# 2015-085 - Interest Payment, Relocation Expenses
Interest Payment, Relocation Expenses
F&R Date: 2015–06–04
When the grievor was informed that he was being posted, he contacted the Brookfield Global Relocation Services (GRS) Advisor and was informed that he and his spouse would be leaving later that evening for their House Hunting Trip (HHT). When he arrived at the airport, he noticed that their flight had not been booked. Considering that the Brookfield GRS office was closed and that it was not possible to postpone their HHT, the grievor purchased the airline tickets.
More than two years later, the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) approved the grievor's request for the reimbursement of his airline tickets, but not the interests he incurred on his personal credit card and line of credit.
There was no Initial Authority decision on the file, as the grievor refused to grant him an extension to the time allowed to respond.
On the question of interests, the Committee noted that it has so far taken the view that they are not reimbursable unless explicitly provided for, based on the principle of the Crown's immunity before the Courts and the provisions of the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act. However, the Committee noted that the type of interest sought in the latest grievance cases were “interest as damages,” not incurred interests, as in the grievor's case.
Hence, the Committee indicated that the grievor's circumstances were clearly distinguishable from the latest findings and recommendations, as he was seeking the reimbursement of the expenses he actually incurred for buying two airline tickets as part of his military relocation, for which he was entitled to, as per the provisions of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP).
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Directive on Payment Requisitioning and Cheque Control (hereinafter the “Directive”) outlines the duties and responsibilities of chief financial officers when administering all payments, including advanced payments and refunds of revenues or receipts. Generally speaking, the Directive provides that the financial officers should ensure “that suppliers of goods and services are paid on the due date”, within 30-day of reception of the invoice. The Directive also provides that interests will be paid to suppliers when the payment is made later then the due date.
In terms of payment, the Directive mentioned above provides that the financial personnel has the responsibility to pay the service in due time to avoid having to pay interests. Accordingly, in the present case, had the process been respected, the payment to the service provider would have been made on time or else the Brookfield GRS would have been subjected to pay interests to the service provider.
The Committee noted that the timeline associated with the reimbursement of the airline tickets is 33 months. He specified that it cannot reasonably be argued that those involved in this decision-making process fulfilled their obligation and that they were diligent. Therefore, the grievor should not be held responsible for the interests he accumulated, an expense for which he is out of pocket.
Finally, the Committee noted that article 2.1.01 Authorities of the CF IRP provides that the DCBA has the authority to “approve reimbursement of all or part of the expenses reasonably incurred that are directly related to the CAF member's relocation but are not specifically provided for in this policy”. Considering that the interests were incurred from the grievor's relocation as part of the CF IRP and are a direct result of the delay it took the DCBA to approve the reimbursement of the airline tickets, the Committee found that the interests constitute a reimbursable expense.
As a result, he recommended that the CDS use the DCBA authority to reimburse the interests the grievor accumulated during the unreasonable delay it took to approve the reimbursement of the airline tickets.
Alternatively, the Committee recommended that the CDS invoke Ministerial Authority under Compensation and Benefits Instructions for the Canadian Forces 209.013(2) and direct the reimbursement of the interests accumulated by the grievor.
Should the CDS disagree with the above proposed courses of action, the Committee recommended that:
• redress be sought outside of the CAF grievance process;
• the unreasonable delay it took for the DCBA to approve the reimbursement of the airline tickets be acknowledged; and
• the file be referred to the Director Claims and Civil Litigation with the support of the CDS.
FA Decision Summary
The DGCFGA did not agree with the Committee's recommendations. While the delay, more than three years, in reimbursing the grievor for his HHT expenses was completely unacceptable, the DGCFGA determined that he did not have the authority to grant redress, nor did he believe that it would be appropriate to refer the grievor's file to DCCL, as he cannot accept liability on behalf of the Crown.
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