# 2014-094 - Accommodation, SE Benefits - Establishment of multiple rates for private accommodation , Separation...
F&R Date: 2014–10–31
After being posted to a new location on imposed restriction (IR), the grievor entered into a Standard Residential Tenancy Agreement, renting a portion of another Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member's principal residence. The rent was set at the maximum of the non-commercial accommodation monthly rate for Separation Expense (SE) benefits. Two days after he signed the lease, the grievor was informed of a newly released policy on SE which included a definition for private accommodation. SE claims were submitted and paid to the grievor for 16 months at the non-commercial accommodation rate at which point, it was determined that an error was made and that the grievor's claims were in excess of his entitlement. Recovery actions were undertaken by the CAF.
The grievor challenges the decision to recover funds from him as a result of an overpayment of the SE benefit.
The Initial Authority (IA) denied the grievance, however, he believed that the grievor exercised due diligence in attempting to determine the correct amount of SE. He stated that the grievor was provided erroneous advice, which he relied on to his detriment.
The Committee had to determine whether the grievor was entitled to receive the non-commercial or the private accommodation rate of SE for his lodging while on IR and whether an argument of detrimental reliance could be made that would call into question the requirement to repay an overpayment.
The Committee found that the grievor's rented accommodation clearly fit the description of a private accommodation found in Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) 208.997 and concluded that he was not entitled to the reimbursement of rent at the non-commercial rate. As CBI 208.997(8) limits the amount of the SE benefit for private accommodations to the equivalent of the monthly rate for a single quarter Type H1, rated “very good”, the Committee found that the grievor has been overpaid.
The Committee then reviewed the criteria for negligent misrepresentation and determined that the grievor's situation did not meet at least one of the five general conditions established by the Supreme Court of Canada. More specifically, the Committee found no evidence indicating that the grievor was provided untrue, inaccurate or misleading information. Further, a review of the 16 claims signed by the grievor revealed that the rates for private, non-commercial and commercial accommodations were clearly indicated on each form. Having concluded that the grievor's situation did not meet the test for negligent misrepresentation, the Committee recommended that the grievance be denied.
CDS Decision Summary
CDS Decision Date: 2015–03–25
The Chief of the Defence Staff agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be denied.
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