# 2011-084 - Family Care Assistance (FCA) , Family Care Assistance / Definition of Dependant
F&R Date: 2011–09–11
A few days into a tasking away from her home unit, the grievor, a single parent with two dependent children, was informed she was no longer entitled to family care assistance (FCA) because her oldest daughter had turned 18 years old. In the circumstances, the grievor's chain of command ceased her tasking and authorized her early return home.
In her grievance, the grievor argued her 18-year-old daughter was still attending school on a full-time basis, held a part-time job, and that caring for her younger sister would be placing her schooling and job in jeopardy. The grievor stated she was financially responsible for both her daughters regardless of their age since both were attending school on a full-time basis. She added that as the result of the denial of FCA, she had incurred childcare expenses in the amount of $300.00. As redress, she requested she be reimbursed that amount. The grievor also requested that Compensation Benefits and Instructions (CBI) article 209.335 be amended to allow FCA for dependent children if an 18-year-old sibling who resides with the member is attending school full-time.
The file was referred to the Board without the benefit of an initial authority (IA) decision as the grievor did not grant the IA an extension to the 60-day time limit allowed for a decision.
The Board reviewed CBI 209.335 - Family Care Assistance - and noted that it applies to an officer or non-commissioned member of the Regular Force who has a dependant who is less than 18 years of age; the Board also noted that paragraph 7 of CBI 209.335 adds a limitation in that a member is not entitled to be reimbursed for childcare expenses if a person who is 18 years of age or older is normally resident with the member, unless that person suffers from a physical or mental disability and is incapable of providing childcare or attendant care.
In the circumstances, the Board found that the applicable policy was followed and that the grievor was not entitled to FCA for her younger child because of her oldest daughter's age.
The Board also reviewed the travel directives of the National Joint Council (NJC) of the Public Service of Canada and of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and found that both included an individual 18 years or older who is in attendance full-time at an educational institution in their definition of dependant while the Canadian Forces (CF) policy does not consider this as part of its criteria. Furthermore, the Board noted that individuals who fall under the NJC and RCMP policies who found themselves in the same circumstances as the grievor would have been reimbursed for dependant care for the younger child.
The Board found that it is unreasonable to expect an 18-year-old full-time student, who is also employed, as was the case with this grievor's daughter, to care for younger siblings for an extended period of time, as well as unfair and unreasonable for the CF not to reimburse a CF member for his childcare or attendant care services for younger children, because an 18-year-old resides with him.
The Board recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) deny the grievance.
While unfortunate that any future policy changes will not affect the case at hand, the Board recommended to the CDS that the CF prepare a submission for Treasury Board regarding the CBI dispositions in order to reflect than an 18-year-old attending an educational institution full-time be included in the definition of "dependant". The Board also recommended to the CDS that the submission include changes to the regulation in order to reflect CF members' entitlement to childcare services reimbursement, despite an 18-year-old residing with them.
CDS Decision Summary
CDS Decision Date: 2012–02–24
The CDS agreed with the Board's findings and its recommendation that the grievance be denied. The CDS did not address the Board's systemic recommendations except to indicate that the Board's comments, that an 18 year- old attending an educational institution be considered a dependant for example, will be provided to the DGCB to ensure that situations such as the grievor's are considered in the policy review with TB.
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