2013-14 Report on Plans and Priorities

2013-14
Report on Plans and Priorities

Canadian Forces Grievance Board


(The original version was signed by)

The Honourable Peter G. MacKay
Minister of National Defence


Table of Contents


Chairperson’s Message

Picture of Bruno Hamel Chairperson of the Canadian Forces Grievance Board

As the Chairperson of the Canadian Forces Grievance Board (CFGB), I am pleased to submit the CFGB's Report on Plans and Priorities for 2013-14.

Despite a significant increase in the number of grievance referrals (the highest since 2002) and the current environment of fiscal restraint, the Board continued in the past year to improve its operational efficiency. At the same time, the Board actively contributed to government wide efforts to increase effectiveness and reduce costs. This document presents the CFGB’s plans to continue on this path in 2013-14, while remaining alert and ready to respond to any change to the context in which it operates, both as a federal organization and as the external review body for military grievances.

In 2013-14, the Board will ensure it remains prepared to deal with an increase in the number of grievances referred for its review, as a new model of referrals is being evaluated by the Canadian Forces.

As well, the Board will continue to rigorously examine and adjust its internal grievance review process, while remaining committed to the professional development of its employees. A robust review process and a knowledgeable and professional workforce, coupled with Board membership’s continuity, have proven over the years to be the Board’s best assets in ensuring its Findings and Recommendations are of the highest quality.

From a governance perspective, the Board’s plans remain driven by its commitment to management excellence, sound internal oversight and alignment with government initiatives. In 2013-14, the Board will continue to participate in the Government of Canada’s Shared Systems, Shared Services, Web Renewal and other initiatives aimed at ensuring pan-government consistency and reducing costs. Other plans in the areas of Human Resources and Information Management/Information Technology include preparing to move to PeopleSoft, the development of a migration strategy plan for the Government of Canada standardized and consolidated Enterprise Electronic Document and Records Management System (GCDOCS) and the implementation of a virtual desktop. Finally, the Board will continue to invest in its workforce and to provide employees with a healthy and productive work environment.

The year ahead will undoubtedly bring its share of challenges; I am, however, confident that once again the Board will be successful in achieving the plans outlined in this report thanks to the dedication and professionalism of our employees and Board members. Together, we will continue to strive to achieve our vision - To be a centre of expertise in military grievances and a model administrative tribunal, through fair and efficient processes, professionalism, and good governance.

 

Bruno Hamel
Chairperson

Section I: Organizational Overview

Raison d’être

The raison d’être of the Canadian Forces Grievance Board (CFGB or the Board) is to provide an independent and external review of military grievances. Section 29 of the National Defence Act (NDA) provides a statutory right for an officer or a non-commissioned member who has been aggrieved, to grieve a decision, an act or an omission in the administration of the affairs of the Canadian Forces (CF). The importance of this broad right cannot be overstated since it is, with certain narrow exceptions, the only formal complaint process available to CF members.

Responsibilities

The Board is an independent administrative tribunal reporting to Parliament through the Minister of National Defence.

The Board reviews military grievances referred to it and provides findings and recommendations (F&Rs) to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) and the officer or non-commissioned member who submitted the grievance.

The Board also has the obligation to deal with all matters before it as informally and expeditiously as the circumstances and the considerations of fairness permit.

Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture

Figure 1

Canadian Forces Grievance Board's Program Activity Architecture
[text version]

Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture of the CFGB

Strategic Outcome: The Chief of the Defence Staff and members of the Canadian Forces have access to a fair, independent and timely review of military grievances.

Program Activity: Review of Canadian Forces grievances referred by the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Program Activity: Internal Services

Organizational Priorities

 

Priority 1
Priority Type Strategic Outcome
1. Operational Performance - Ensure optimum productivity and excellence Ongoing The Chief of the Defence Staff and members of the Canadian Forces have access to a fair, independent and timely review of military grievances.
Description

Why is this a priority?

To ensure high quality and timely F&Rs thereby contributing to the fairness and efficiency of the grievance process.

Plans for meeting the priority

  • Manage and monitor internal production timelines.
  • Conduct assessments of the Board’s internal grievance review processes and monitor workload planning assumptions.
  • Produce high quality F&Rs.
  • Analyse CDS Decisions and Federal Court decisions.
  • Conduct surveys of stakeholders to assess the impact of the Board’s work.
Priority 2
Priority Type Strategic Outcome
2. Communicate the Board’s role and activities. Ongoing The Chief of the Defence Staff and members of the Canadian Forces have access to a fair, independent and timely review of military grievances.
Description

Why is this a priority?

