# 2014-066 - Class B Reserve Service, Loss of Accrued Reserve Force Retirement Gratuity Benefits, Reserve Force Retirement Gratuity

Class B Reserve Service, Loss of Accrued Reserve Force Retirement Gratuity Benefits, Reserve Force Retirement Gratuity

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2014–07–30

After serving for a number of years in the Primary Reserve, the grievor transferred to another sub-component of the Reserve Force, the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (COATS), where she served consecutive periods of Class B Reserve service.

On 30 March 2012, CANFORGEN 062/12 announced that the accumulation of Severance Pay and Reserve Force Retirement Gratuity (RFRG) would cease, and that the Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) 204.40 and CBI 204.54 were cancelled and replaced by a new CBI 204.40, “Canadian Forces Severance Pay (CFSP)”.

The grievor explains that she was previously entitled to RFRG benefits under the provisions of CBI 204.54, because she met the requirements of the deeming provision found in CBI 204.54(18). However, with the introduction of the CFSP benefit, the grievor noted that the deeming provision no longer existed in CBI 204.40 and that as a consequence, she lost her accrued entitlement to RFRG. The grievor contends that this is unfair and seeks the re-establishment of her accrued severance entitlement.

The Initial Authority (IA), the Director General Compensation and Benefits, took the view that the grievance could not be resolved through the grievance process and did not consider and determine the merit of the grievance.

The Committee had to determine whether the grievor should be entitled to receive the CFSP in recognition of her accrued RFRG benefit.

The Committee found that the grievor would have been entitled to receive the RFRG benefit under the previous policy. However, because CBI 204.40 no longer contained the “Deemed Service” provision previously contained in CBI 204.54(18), and further noting that CBI 204.40(1) (Definitions) specifically defined a member as an officer or non-commissioned member who serves in the Regular Force or P Res Force, for the purposes of entitlement to CFSP benefits, the Committee concluded that the grievor, as a member of the sub-component COATS, was not eligible to receive the CFSP.

While the findings and recommendation were not favorable to the grievor, the Committee found that she had nonetheless been aggrieved.

In reviewing the recent changes to severance pay for the core public administration, Governor-in-Council appointments, executives and law management groups for the public service, it was noted that while the accumulation of Severance Pay type benefits has progressively ceased across the federal government, individuals were not stripped of their accrued entitlements. They were simply no longer permitted to accumulate new entitlements. The Committee noted that CANFORGEN 062/12 conveyed the exact same message; that is the cessation of severance accumulation for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members.

However, in assessing the grievor's situation, the Committee found that contrary to the CANFORGEN's intent, a small segment of the CAF population, which includes the grievor, had, in fact, lost their accrued RFRG benefit. Said differently, one day the grievor had an accrued RFRG entitlement based on more than 20 years of qualifying CAF service and the next day that accrued entitlement was just gone.

The Committee recommended the development of a solution that would see the grievor and the affected segment of the CAF population be made whole and their accrued severance type benefit recognized as it was for all other CAF members, and indeed for all other Federal Government employees.

FA Decision Summary

The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings that the grievor had been aggrieved but that has no entitlement to receive the CFSP benefit under the current policy, and that the CDS has no authority to grant the redress sought. The CDS then explained that the purpose of the new CBI 204.40 was to terminate the accumulation of eligible years of service for the purposes of CFSP but the intent was to retain the vested right to the benefit. The CDS was not aware why the deemed service clause was removed but did not “espouse to the notion that such an oversight was intentional”. He noted that the fact that CBI 204.40 was not published prior to its effective date led to the grievor's loss of benefits and inability to alter her service to remain eligible. He expressed his conviction that this was not the goal of the new CBI. The CDS agreed with the Committee's systemic recommendation in another file and he directed the CMP, in conjunction with the TB, to develop a solution that will allow those members who lost their entitlement to an RFRG as a result of the deletion of the "deemed service" clause, to regain their eligibility for the CFSP. CMP should equally consider the aspect of retroactivity in this matter.

Page details

Date modified: