# 2014-194 - Common-law Partnership, Relocation Benefits, Storage Fees

Common-law Partnership, Relocation Benefits, Storage Fees

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2015–07–27

The grievor was in a common law partnership (CLP) but mistakenly enrolled as a single person. Upon realizing his error, the grievor attempted, prior to and during his basic training, to have his marital status corrected, but no action was taken by the CAF at the time regarding his requests. Given that he was enrolled as a single member, he was provided with single member benefits, including Long Term Storage (LTS), to which a member with dependants would not normally have been entitled. On the other hand, he failed to receive benefits to which he was entitled as a member with a dependant, such as free Rations and Quarters (R&Q) and Separation Expense (SE).

The grievor complained that had he known he had no entitlement to LTS he would have asked to have his Household Goods and Effects (HG&E) removed from LTS. He also alleged that he made numerous attempts to have his HG&E moved from LTS to his place of duty but without success. As redress, the grievor sought reimbursement of the costs he incurred to move his own HG&E from LTS.

The Initial Authority (IA), the Director General Compensation and Benefits, found that the grievor was not entitled to reimbursement of costs incurred in moving his HG&E to his place of duty from LTS at his place of enrollment because he had waited too long to make his request. The IA also found that the CAF was obliged to recover the cost of the LTS benefit to which the grievor had no entitlement.

The Committee noted that when the grievor's CLP was finally recognized by the CAF, the date used to determine his benefits was the date his Commanding Officer recognized the CLP. The Committee found that this was unreasonable, given that the CAF had acknowledged that the grievor was already in a CLP when he enrolled. The Committee pointed out that the CAF should have considered the grievor's explanation for the delay in providing supporting documentation for recognition of his CLP and concluded that his CLP should be recognized effective his enrollment date. The Committee then considered how the amended CLP recognition date impacted the subsequent benefits; those received and those not received.

The Committee first considered R&Q, concluding that the grievor should have received free R&Q from the commencement of his basic training, and that the R&Q expenses that he paid should be remitted.The Committee also found that the grievor met the requirements for SE during the same period and that he should be compensated accordingly.

The Committee next considered the LTS issue, concluding that as a CAF member with a dependant, the grievor had no entitlement to LTS on enrollment. However, the Committee noted that when the grievor dissolved his CLP and his Imposed Restriction (IR) was lifted, he requested to have his HG&E moved from LTS to his residence but his requests were not acted upon. As a result, his HG&E remained in LTS for two more years. The Committee found that the grievor's requests were valid and should have been acted upon sooner. As a result, he should not be held liable for any of the LTS expenses that accrued after the date of his first request.

Finally, the Committee found that the grievor was entitled to a first move from place of enrollment at public expense, and that since he had paid for his move out of his own pocket, he should be reimbursed his actual expenses but not to exceed what the CAF would have incurred to execute the move.

FA Decision Summary

The CDS accepted the Committee's findings but did not fully agree with the Committee's recommendations. He agreed that it was unreasonable not to recognize the grievor's common-law status from the time of his enrollment, and directed that the grievor's enrollment date be recognized as the effective date of the CLP. He agreed that the grievor was eligible for SE and R&Q from the date of his enrollment to the date when the CLP was first recognized, and directed that the grievor was to be paid SE and reimbursed for his R&Q during that period. He examined the grievor's entitlement to LTS and agreed that it had been an error that led to the grievor's HG&E being put into LTS upon enrollment and that the grievor had no entitlement. He accepted the recommendation to recover LTS expenses for the year and a half up until the grievor provided an IR lifting message to BGRS and sought to have his HG&E moved out of LTS to his new posting location. However, unlike the Committee, he found that LTS expenses must also be recovered for the following two-year period, because although errors were made by both the CAF and the grievor, Treasury Board policy did not provide an entitlement to the benefit during that time. Therefore, he directed that the LTS expenses be repaid. Finally, the CDS agreed that as a trained member, the grievor was entitled to have his HG&E moved to his new posting location. He concluded that as the grievor's file had been mismanaged, it was reasonable to use his powers under CBI 209.801(2) (Ministerial approval of relocation expenses) to approve an extension of the move entitlement timelines and authorize reimbursement for the shipment of the HG&E from the LTS location to the grievor's location up to the amount that the CAF would have spent to execute the move.

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