# 2015-003 - Meal Expenses, Meal Purchased While on TD at a Foreign Military Base, Temporary Duty Benefits
F&R Date: 2015–04–14
The grievor attended a training course in the United States and was directed to purchase and consume his meals at a military dining facility. He was reimbursed actual expenses for these meals, however he argued that he was entitled to the full per diem meal rates as established by Treasury Board (TB).
The Initial Authority (IA) determined that while the grievor did pay for his meals up front, the situation should be compared to that of a member who dines at a Canadian Forces Base with a meal card and, in that sense, the meals are ultimately provided at no expense to the member since they are fully reimbursed. The IA cited a “Frequently Asked Questions” Web page authored by the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) as the authority for this position.
The Committee found that the TB approved policy, the Canadian Forces Temporary Duty Travel Instructions (CFTDTI), paragraph 7.18(1), was clear and unambiguous in directing that a member is entitled to full per diem meal rates unless they are provided a meal at no expense. As the grievor was required to pay out of pocket for his meals, they were not provided “at no expense”. Accordingly, the Committee recommended that the grievor be reimbursed his meals at the full per diem rate.
The Committee noted that the “Frequently Asked Questions” Web page is not supported by any approved policy or regulations, yet appears to be the prevailing position of DCBA. Given that this interpretation was found to be flawed, the Committee made a Systemic Recommendation that the Canadian Armed Forces should review and reassess the claims of all members affected by this erroneous policy interpretation.
CDS Decision Summary
CDS Decision Date: 2015–12–02
The FA did not agree with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievor be reimbursed his meals at the full per diem rate. The FA did not agree with the Committee's finding that reimbursing only the actual expense for meals purchased at a mess is in contravention of CFTDTI 7.18.
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