To ensure that stakeholders have a better understanding of the Board’s role and activities. To share the Board’s perspective on significant issues arising from our review of grievances.

Plans for meeting the priority

  • Communicate the Board’s role and activities through base visits and publications.
  • Publish summaries of cases reviewed as well as recommendations on issues of systemic nature made to the Final Authority (FA).
  • Conduct surveys of target audiences and assess their level of awareness and understanding of the Board’s role and activities.
Priority 3
Priority Type Strategic Outcome
3. Operational Performance – Exercise leadership and maintain the overall effective management of the CFGB. Ongoing The Chief of the Defence Staff and members of the Canadian Forces have access to a fair, independent and timely review of military grievances.
Description

Why is this a priority?

To meet government-wide management and accountability priorities through management excellence and sound internal oversight.

Plans for meeting the priority

  • Ensure sound stewardship of resources, focusing on efficiencies and cost reduction.
  • Standardize business processes and systems in support of Whole of Government initiative.
  • Ensure a healthy and productive workplace where staff are motivated and develop professionally.

Risk Analysis

Organizational Context

Since it began operations in 2000, the CFGB has carried out its statutory responsibilities as the external and independent component of the CF grievance process.

The Board reviews all military grievances referred to it by the CDS, as stipulated in the NDA and article 7.12 of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces (QR&Os). The types of grievances that must be referred to the Board are those involving administrative actions resulting in deductions from pay and allowances, reversion to a lower rank or release from the CF; application or interpretation of certain CF policies, including those relating to conflict of interest, harassment or racist conduct; pay, allowances and other financial benefits; and entitlement to medical care or dental treatment. The CDS has the discretion to refer other cases to the Board where an independent external review would be useful.

The Board has the obligation to deal with all matters as informally and expeditiously as the circumstances and the considerations of fairness permit. Following its review of grievances, the Board submits its F&Rs to the CDS, at the same time forwarding a copy to the grievor. The CDS is the final decision-maker and is not bound by the Board’s F&Rs, but must provide reasons, in writing, in any case where they are not accepted.

External Context

Supporting improvements to the grievance process

As indicated above, only certain categories of grievances are required to be referred to the Board for review, which represent approximately 40% of the total number of grievances that reach the Final Authority (FA) level. Therefore, not every grievor whose grievance has reached the FA level benefits from the Board's external review of his or her complaint.

A new model for grievance referrals proposed to the Armed Forces Council (AFC) will continue to be tested. This new referral process would see the Board review all grievances reaching the FA level where the CF is unable to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the grievor. The Board examined its workload planning assumptions and, based on the previous year’s numbers, concluded that it could anticipate a 20% increase in referrals from the CF for 2013-14.

Maintaining productivity standards

The Board has no control over the volume of cases referred to it by the CF. Should the volume of grievances increase quickly; the Board may be challenged to meet its internal production standards.

An assessment of the risk related to a sudden influx of grievances being referred to the Board was conducted and rated as medium. To mitigate this risk the Board will conduct assessments of its internal grievance review processes to identify further opportunities for streamlining and closely monitor workload planning assumptions.

Internal Context

Security

The issue of security was addressed during the annual review of the Board’s Risk Profile, and appropriate strategies were put in place to mitigate potential threats to the integrity of the organization’s assets and institutional knowledge. Information security is critical in the context of disclosures of personal and protected information, and the Board will implement a number of practices aimed at ensuring the security of information, which include:

  • Certification and accreditation of IT infrastructure;
  • Physical security awareness training;
  • Awareness training on the Access to Information and Privacy; and
  • Readiness for a Privacy Impact Assessment.

The Board is committed to maintain the focus on security until security awareness becomes an integral part of organizational activities and culture.

Planning Summary

Financial Resources (Planned Spending – $ thousands)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)
2013-14
Planned Spending
2013-14
Planned Spending
2014-15
Planned Spending
2015-16
6,695 6,695 6,706 6,706
Human Resources ( FTEs)*
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
46 46 46

*Includes Board Members appointed by Governor in Council.

