# 2014-043 - Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP), Relocation Expenses

Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP), Relocation Expenses

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2014–05–30

The grievor contested the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration's (DCBA) decision to deny his request for reimbursement of relocation expenses associated with a Short Distance House Hunting Trip (SDHHT) and Temporary Dual Residence Assistance (TDRA).

Having only used four out of five possible days available for a SDHHT, the grievor argued that he was entitled to the reimbursement of the eligible expenses incurred to attend his home inspection. The grievor also contended that he was entitled to TDRA from his Core benefit envelope for actual and reasonable expenses associated with maintaining two residences in accordance with article 8.2.07 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP). The grievor was of the view that his financing fell within the definition of a first mortgage and that he met all other conditions.

While there was no Initial Authority decision on file, the DCBA was not supportive of the grievor's requests. On the SDHHT issue, DCBA considered that the grievor's had completed his SDHHT and that his request amounted to a destination inspection trip. With regard to the TDRA issue, DCBA considered the grievor's refinanced mortgage on his unsold residence as a second mortgage. As such, in accordance with article 8.3.13 of the CF IRP, DCBA considered that the grievor eligible expenses could only be reimbursed from his Custom benefit envelope.

The Committee had to determine whether the grievor was entitled to reimbursement of eligible relocation SDHHT and TDRA expenses from his Core benefit envelope upon relocation in 2008.

On the SDHHT issue, the Committee found that the grievor had not yet secured accommodation, as defined by the CF IRP, when he travelled to attend his house inspection. Therefore, as the grievor had only used four days (compared to five days normally authorized as part of a standard HHT), the Committee concluded that the grievor should be reimbursed from his Core benefit envelope for the admissible expenses he incurred that would not exceed the cost of one standard HHT in accordance with article 4.2.06 of the CF IRP.

Upon review of the grievor's claim for TDRA, the Committee determined that the grievor's loan met the definition of a first mortgage. The Committee found that the mortgage was created to access available equity in the property rather than maintain the residence, as intended for the purposes of TDRA. As such, the Committee concluded that the reimbursement of the interest charges claimed on the basis of TDRA had been rightly denied. The Committee then proceeded to review the grievor's claim on the basis of article 8.3.12 (Bridge Financing) of the CF IRP but found that it did not apply to the grievor's specific circumstances. Notwithstanding the absence of an explicit provision within the CF IRP, the Committee found the grievor's actions to be an honest and real effort to comply with the intent and spirit of the Bridge Financing section of the CF IRP. As such, the Committee was of the opinion that the use of discretionary authority, in accordance with article 2.1.01 of the CF IRP or in the alternative, article 209.013(2) of Compensation and Benefits Instructions, would be appropriate in the circumstances to grant reimbursement of the grievor's interest charges from his Custom benefit envelope.

The Committee recommended that redress be partially granted.

FA Decision Summary

The FA agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation. While the grievor found a potential home during a previous HHT, he was under no legal obligation to acquire it since the purchase was conditional on a satisfactory building inspection. Thus, the FA agreed that the grievor did not secure accommodation at his new place of duty and his last trip to finalize the sale can be classified as an additional HHT, as opposed to a DIT, which impacts the use of the Custom funding envelop. The FA also directed DCBA to allow reimbursement of the grievor's interest on his mortgage, again from the Custom funding envelop, as though it was a HELOC and not a second mortgage, as per article 2.1.01 of the CF IRP. Given the preceding, the FA directed DCBA to recalculate the amount of Custom funds used and to reimburse the grievor for additional mortgage interest from any remaining Custom funding.

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