# 2013-069 - Allowances and Benefits, Assignment of Military Personnel to the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) through the OUT-OF-CANADA Program (OUTCAN), Honours and Awards, Military Foreign Service Instruction (MFSI)

Allowances and Benefits, Assignment of Military Personnel to the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) through the OUT-OF-CANADA Program (OUTCAN), Honours and Awards, Military Foreign Service Instruction (MFSI)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2014–08–29

The grievor disagreed with and challenged the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) decision to consider his employment with the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) in South Korea as an OUT-OF-CANADA (OUTCAN) posting rather than an operational tour. In addition, the grievor maintained that his duties with the UNCMAC merited a distinctive award. In support of his proposal, the grievor submitted that the nature of his duties, which he stated were performed primarily in the isolated and high-risk environment of the Demilitarized Zone, justified its designation as an operational tour with associated benefits and appropriate recognition specific to the UNCMAC mission.

The Chief of Staff, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, as the Initial Authority (IA) in this matter, did not support the grievor's proposal. The IA found that the Strategic Joint Staff (SJS) had carried out an appropriate review prior to the CAF's determination to proceed with an OUTCAN posting rather than a CAF operation. The IA maintained that this decision was validated four years later, following a further review, when the choice was made to continue the CAF's contribution to the UNCMAC through OUTCAN postings. The IA pointed out that Canada's contribution to the UNCMAC was not a government of Canada or Minister of National Defence directed operation but Canada's response to an invitation to fill billets within the UNCMAC headquarters. In response to the grievor's request for specific recognition of his service with the UNCMAC, the IA found that service with the UNCMAC was already recognized as part of the eligible service for the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal (CPSM).

The Committee had to determine whether the decision to characterize the grievor's deployment as an OUTCAN posting was reasonable and in accordance with policy and whether the grievor's duties with the UNCMAC merit a distinctive award. The Committee noted that the VCDS directive on the OUTCAN programme governance and command and control, which sets out the authority and responsibility for the OUTCAN Programme, did not contemplate the grievor's situation. As the grievor served within a multinational Operational Command in an active theatre of operation, the Committee concluded that his employment should have been through a CAF Operation, similar to Canada's first participation in UNCMAC from 1953 to1978. The Committee was of the opinion that properly assigning members to missions through an operation and designating a Special Duty Area cannot be overstated. These decisions not only shape the benefit landscape but also define the level and extent of protection offered to CAF members should an injury occur or evolve as a result of the operation.

In response to the grievor's view that service with the UNCMAC warranted recognition by a special award, the Committee reiterated the IA's finding that appropriate recognition already existed for service with the UNCMAC as part of the eligible service for the CPSM. The Committee noted that it remained open to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) to recognize performance for a deed or activity that went beyond the demands of normal duty by way of a CDS Commendation should the CDS believe the circumstances warranted.

The Committee recommended that Canada's latest military contribution to the UNCMAC be amended to reflect a CAF operation.

The Committee recommended that the grievor's record be amended and his entitlement and benefits be reviewed in light of the previous recommendation.

FA Decision Summary

The FA disagreed with the Committee's findings and recommendations, and denied the grievance. He found that the CAF had agreed to fill one UNCMAC position for three years through 12-month rotations from 2007 to 2010. However, in late 2007, the position was transitioned to a new title and to duties in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) without proper staffing. During his 2008–2009 rotation, the grievor informed CFSU(O) of the positional and geographical change and the requirement to work at the DMZ, and requested that the position be recognized as an operational mission. He pursued administrative resolution without success until 2012 and then submitted a grievance.

The FA found that the changes to the position were never authorized by any Canadian chain of command and that UNCMAC could not be considered an operational mission in the absence of clear direction from the Government of Canada. The CDS's intent in accepting to fill the position had been to provide an officer to perform staff duties in Seoul, with any UNCMAC duties being secondary. Furthermore, the FA noted that consistent information showed Canada's contribution to UNCMAC as continuing to remain within the staff liaison domain of support.

The FA also found that any peacekeeping duty the grievor performed was fully recognized by his CPSM.

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