# 2014-166 - Military Foreign Service Instruction (MFSI), Shelter Allowance Outside Canada

Military Foreign Service Instruction (MFSI), Shelter Allowance Outside Canada

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2015–01–28

During an information session in preparation for his posting to Algeria, the grievor was notified by the Military Foreign Service Section (MFSS), that expenses for rent and utility shares did not apply to his situation. During a subsequent audit of his file by the MFSS, the grievor was informed that an administrative error had been discovered. He was asked to reimburse the rent and utility shares retroactive to the start of this posting nine months earlier; in addition, the MFSS began monthly deductions of the expenses for those shares.

The grievor claimed that he was aggrieved by the reversal of the MFSS's original decision. He submitted that the members who had been posted there before him did not have to pay the costs for the same housing unit. He requested reimbursement of the expenses for rent and utility shares for the entire length of his posting, as well as for the interest incurred.

During the grievance process the Director General Compensation and Benefits granted the grievor an accommodation deficiency adjustment of 60% of his rent-share costs due to the poor condition of the housing, as confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, which is responsible for the management of Crown housing overseas.

The Treasury Board's policy on financial benefits associated with military service postings outside Canada is described in Chapter 10 of the Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) – Military Service Foreign Instructions. Section 5 of the CBI deals with the financial provisions regarding housing and related provisions.

The Committee noted that the grievor was single during his posting to Algeria, and was not financially responsible for a residence in Canada, given that he had left it prior to his posting to Algeria. The grievor had also availed himself of benefits related to the storage of household goods and effects in accordance with CBI 208.84(5) – Storage of household goods and effects – members without dependants – prior to leaving for Algeria.

The Committee therefore concluded that the grievor had not been eligible, either for the exemption for the rent share, or for the exemption for the utility share for the Crown housing unit he had occupied in Algiers.

The Committee also found that notwithstanding the error induced by the MFSS, section 29(5) of the National Defence Act dealing with military grievances states that “any error discovered as a result of an investigation of a grievance may be corrected, even if correction of the error would have an adverse effect on the officer or non-commissioned member”. The Committee was of the view that the grievor was treated in a just and fair manner in accordance with current applicable regulations and policies.

The Committee recommended to the Chief of the Defense Staff that the grievance be denied

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2015–07–03

The CDS agrees with the Committee's conclusions and its recommendation to deny the grievance. The CDS agrees with the Committee's observation that the MFSS ought to ensure closer follow-up in the administration of military members posted abroad. Therefore, the CDS asked the VCDS to ensure such follow-up. The CDS also shares the Committee's concerns regarding lack of consistency in the application of the Accommodation Deficiency Adjustment of Chapter 25 of the Foreign Service Directives and Section 5 Chapter 10 of the CBIs and has accordingly asked the CMP to revise the CBI provision and to recommend to the TB that it be amended.

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