# 2014-145 - Component Transfer (CT), Overpayment, Pay

Component Transfer (CT), Overpayment, Pay

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2015–01–06

The grievor grieved the recovery of an overpayment associated with the incorrect calculation of his pay, over a period of five years. The grievor maintained that he should not be held accountable for the Canadian Armed Forces' (CAF) administrative error, given that he had initially raised the issue of his pay five years earlier and been assured there was no concern. As redress, the grievor requested that the overpayment be forgiven, his pay level be corrected and amended income tax statements be issued.

The Initial Authority (IA) found that the grievor had been overpaid upon his component transfer (CT) into the Regular Force (Reg F). The grievor had been erroneously paid the pay rates for a qualified pilot rather than the appropriate General Service Officer (GSO) pay rates, resulting in a substantial overpayment. The IA did note that the resulting financial burden imposed by the recovery was mitigated by two further adjustments. First, the IA found that upon achieving his pilot qualification, the grievor was not awarded the appropriate pay increments (PI). Secondly, the grievor was entitled to pay in lieu (PIL) of his Canadian Forces Severance Pay (CFSP). As a result, the majority of the grievor's overpayment was offset by these two amounts. In response to the grievor's argument that it was unfair to seek recovery as the grievor had exercised due diligence by seeking correction of his pay, the IA advised that he did not have the authority to forgive or write-off the grievor's debt nor did he find it just to do so. The IA concluded that the overpayment was to be recovered from the grievor and declined to forward the grievor's file to Treasury Board (TB) for further consideration and remittance.

The Committee agreed that the grievor was paid in excess of his entitlements from the date of his transfer to the Reg F. Upon CT, the grievor should have been paid as a GSO until he became qualified as a pilot, commencing at PI 4 from the date of his qualification onwards.

The Committee found that despite the grievor's enquiries, the CAF had neglected to correct his pay for over five years. The Committee found that the resulting magnitude of the overpayment adversely affected the grievor's life and ability to plan for his future. In addition, the grievor's unit had failed to offer him the option of reversing the use of his PIL of CFSP, thus triggering negative tax implications for the grievor.

As the grievor was a serving member, the Committee determined that his debt could not be written off. The Committee also recognized that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) had previously indicated that remission orders were not feasible for most overpayments of individual members. Nonetheless, the Committee determined that the CAF had to find a fair and meaningful way to resolve situations like those of the grievor. The Committee recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff forward the grievor's file to the Director Civil Claims and Litigation in order that consideration be given to compensating the grievor in accordance with the Treasury Board Directive on Claims and Ex Gratia Payments.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2016–05–16

The CDS did not agree with the Committee's recommendation that the grievor's file be forwarded to DCCL. The CDS concluded that contingencies such as write-off and remission could not apply to the overpayment received by the grievor, since he remained a CAF serving member and capable of repaying his debt to the crown. Although the CDS remarked that there was nothing fair in a system that allows error in the administration of financial benefits, he found that an ex gratia payment) does not include a claim made under other governing instruments or policies such as loss and recovery of money. He added that it would not be in the public interest in this case to compensate the grievor for a pay that he was not entitled to receive in the first place.

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