# 2014-110 - Family Care Assistance (FCA)

Family Care Assistance (FCA)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2014–12–19

The grievor and her two children moved in with her Aunt after receiving confirmation that she would be commencing her Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) training in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) the following month. Upon commencing the BMQ training, the grievor submitted a Family Care Assistance (FCA) claim which was subsequently disallowed by the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS) on the basis that the grievor had co-located with her Aunt prior to enrolment and that the Aunt was taking care of the children.

The CFLRS decision was based on the Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) 209.335(7) (Limitation to entitlement) stipulation indicating that no entitlement exists where a person 18 years or older is normally resident with the member. In the grievor's case, the CFLRS concluded that the Aunt would be considered “normally resident” with the grievor.

The grievor contested the denial of her claim, explaining that she had only moved in with her Aunt a few days before commencing her BMQ course and that the entire arrangement was temporary for the sole purpose of providing 24/7 childcare for her children. The grievor also explained that she had no choice but to make prior arrangements for childcare because she had been advised that she would be called on short notice.

There was no Initial Authority (IA) decision on the file as the grievor refused to grant an extension to the time allowed for IA adjudication.

The Committee recognized that the grievor's Aunt was resident with the children, and to a lesser extent with the grievor, during the BMQ training period. However, the Committee noted that there was no evidence that the Aunt had ever been resident with the grievor prior to her decision to enroll in the CAF. Therefore, the Committee accepted the grievor's explanation that the living arrangement with her Aunt was temporary and were put in place solely to permit her to attend the required military training away from her children.

The Committee reiterated the belief that the term “normally resident” should not be interpreted in a restrictive manner and noted that the Chief of the Defence Staff has previously agreed with this position. The Committee observed that the grievor had moved in with her Aunt just 24 days prior to receiving her letter of offer from the CAF and that, in so doing, she was able to ensure that her children were cared for during her absence.

The Committee concluded that the CFLRS decision to deny the claim was based on an interpretation of the phrase “normally resident” that was too narrow to fully respect the intent of the FCA policy. The Committee found that the Aunt was not "normally resident” with the grievor and her children and recommended the grievor be reimbursed FCA for the childcare expenses she incurred during her absence while on BMQ training.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2016–08–09

Case withdrawn at Final Authority level.

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