodate

4.5 The duty to accommodate the needs of ill or injured CAF members is a legal obligation under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act. Subject to the requirement of universality of service, the CAF must accommodate the needs of ill or injured CAF members unless accommodating those needs would impose undue hardship on the CAF, considering health, safety and cost.

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5. Specifications, Conditions and Standards

Specifications

5.1 An RTD plan must be guided by the fulfillment of the following specific goals:

Goal Type Goal Description
Individual
  • The CAF member will become medically fit, employable and deployable for general and operational duties.

Tactical

  • The CAF member will perform a function at their unit, base or wing.

Operational

  • The CAF member will contribute to overall unit, base or wing effectiveness and efficiency.
Strategic
  • Training and experience will be retained when the CAF member meets the minimum employment and operational standards.
  • Trust in CAF leadership and the CF H Svcs Gp will be promoted.
  • The reputation of the CAF as an employer of choice will be enhanced.

5.2 An RTD plan for an injured or ill CAF member must:

  1. comply with the PHCP’s medical recommendation for the CAF member and be approved by their CO;
  2. set out the duties that the CAF member is expected to perform, and the location and duration of those duties;
  3. set out the days and times during unit-scheduled duty periods when the CAF member will be performing duties;
  4. set out what is expected of the CAF member during the unit-scheduled duty periods when the member is not performing duties; and
  5. set out what is expected of the CAF member during off-duty periods.

Conditions

5.3 The following table sets out the conditions that apply to CAF members placed on RTD status:

Conditions Description
Sick Leave
  • A CAF member is not on sick leave unless leave is specifically authorized as “sick leave” by a medical officer or their CO.

Places of Duty

  • The places of duty of a CAF member are those places as set out in their RTD plan.

Duty Periods

  • The duty periods of a CAF member are those days and times of day during unit-scheduled duty periods when the CAF member is performing duties, either at their unit, another unit or a civilian placement, as set out in their RTD plan.
  • Duty periods may include the attendance of the CAF member at medical, physiotherapy and occupational therapy appointments, as well as the participation of the CAF member in physical fitness training periods, as set out in their RTD plan.
  • During unit-scheduled duty periods, a CAF member must not engage in full- or part-time civilian employment, an undertaking or volunteer work, unless:
    • the CAF member complies with Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces (QR&O) article 19.42 and paragraph 4.1 of DAOD 7021-1, Conflict of Interest; and
    • the TC RTD coordinator determines that the MELs assigned to the CAF member will permit the civil employment, undertaking or volunteer work, and not cause harm to or interfere with the treatment of the CAF member.
  • During unit-scheduled duty periods, a CAF member may not receive pay or other compensation for any duties performed at a civilian placement as part of their RTD Plan.

Note – Civilian placements agreed to in an RTD plan do not constitute civil employment or an undertaking for the purpose of QR&O article 19.42.

Off-Duty Periods
  • The off-duty periods of a CAF member include:
    • the times of day during unit-scheduled duty periods when the CAF member is not performing duties (such as meal breaks), either at their unit, another unit or a civilian placement, as set out in their RTD plan; and
    • the days and times of day outside of unit-scheduled duty periods.
  • During off-duty periods, a CAF member, other than a Reserve Force member on Class “A” service, must not engage in full- or part-time civil employment, an undertaking or volunteer work, unless:
    • the CAF member complies with QR&O article 19.42 and paragraph 4.1 of DAOD 7021-1; and
    • the TC RTD coordinator determines that the MELs assigned to the CAF member will permit the civil employment, undertaking or volunteer work, and not cause harm to or interfere with the treatment of the CAF member.

Note – Off-duty periods do not constitute leave when accounting for the expenditure and management of the annual leave of a CAF member. Although not performing military duties during off-duty periods, the CAF member is following an RTD medical recommendation being implemented within an RTD plan approved by their CO.

Standards

5.4 RTD Program principles must be applied consistently and fairly with the primary goal of returning injured or ill CAF members fit for general and operational duties.

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6. Return to Duty Program Administration

Eligibility

6.1 Any injured or ill CAF member is eligible for the RTD Program.

Placement on RTD Status

6.2 Consideration for the RTD Program begins with an assessment by a PHCP. If it is medically appropriate, the PHCP issues an RTD medical recommendation.

