# 2014-112 - Compassionate Travel Assistance (CTA)

Compassionate Travel Assistance (CTA)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2014–11–26

The grievor and his spouse travelled to Russia to take care of an ailing family member, who was also recuperating from surgery. The grievor was granted compassionate leave by his Commanding Officer (CO) for part of the trip, for which he submitted a request for compassionate travel assistance (CTA) upon his return. The request was denied by the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration because the intent of the CTA benefit was for family presence in the event of a serious illness of such severity that the family member's life is in immediate danger. The grievor argued that due to patient backlog and operating space, his family member's life-saving surgery could not have taken place any sooner. He also noted the difficulties in travelling to Russia and obtaining the proper documents.

The Initial Authority (IA), the Director General Compensation and Benefits stated that in accordance with Compensation and Benefits Instruction (CBI) 209.51 – Compassionate Travel Assistance, CTA allows to travel within Canada when a member's presence is required due to serious illness and injury of a family member. He added that a serious illness or injury must be “of such severity that the patient's life is in immediate danger.” The IA stated that the explanations and information provided by the grievor did not support his family member's life being in immediate danger. He denied the grievance.

The Committee reviewed CBI 209.51 and found that the grievor's family member met the criteria of immediate family. However, the Committee found that there was no evidence that his family member's life was in immediate danger as required by the policy. The medical certificate provided by the grievor did not describe a life-and-death situation, and the fact that his family member's surgery was delayed, showed that it was not deemed urgent or immediate. Therefore, there being no justification for entitlement to CTA, the Committee found that the denial of his claim was reasonable and justified in the circumstances.

The Committee also found that the granting of compassionate leave by the grievor's CO may not have been justified as his situation did not meet the conditions of being urgent and exceptional as required by the Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces 16.17 – Compassionate Leave. However, given the length of time it took to finally provide the grievor with an answer on this matter, the Committee found that it would be unfair that, at this time, the granted compassionate leave be reversed to annual leave.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2015–02–25

The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be denied.

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