Planning Summary Table for Strategic Outcome and Program ($ thousands)
Strategic Outcome Program Actual
Spending
2010-11
Actual
Spending
2011-12
Forecast
Spending
2012-13
Planned Spending Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
The Chief of the Defence Staff and members of the Canadian Forces have access to a fair, independent and timely review of military grievances. Review of Canadian Forces grievances 2,279 4,001 4,335 4,352 4,359 4,359 Well-managed and efficient government operations
Sub –Total 2,279 4,001 4,335 4,352 4,359 4,359  
Planning Summary Table for Internal Services ($ thousands)
Program Actual
Spending
2010-11
Atcual
Spending
2011-12
Forecast
Spending
2012-13
Planned Spending
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Internal Services 3,247 2,396 2,682 2,343 2,347 2,347
Sub –Total 3,247 2,396 2,682 2,343 2,347 2,347
Planning Summary Total ($ thousands)
Strategic Outcome Program and Internal Services Actual
Spending
2010-11
Actual
Spending
2011-12
Forecast
Spending
2012-13
Planned Spending
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Total 5,526 6,397 7,017 6,695 6,695 6,695

Expenditure Profile

In 2013-14, the Board plans to spend $ 6.695 million to meet the expected results of its program activities and contribute to its strategic outcome. Over the past few years, the Board has generally been consistent in its rate of spending.

Figure 2: Spending Trend ($ thousands)
2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016
Spending 5,700 5,500 6,400 7,000 6,800 6,800 6,800

Estimates by Vote

For information on our organizational appropriations, please see the 2012-13 Main Estimates publication.


Section II - Analysis of Program Activities by Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome: The Chief of the Defence Staff and members of the Canadian Forces have access to a fair, independent and timely review of military grievances.
Performance Indicators Targets
Percentage of clients who are satisfied with the Board’s ability to improve the administration of the affairs of the Canadian Forces (CF) through the quality of its Findings and Recommendations (F&Rs) and the information tools it provides.

Data Source: Survey & interview of CF members, decision makers & administrators.

At least 75% of respondents agree and strongly agree.

Trend in the % of surveyed grievors who are satisfied with the fairness, equity and transparency of the process.

Data Source: Grievor Survey.

70% of grievors agree and strongly agree.

% of Systemic recommendations accepted by the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).

Data Source: CDS Decisions where he agreed a systemic recommendation merited further action.

75% accepted.

% of CFGB’s grievance process timeline standards met.

Data Source: CFGB statistics and monitoring information.

Established standards are being met 75% of the time.

Program No. X2006363: Review Canadian Forces grievances

Program Description

The Chief of the Defence Staff refers grievances as prescribed under the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces as well as every grievance concerning a decision or an act of the Chief of the Defence Staff in respect of a particular officer or non-commissioned member to the Board for its findings and recommendations. The Board conducts objective and transparent reviews of grievances with due respect to fairness and equity for each member of the Canadian Forces, regardless of rank or position. It ensures that the rights of military personnel are considered fairly throughout the process and that its Board Members act in the best interest of the parties concerned. The findings and recommendations it issues are not only based in law but form precedents that may facilitate change within the Canadian Forces. As an administrative tribunal designed to review grievances, the Board must ensure that its recommendations comply with the law and can be implemented in accordance with its enabling legislation, relevant human rights legislation and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)
2013-14
Planned Spending
2013-14
Planned Spending
2014-15
Planned Spending
2015-16
4,352 4,352 4,359 4,359
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents ( FTEs)
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
32 32 32
Performance Measurement
Program Activity Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets
Intermediate Outcome – Enhanced confidence in the grievance process and the administration of the affairs of the Canadian Forces. % of stakeholders that agree that the external review provided by the CFGB adds to the adjudicative fairness of the process.

Data Source: Stakeholders Survey.

75% of stakeholders agree and strongly agree.

Immediate Outcome – The Chief of the Defence Staff is assisted in rendering decisions on grievances and is informed of systemic issues. % of F&Rs with which the CDS disagrees on the basis of errors in law or fact.

Data Source: CDS Decisions.

Less than 10% of the cases upon which the CDS disagrees, or 1% of all files.

Immediate Outcome – Stakeholders have an increased awareness and understanding of the CF grievance process, regulations, policies and guidelines affecting Canadian Forces members. % of positive feedbacks from CF Initial authorities on the usefulness of publications of case summaries, systemic recommendations and lessons learned.

Data Source: Interviews of CF Initial Authorities.

75% of respondents agree and strongly agree.