6.3 An injured or ill CAF member whose course of recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration is expected to take longer than 30 days but less than six months should be placed on RTD status and remain with their home unit.

6.4 An injured or ill CAF member whose recommended course of recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration is expected to take six months or longer should be placed on RTD status and may be posted to the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group (CAF TG).

RTD Plan Approval Authority

6.5 The approving authority of the RTD plan for a CAF member who remains with their unit is the CO of that unit. The approving authority of the RTD plan for a CAF member posted to the CAF TG is the CO of the Transition Unit (TU).

RTD Plan Responsibility

6.6 The CO of a CAF member is responsible to ensure that the RTD plan respects the MELs of the CAF member and promotes the interests of the CAF. All stakeholders are responsible to ensure that the RTD plan of a CAF member promotes the safe and healthy recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of the CAF member.

End State

6.7 The RTD of a CAF member is considered successful when the PHCP of the CAF member determines that the CAF member is once again medically fit, employable and deployable for general and operational duties.

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7. Compliance and Consequences

Compliance

7.1 CAF members must comply with this DAOD. Should clarification of the policies or instructions set out in this DAOD be required, CAF members may seek direction through their chain of command. Military supervisors have the primary responsibility for and means of ensuring the compliance of their CAF members with this DAOD.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

7.2 CAF members are accountable to their military supervisors for any failure to comply with the direction set out in this DAOD. Non-compliance with this DAOD may have consequences for both the DND and the CAF as institutions, and CAF members as individuals. Suspected non-compliance may be investigated. Military supervisors must take or direct appropriate corrective measures if non-compliance with this DAOD has consequences for the DND or the CAF. The decision of a level one advisor or other senior official to take action or to intervene in a case of non-compliance, other than in respect of a decision under the Code of Service Discipline, will depend on the degree of risk based on the impact and likelihood of an adverse outcome resulting from the non-compliance and other circumstances of the case

7.3 The nature and severity of the consequences resulting from non-compliance should be commensurate with the circumstances of the non-compliance and other relevant circumstances. Consequences of non-compliance may include one or more of the following:

  1. the ordering of the completion of appropriate learning, training or professional development;
  2. the entering of observations in individual performance evaluations;
  3. increased reporting and performance monitoring;
  4. the withdrawal of any authority provided under this DAOD to a CAF member;
  5. the reporting of suspected offences to responsible law enforcement agencies;
  6. the application of specific consequences as set out in applicable laws, codes of conduct, and CAF policies and instructions;
  7. other administrative or disciplinary action, or both; and
  8. the imposition of liability on the part of Her Majesty in right of Canada and CAF members.

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8. Responsibilities

8.1 The following table identifies the responsibilities associated with this DAOD:

The... is or are responsible for ...
CAF TG / DCSM
  • managing, coordinating and facilitating the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of injured or ill CAF members on RTD status;
  • providing RTD Program guidance to CAF members of the Regular Force and Reserve Force;
  • establishing the framework for specifications and requirements for RTD plans; and
  • providing direction and oversight for the strategic management of the RTD Program.

Director Medical Policy

  • monitoring all health services issues relating to the RTD of CAF members.

PHCPs

  • assessing injured or ill CAF members and determining the need to provide an RTD medical recommendation; and
  • issuing, when appropriate, an RTD medical recommendation and carrying out the necessary follow-up.
TC RTD/service coordinators
  • coordinating the RTD Program at bases, wings and units; and
  • assuring, in collaboration with the unit RTD representative, the coordination, planning and development of RTD plans for injured or ill CAF members.
Unit RTD Representatives
  • advising their unit CO on the development and coordination of RTD plans for the injured or ill members at their unit; and
  • providing effective and efficient support to assist injured or ill members in developing and implementing their RTD plans, and monitoring their progress.
COs
  • appointing and supporting representatives to facilitate the operation of the RTD Program at their unit or other element.
injured or ill CAF member on an RTD plan
  • complying with all terms of their RTD plan.

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9. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

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