# 2014-144 - Home Leave Travel Assistance (HLTA)

Home Leave Travel Assistance (HLTA)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2014–12–23

The grievor was attach posted to the Canadian Contribution Training Mission – Afghanistan (CCTM-A) on Operation ATTENTION Rotation 3 (Roto 3) in Kabul. For operational reasons, the Commander (Comd) CCTM-A decided to withhold Special Leave (Mission) (SL(M)) from certain personnel, which also prohibited Home Leave Travel Assistance (HLTA). This decision was supported by the Comd of Canadian Joint Operational Command (CJOC). While in Kabul, the grievor's Commanding Officer (CO) approved a leave pass for SL(M) for the grievor but was subsequently asked to defer the leave until he arrived in Kuwait due to operational requirements. Once in Kuwait, the grievor submitted a leave pass to his new CO and the request was denied given that the grievor was being sent back to Canada earlier than anticipated. The grievor contended that he was unjustly denied SL(M) and HLTA and pointed out that SL(M) could only be withheld due to imperative military requirements. He argued that the new CO did not have the authority to deny an entitlement he had already been granted by his former CO. As redress, the grievor requested compensation equivalent to the HLTA that he should have been able to use.

There was no Initial Authority (IA) decision for this grievance as it was determined that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) would be the appropriate IA. However, in this case, the CDS will act as Final Authority.

The Committee reviewed the applicable policy with respect to SL(M) including the CCTM-A Theatre Standing Order 0110 – Leave, Defence Administrative Orders and Directives 5060-0 – Leave, Canadian Forces Leave Policy Manual (CFLPM) and Military Foreign Service Instruction (MFSI), as well as the additional information received from CCTM-A Deputy Comd and CJOC staff. The Committee found that the decision to deny SL(M) was clearly the Comd CCTM-A's to make and was reasonably taken in light of military requirements and constraints upon the mission. Given the dynamic conditions and substantial uncertainty surrounding the operation, the Committee's view was that members of Roto 3 should have expected that the mission demands would preclude most of them having an opportunity for SL(M) and thus HLTA, as they were briefed in this regard before leaving Canada for the mission. The Committee found that keeping as many people in theatre for as long as possible and clearing the Canadian military contribution from theatre met the test of imperative military requirements as indicated in the policy.

With regard to the grievor's contention that his previously approved SL(M) should have been granted despite his early return to Canada, the Committee noted that the applicable policy did not allow for SL(M) for personnel who spent less than 210 days in theatre. Therefore, ultimately, the grievor was not entitled to SL(M) given his shorter tour length, and the denial of the leave was in accordance with policy. Further, the CO in Kuwait had to look to his own military requirements and personnel capabilities in making any leave decision concerning the grievor.

The grievor argued that he should be provided compensation equivalent to HLTA. In accordance with MFSI 10.21 – HLTA, the Committee found that the grievor did not meet the criteria required for HLTA since he was reasonably and justifiably denied SL(M).

The fact that the grievor's previous CO had approved SL(M) for specific dates was not complete, as no address while on leave was established nor travel arrangements made. In accordance with MFSI 10.21, a deployed member's entitlement to claim HLTA is dependent on being granted leave and being authorized to travel. The grievor was never authorized to travel, and was therefore not entitled to HLTA. In addition, the Committee noted that the purpose of HLTA is to defray the cost of travel from the member's post outside Canada to their next of kin and return. There was no need to defray such costs for the grievor since no leave or travel was taken. The Committee was satisfied that the grievor was treated fairly, in accordance with the HLTA policy and recommended that the CDS deny the grievance.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2015–06–09

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

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