# 2013-075 - Attach Posting Benefits, Overpayment, Recovery of Overpayment

Attach Posting Benefits, Overpayment, Recovery of Overpayment

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2014–01–31

The grievor accepted a Class B service offer from September 2010 to August 2011. Her attached posting instruction message indicated that, pursuant to the Canadian Forces Temporary Duty Travel Instruction (CFTDTI), she would receive free rations and quarters (R&Q). In February 2011, following the promulgation of Canadian Forces General Message (CANFORGEN) 033/11 announcing that members on attached postings would no longer receive travel duty benefits, her benefits ceased and she began to pay for partial R&Q. She filed a grievance contesting the cessation of the benefits, stating that she had accepted the Class B offer based on the promise that she would receive free R&Q. As remedy, she requested reinstatement of her benefits and reimbursement for out of pocket expenses incurred for meals. In January 2012, CANFORGEN 008/12 announced the reinstatement of benefits. Article 3.015 was added to the CFTDTI at the same time. This article provided that duty travel benefits would only apply to those reservists on attached postings who were filling an establishment position entered in the Canadian Forces Task Plans and Operations (CFTPO) database. The grievor subsequently received reimbursement for the partial rations she had paid for but not for the additional meal expenses she incurred on her own.

The Initial Authority, the Acting Director General Compensation and Benefits (DGCB), denied the grievance, concluding that the grievor met all of the conditions to receive the benefits except that her position had not been entered in the designated CFTPO database. The Initial Authority also stated that since the grievor was not on a tasking but was serving in a temporary employment situation, all reimbursements that she received for the period from February to August 2011 were errors that had to be recovered.

The Committee first found that the grievor was not serving on a tasking, that it would have been inappropriate to enter her service in the CFTPO database, and that she was not entitled to duty travel benefits under the CFTDTI policy. The Committee then sought to determine why such a stipulation was necessary.

The DGCB staff, in response to a question from the Committee, explained that the intent of the new CFTDTI article was to limit attached posting benefits to only those serving on an incremental tasking identified in the CFTPO database. However, the DGCB staff did not explain why it was necessary or desirable to exclude reservists serving on temporary employment periods of less than a year from being eligible to receive duty travel benefits. In the absence of any type of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) rationale for such an exclusion, the Committee concluded that the policy change was arbitrary, unfair and not well thought out, noting that such a policy would appear to make it difficult for the CAF to attract reservists to fill key temporary employment needs in the future.

The Committee also found it unfair to cease the grievor's duty travel benefits midway through her attached posting and period of employment after she accepted the employment offer based on the promise that she would receive free R&Q.

The Committee recommended that the CDS partially grant redress, noting that the CDS could exercise his discretion pursuant to Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces 208.52, to remit all R&Q charges for the grievor during her entire attached posting period. Although this CDS discretion only permits the remission of R&Q charges and could not be used to reimburse the additional meal expenses incurred by the grievor off-base, the Committee found that it could be used to ensure that the grievor would not be subjected to recovery action in relation to the R&Q which she did receive.

The Committee also recommended that the CDS amend the CFTDTI policy effective 1 February 2011, to authorize the inclusion of other databases so as to permit reservists serving on attached postings in a temporary employment role to be entitled to receive duty travel benefits. Finally, the Committee observed that many CAF members who received financial benefits in error while on attached postings still face an uncertain future with respect to whether the CAF intends to commence recovery action. The Committee encouraged the CDS to address the situation promptly and fairly.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2014–08–18

The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) agreed with the Committee's recommendation to partially uphold the grievance. The CDS was satisfied that the grievor accepted an offer of Class ''B'' Reserve Service that included temporary duty (TD) benefits in good faith and that the cessation of these benefits part way through the grievor's period of service, as well as the subsequent possibility of recovery of these benefits, is unfair. The CDS used his discretion, as recommended by the Committee, to remit her rations and quarters charges for the entire period of the grievor's attached posting. The CDS did not agree with the Committee's recommendation and its associated finding that the Canadian Forces Temporary Duty Travel Instruction (CFTDTI) policy be amended to include other databases. Since the Res Svc needs are unique and complex, the CDS was not convinced that associating TD benefits for attached postings to a position in Canadian Forces Task Plans and Operations (CFTPO) is a well-thought-out strategy. In order to have a better understanding of this rationale and the Reserve requirements, the CDS directed the Director General Compensation and Benefits to engage the Chief Reserves and Cadets to revisit the TD policy with emphasis on the impact of the CFTPO requirements for attached postings.

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