# 2014-189 - Allowances and Benefits, Reimbursement of professional cleaning expenses in accordance with article...
F&R Date: 2015–02–09
The grievor submitted that the denial of his request for reimbursement of professional cleaning services (File 2014-188) in accordance with Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP) and denial of a waiver of rent share (File 2014-189), in accordance with Military Foreign Service Instruction (MFSI) 10.5.11, was fundamentally unfair. The grievor acknowledged electing to receive the Real Estate Incentive (REI) and signing a waiver to forego any future reimbursement of “real estate fees, legal fees or other related disposal costs for the property”. However, the grievor maintained that the professional cleaning expenses he incurred, upon vacating his home prior to relocating to an overseas posting, were not disposal costs. Furthermore, the grievor argued that he was entitled to the waiver of rent share given that he remained financially responsible for his house in Canada while posted overseas. As redress, the grievor requested reimbursement of his professional cleaning expenses and a waiver of his rent share.
There is no Initial Authority (IA) decision in File 2014-188.
In file 2014-189, the IA found that in order to be eligible for the waiver of rent share, the grievor would need to remain financially responsible for his residence in Canada. However, from the Crown's perspective, upon accepting the REI, the grievor no longer owned a principal residence for the purpose of such benefits and the grievor was not eligible for the waiver as the basis for the benefit no longer existed. The IA found that upon payment of the REI, it was the Crown's intent to absolve itself of responsibility for any financial liability associated with the grievor's “former principal residence” as it related to the CF IRP Directive and MFSI policies.
The Committee found that the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) had denied the grievor reimbursement of cleaning expenses on the basis that it constituted a disposal benefit. The Committee disagreed, finding that the benefit was not one of the explicit disposal benefits listed in article 8.2.01 of the CF IRP Directive and also that the entitlement to cleaning expenses was not limited to claims related to the disposition of a principal residence but was available when buying or even renting. The Committee recommended that the grievor's relocation claim be reviewed to allow for reimbursement of the submitted professional cleaning expenses.
The Committee noted that the waiver of rent share benefit is discretionary in nature. The Committee found that the reason the grievor remained financially responsible for his home in Canada was because he had chosen not to sell it. As a result, the grievor had also benefitted from payment of the REI in the amount of $12,000. The fact that he had not been able to rent his home quickly did nothing to change this. The Committee found that on this basis alone, the discretion should not be exercised as the grievor would be advantaged over others in similar circumstances. In addition, the Committee found that in order to exercise the discretion, it was necessary for the grievor to meet the terms and conditions set out in MFSI 10.5.11(2)(a). In order to grant a waiver of rent share, the member's “principal residence”, as defined in CBI 208.96, must be vacant due to circumstances beyond the control of the member. The Committee found that the grievor's house in Canada could no longer be considered his principal residence as it had been disposed of in accordance with the CF IRP Directive. As such, the Committee found that the grievor did not meet the terms and conditions found in MFSI 10.5.11(2)(a) and was not entitled to a waiver of rent share.
The Committee recommended that the grievance (File 2014-189) be denied.
CDS Decision Summary
CDS Decision Date: 2016–06–09
The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievor's relocation claim be reviewed to allow for reimbursement of the submitted professional cleaning expenses. The CDS also agreed with the Committee's finding that the grievor was not entitled to a waiver of rent share and its recommendation that the grievance on this aspect be denied. The CDS agreed with the Committee's systemic recommendation and directed DCBA to review all CFIRP claims for professional cleaning expenses made by CAF personnel who elected to receive the REI so as to reimburse such expenses in accordance with the CFIRP.
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