Planning Highlights

In order to achieve the expected results, the following highlights some of the key activities which the Board plans to undertake during 2013-14:

Maintaining efficiency

Operational efficiency remains a priority at the Board in order to respond to its obligation to review grievances expeditiously.

The Board will review its productivity standards to better reflect its improved efficiency thus contributing to the CDS’ intention to have the grievance process take less than one year from the time a member submits a grievance to his/her Commanding Officer to the point at which the final decision is rendered by the FA.Footnote 1

Assure the quality of F&Rs

As an administrative tribunal, the Board has the obligation to review every case fairly and impartially. Each file is reviewed carefully and on its own merits while taking into consideration the issues raised in the complaint, the relevant evidence and the submissions of both the grievor and the CF authorities.

The Board will continue its efforts to assure the quality of its F&Rs by analysing the CDS and Federal Court decisions and assessing the impact on future cases.

The Board will maintain its robust internal review process and remain committed to the professional development of its employees.

Communicate the results of our review of grievances.

Through its publication and articles, the Board provides important information to senior leadership, decision makers, administrators and CF members as well as sharing with stakeholders its unique perspective on issues that come to its attention while reviewing grievances.

Communicating its role and activities and the results of its work remains a priority for the Board in 2013-14. The Board will conduct evaluations of the effectiveness of communications activities and will continue to develop tools to obtain feedback from stakeholders and target audiences.

The Board’s key communications activities will include the following:

Publications
  • Case summaries provide the reader with the Board’s position on grievances reviewed in the last three years. The FA decision is included on those cases when available.
  • Recommendations on Systemic Issues: These summaries provide information on issues affecting not only the grievor but other CF members and for which leadership intervention may be required. The Board also posts the decisions of the FA on any follow-up actions.
  • Perspectives is a newsletter primarily directed to senior officers at CF Headquarters. Through Perspectives, the Board shares valuable information with CF decision-makers, about grievance trends and areas of dissatisfaction that come to our attention during the review of individual grievances.
  • eBulletin is an electronic bulletin available exclusively through the Board’s Web site which highlights current and interesting cases recently reviewed by the Board.
Base Visits
  • The Board intends to visit two Canadian Forces bases during the planning period. These visits aim at maintaining direct communication with members of the CF in their work environment. They provide with an opportunity to directly exchange information about issues and concerns related to complaint resolution and to learn about the Board’s work and procedures. They also allow Board members and grievance officers to better understand current conditions and challenges in the CF.
Feedback tools
  • Grievors Satisfaction Surveys: a survey conducted on a voluntary and anonymous basis seeking to obtain feedback from the grievor on the services provided by the Board while conducting the review of their grievance.
  • Presentation Surveys: a survey is conducted of base personnel attending the Board’s presentations, during base visits, to measure the effectiveness of the presentation and the level of awareness of the Board’s role and activities within the CF grievance process.
  • Stakeholders Surveys: as part of its Performance Measurement Framework, the Board will survey selected key stakeholders on the usefulness of its publications as a tool for CF senior leadership, decision makers, administrators involved in the CF grievance process.

Program No. X2006364: Internal Services

Program Description

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations or an organization. These groups are: Management and Oversight Services; Communication Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; Acquisition Services and Travel and Other Administrative Services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not to those provided specifically to a program.

Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)
2013-14
Planned Spending
2013-14
Planned Spending
2014-15
Planned Spending
2015-16
2,343 2,343 2,347 2,347
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents* - FTEs)
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
14 14 14

*Includes Board Members appointed by Governor in Council.

Planning Highlights

In order to achieve the expected results, the following highlights some of the key activities which the Board plans to undertake during 2013-14:

Sound stewardship of resources

In preparation for expected increased volume of grievances referred to the Board, investment plans and resource management strategies will be monitored to ensure a readiness for increased demand. In 2013-14, the Board will develop a framework, and implement its new Internal Control Policy, monitor investment plans, and develop enhanced budget allocation and costing processes to ensure optimal use of resources. Workload planning assumptions will be reviewed and business continuity and readiness will be prioritized. Deficit Reduction Action Plan and other cost saving initiatives will be implemented to ensure adequate operational funding for increased workload.

To improve management of information, the Board will develop a migration strategy plan for the Government of Canada standardized and consolidated Enterprise Electronic Document and Records Management System (GCDOCS), and share implementation lessons with other government departments, particularly small and micro agencies with limited resources for information management. This will include reviewing and updating Information Management business rules and procedures, as well as user training on the new system. This initiative will enhance the Board’s document management processes and increase production.

