CAF improves relocation benefits policy

March 4, 2021 - Defence Stories

Frequent relocations are among the challenges Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members are likely to face over the course of their careers.

The Department of National Defence (DND) and the CAF recognize the stress that these relocations, along with other aspects of military life, place on CAF personnel and their families, and are committed to a relocation policy that is fair.

After a comprehensive review of relocation policies for CAF members, changes have been made to ensure that personnel receive equitable, reasonable, and up-to-date benefits appropriate for present-day economic realities.

Effective April 1, 2021, the Canadian Armed Forces Relocation Directive (CAFRD) replaces the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive (CFIRPD).

Which policy applies to you?

Household goods and effects loaded April 1, 2021, or later.

CAFRD

Household goods and effects loaded before April 1, 2021.

CFIRPD

In terms of transition, the CAFRD will apply to members who are posted and proceed unaccompanied before April 1, 2021 and subsequently move their household goods and effects after that date.

Some relocation policy changes included in the CAFRD follow the significant changes made in 2018 to the CFIRPD in an effort to better align CAF relocation benefits with those offered to their Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Public Service counterparts.

The most noteworthy change in the new directive is that there is no longer a “personalized” funding component. However, it is important to note that there has been no reduction in the overall amount of benefits available. Most types of expenses reimbursed under this component are now covered under the “core” and “custom” components.

For example, recognizing the reality of most moves, costs for things such as connecting or disconnecting phone, cellular, internet, electricity, and heating services, with some provisions, are now covered under the core component of benefits. Core funding is intended to cover essential moving expenses and is not subject to an overall limit, as the personalized component was. Postal and courier services have also been moved from the personalized component of benefits to the core component of benefits.

Other benefits that used to be considered personalized are now considered “custom,” which are benefits considered to be enhancements to basic relocation expenses. This component now includes expenses for moving pets, second house-hunting trips (the first one is still core), supplemental appraisals on a home (the first one is still core), and costs related to third or subsequent vehicles (the first one is still core, while the second one remains custom).

New relocation expenses now covered include the moving of service dogs (not subject to the cap on pet expenses), building inspections for rentals in international locations where legally necessary, and airline baggage fees. Additionally, the core funds available for the professional cleaning of new and old residences have been doubled.

Some benefits formerly considered personalized have been repealed. These include benefits for home staging, mortgage interest buy-downs, interest on home-relocation loans, and new-build warranties. These are mostly taxable benefits and it was found that the tax implications put members no further ahead. As well, their repeal puts the CAF’s relocation directive more in line with relocation policies elsewhere within the Government of Canada.

For more information, read the Canadian Armed Forces Relocation Directive here.

Lastly, minor amendments have been made to Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) Chapter 208, Section 8, which governs relocations for members who have not completed training and those who are prohibited from moving their household goods and effects. Such changes bring the CBI more in line with the new CAFRD.

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