# 2009-059 - Allowances and Benefits, Payment of interest, The Administration and the Eligibility Criteria for the...

Allowances and Benefits, Payment of interest, The Administration and the Eligibility Criteria for the Land Duty Allowance (LDA) in the Canadian Forces

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2010–10–07

In 2008, articles 205.33 and 205.335 of the Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) – Land Duty Allowance (LDA) and Casual Land Duty Allowance (CLDA) were promulgated retroactive to 1 April 2007. The purpose of this allowance is to compensate Canadian Forces (CF) members exposed to difficult working conditions and harsh environments in the field after being posted to field units "whose primary role is combat manoeuvre and training for operations".

The grievor filed a grievance and indicated that the eligibility criteria for the LDA, specified at CBI 205.33, had been wrongly interpreted by the CF. He claimed that his unit met the definition of a field unit. He asked for his unit to be added to the list of units eligible for the LDA retroactive to 1 April 2007 and for reimbursement of the amount of $15,555, representing the LDA for which he was eligible for the period from 21 June 2008 to 16 April 2009.

In addition, during the processing of his grievance, the grievor submitted further comments expressing a sense of injustice relative to the LDA. The grievor suggested that, given the nature of their roles, other units on the LDA eligibility list were not confronted to the same degree as his unit with difficult working conditions and harsh environments in the field for long periods of time. The grievor also compared specific members of units eligible for the LDA to members of his own unit and alleged that despite the fact that these members were not exposed to difficult working conditions and harsh environments in the field they were nevertheless receiving the LDA.

The CFGB sent a series of questions concerning the application of the LDA directive to the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP) and the Chief of Land Staff (CLS) . In his response, the CLS explained that because of the role of the grievor’s unit it failed to meet the definition of “field unit” provided in CBI 205.33(1); he did add, however, that it was possible to have positions that met the eligibility criteria within particular units not deemed field units.

For his part, the CMP outlined the current process for designating field units and noted that there were no criteria for designating a unit a “field unit” other than those listed in the definition in CBI 205.33(1). The CMP added that although it had been the CF’s intention to revise the list of field units every two years, regular reviews had yet to be carried out owing to personnel shortages.

The CFGB established that according to CBI 205.33(2) there were three ways for a CF member to become eligible for the LDA: by being posted to a field unit, by being posted to a unit designated by the Minister or by occupying a position designated by the Minister.

The CFGB found that the grievor's unit did not meet the definition of “field unit” set forth in CBI 205.33(1) and that the Minister should not designate the grievor’s unit to make it eligible for the LDA because the members of the unit were not exposed to difficult working conditions and harsh environments in the field for long periods of time.

Consequently, the CFGB recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) deny the grievance.

The CFGB did acknowledge the possibility, however, that certain positions within the grievor’s unit might meet the criteria governing eligibility for the LDA or CLDA and recommended that the CDS order a review in the grievor’s unit to determine whether certain positions might be designated eligible for the LDA.

Taking a broader view, the CFGB also noted certain problems with the administration and management of the LDA in the CF that warranted closer scrutiny.

The CFGB recommended that the CDS order the harmonisation of the two versions (English and French) of the “field unit” definition in CBI 205.33(1).

The CFGB recommended that the CDS reaffirm, on behalf of the CF, the list of field units issued by the Director General Compensation and Benefits to make it clear that this is in fact the list of units that the CF considers field units.

And, finally, the CFGB recommended that the CDS order a review of the list of field units to ensure that only units that genuinely meet the definition of field unit are included.

Systemic Recommendations.

Given the impact of this policy’s application on the morale of Army personnel and the capacity of units that fail to meet the “field unit” definition to attract and retain quality personnel, the CFGB was of the opinion that the CDS should consider ordering an in-depth review of the LDA and harmonizing the standards therein.

As a result, the CFGB also formulated a number of recommendations on the administration and criteria affecting eligibility for the LDA in the CF.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2012–04–18

The CDS agreed with the Board’s recommendation that the grievance be denied. The CDS decided not to address the Board’s recommendation to order a review in the grievor’s unit to determine whether certain positions might be eligible for the LDA, because it is unrelated to the grievance.

The CDS agreed with the Board’s finding that the English version of CBI 205.33 should be preferred, but for different reasons. Contrary to the Board, the CDS found that the French version of the CBI was more restrictive, since it lists only one type of unit that can be considered a “field unit,” while there are three types in the English version. Therefore, more units meet the English definition than the French. Moreover, field units are not limited to those whose role is [combat] manoeuvre; they also include combat support and combat service support units. The CDS expressed disagreement with the Board’s finding that the French version of CBI 205.33 includes units that offer training. In his view the English and French versions are identical on this point, because the primary role described in the CBI is divided into two distinct functions: combat manoeuvre and training for operations. The conjunction “and” implies that a unit must perform both these functions in order to meet the definition of “field unit,” and Infantry School does not. The CDS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to harmonize the French and English versions of the definition of the term “field unit” in CBI 205.33 and therefore ordered DGCB to review the current policy.

The CDS also agreed with the Board’s systemic recommendation that a review of units removed from the list since 2007 should be conducted, but rejected the Board’s recommendation to sanction the list of field units issued under the CBI, since it is possible the list contains units that do not meet the definition of “field unit.” Because the grievor did not ask that his position be designated by the Minister for LDA purposes, the CDS did not address the Board’s recommendation to order a review of positions at Infantry School.

Since the CLS is currently completing an LDA reform proposal, including its elimination, the CDS decided not to comment on the Board’s systemic recommendation to review LDA management, but ordered the CLS and the CMP to make the LDA reform a priority file.

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