The Board will implement measures to increase productivity and reduce its long term IT operating costs by implementing a virtual desktop and enhanced network monitoring and reporting. Network performance will be improved and backup systems made more secure through upgraded Servers and Network switches. IT security will be monitored and awareness of risks and mitigating strategies will be reinforced with staff.

Alignment of Information and Technology with Whole of Government initiatives

The Government of Canada is moving toward Shared Systems and Shared Services in all of its operations. There is a need to rationalize the many financial, human resources and information management systems currently in use in departments and agencies. This will reduce costs of development and maintenance and enhance the government’s ability to produce pan-government information.

In 2013-14, the Board will continue to organize its processes and systems to support the shared data and shared systems objectives of the Government of Canada. As we move forward on government-wide initiatives such as the Web Renewal Initiative, and Common Enterprise Data Initiative (CEDI) , we will share our experience and knowledge with cluster members to save costs and enhance consistency government-wide. In sync with cluster readiness, the Board will be preparing to move to PeopleSoft, the common Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) initiative of the Government of Canada for Human Resource Management.

To improve management of information, the Board will develop a migration strategy plan for the Government of Canada standardized and consolidated Enterprise Electronic Document and Records Management System (GCDOCS), and share implementation lessons with other government departments, particularly small and micro agencies with limited resources for information management. This will include reviewing and updating Information Management business rules and procedures, as well as user training on the new system. This initiative will enhance the Board’s document management processes and increase production.

The Board will implement measures to increase productivity and reduce its long term IT operating costs by implementing a virtual desktop and enhanced network monitoring and reporting. Network performance will be improved and backup systems made more secure through upgraded Servers and Network switches. IT security will be monitored and awareness of risks and mitigating strategies will be reinforced with staff.

Ensuring a healthy and productive Workplace

Within the context of Integrated Business and Human Resources Planning, the Board will continue to invest in its workforce as a priority. Building on the results of the most recent Public Service Employee Survey, the Board will support career development of staff and proactively manage succession plans to ensure a smooth knowledge transfer in key positions.


Section III - Supplementary Information

Financial Highlights

Future-Oriented
Condensed Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position

For the Year (ended March 31)
($ thousands)
  $ Change Forecast
2013-14
Estimated Results
2012-13
Total Expenses 244 7,044 7,288
Total Revenues - - 0
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 244 7,044 7,288
Departmental net financial position 67 (129) (196)
Future-Oriented Condensed Statement of Financial Position
For the Year (ended March 31)
($ thousands)
  $ Change Forecast
2013-14
Estimated Results
2012-13
Total net liabilities (93) 674 766
Total net financial assets (31) 307 338
Departmental net debt (62) 366 428
Total non-financial assets 6 237 231
Departmental net financial position 67 (129) (196)

Future-Oriented Financial Statements

The financial highlights presented within this Report on Plans and Priorities are intended to serve as a general overview of the CFGB's operations. The Board's financial statements can be found on the CFGB's Web site at:
http://www.cfgb-cgfc.gc.ca/fsr-ref/fo-pr/2013-2014/index-eng.html

List of Supplementary Information Tables

The following electronic information table is located on the Board’s Web site Greening Government Operations

Tax Expenditures and Evaluations Report

The Department of Finance’s annual Tax Expenditure and Evaluation publication. The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures annually in the Tax Expenditures and Evaluations publication. The tax measures presented in the Tax Expenditures and Evaluations publication are the sole responsibility of the Minister of Finance.


Section IV - Other Items of Interest

Visit the Board's Web site at http://www.cfgb-cgfc.gc.ca/ for more information. We invite you to consult some of the grievance cases for which the Board has issued F&Rs in the Case Summaries section, which is updated on a regular basis as well as statistical data over the last five years in the Statistics section. You can also learn more about the Board's role in the Canadian Forces Grievance Process section

Organizational Contact Information

Cynthia Beeman
Executive Director
Canadian Forces Grievance Board
Telephone: (613) 996-7027
E-mail: Cynthia.Beeman@cfgb-cgfc.gc.ca

Canadian Forces Grievance Board
Toll free telephone: 1 877 276-4193
Toll free fax: 1 866 716-6601
Fax: (613) 996-6491
(613) 995-8201
(613) 992-6979


End Notes

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