# 2015-049 - Posting Allowance (PA), Relocation Benefits, The Posting Allowance Policy Discriminates Single Members
Posting Allowance (PA), Relocation Benefits, The Posting Allowance Policy Discriminates Single Members
F&R Date: 2015–07–23
The grievor, a single CAF member, was posted in 2013 and was entitled to the basic allowance element (BAE) portion of the posting allowance (two weeks salary) in accordance with Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CFIRP). Since the grievor did not move dependants, he was not entitled to the dependent allowance element (DAE) portion (an additional two weeks salary) of the posting allowance.
The grievor argued that the distinction made between members with and without dependants was unlawful and discriminatory based on marital and family status, which are prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA). He noted that the purpose of the benefits, as outlined in the CFIRP, is to provide compensation for the turbulence associated with relocations of Regular Force members. The grievor pointed out that there is no distinction in the policy regardless of whether one or many dependents are relocated, the age, employment status, income, or degree of dependence on the CAF member, all of which could lessen the turbulence encountered. The grievor requested a decision which acknowledges the reduction of the posting allowance for those members who do not move dependents as being contrary to the CHRA.
The Director General Compensation and Benefits (DGCB), acting as Initial Authority, denied the grievance. He stated that the grievor was entitled to the BAE and not the DAE, in accordance with CBI 208.849, the Treasury Board (TB) approved policy.
The Committee noted that in order to determine whether there is discrimination under the CHRA, a prima facie case of discrimination must be made by the complainant, and the employer may defend against the claim by showing that the policy or practice is a bona fide occupational requirement (BFOR). The Committee found that, by providing one month's pay for a CAF member who was moving dependents as opposed to one half month for a CAF member who is not, the posting allowance policy is prima facie discriminatory based on the family or marital status.
The Committee found that the CAF has shown no evidence to demonstrate that paying a different allowance to members with or without dependants is connected to the performance of the job or that paying a different allowance to members with dependants is necessary to the fulfillment of the work. Furthermore, the Committee found that if the posting allowance's purpose is to compensate for turbulence, it is difficult to rationally connect the turbulence to the amount of the posting allowance (an amount based on the CAF member's rank and salary). Therefore, the Committee found that there was no BFOR to justify a different financial treatment between a member who has dependants and one who does not when there is a move.
The Committee recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff direct the DGCB to work with TB with the view of amending the posting allowance policy to remove the distinction based on marital and family status.
FA Decision Summary
The CDS did not agree with the Committee's primary findings and recommendations, but did agree that the Committee's findings contained some legitimate criticisms of the way the posting allowance is described in policy documents and administered.
The CDS held that the posting allowance regime does not contravene the CHRA. The CDS found that there is no prima facie discrimination as the DAE portion of the posting allowance is provided only when dependants are relocated and not when a member merely has dependants. The CDS concluded that, accordingly, the DAE is not granted based on family status. The CDS found that the DAE is for the additional hardship experienced when more people are dislocated. The CDS indicated that he did not favour the word “turbulence” to describe this hardship, but preferred the word “disruption”.
In light of the finding that there was no prima facie discrimination, the CDS indicated he did not need to address the bona fide occupational requirement aspect of the discrimination analysis in detail, but did affirm his view that the amount of disruption increases as the number of people relocating increases. He stated that relocations inevitably involve additional expenses and disruption; thus compensating members for those expenses and experiences could reasonably be characterized as being directly related to the performance of Canadian Armed Forces service.
The CDS acknowledged that the use of the posting allowance, in accordance with the current relocation policy scheme, to pay for enhanced relocation expenses could be confusing and that the posting allowance was not originally intended to be linked to specific relocation benefits. The CDS stated that he favoured a model where reasonable expenses are reimbursed and an allowance in recognition of disruption is provided.
The CDS indicated he was prepared to grant the primary redress sought by the grievor, in that a review of the scheme and administration of the posting allowance was underway.
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