# 2015-132 - Imposed Restriction (IR), Retroactive Policy amendment to SE benefits for OUTCAN postings., Separation...

Imposed Restriction (IR), Retroactive Policy amendment to SE benefits for OUTCAN postings., Separation Expense (SE)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2015–09–21

The grievor was on a prohibited posting outside Canada (OUTCAN) while his dependants, household goods and effects ((D)HG&E) remained in Canada. He was subsequently posted from OUTCAN to Ottawa. Although he could have moved his (D)HG&E to Ottawa, he elected not to do so. He requested and was authorized Imposed Restriction (IR) status but was denied the accompanying Separating Expenses (SE) benefits. As a result, he had to maintain two residences, one in Ottawa and one where his family continued to reside. He argued that it was not reasonable for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to expect him to pay for two residences.

The Initial Authority (IA), the Director General Compensation and Benefits, denied the grievance because the grievor's immediate former place of duty was OUTCAN and so he did not meet the eligibility conditions for entitlement to SE benefits. The IA explained that the SE policy is a Treasury Board (TB) approved policy with no provisions that would permit reimbursement. The IA also acknowledged that this was a systemic issue affecting CAF members restricted from moving their (D)HG&E to their OUTCAN posting and he indicated that a submission had been made to the TB to amend some of the provisions of the SE policy.

The Committee found that the existing policy had been properly applied to the grievor's case and that he was not eligible for SE benefits. However, the Committee also found that the grievor's posting back to Canada had been mishandled, based on its observation that CAF authorities were well aware of this unintended problem stemming from a 2012 SE policy change. Essentially, CAF members like the grievor, who move unaccompanied on an OUTCAN posting, are highly disadvantaged by those changes. The Committee noted that CAF career management authorities have been mitigating the negative impact of this policy oversight through the use of postings. Based on this mitigation strategy, the grievor should have first been posted to reunite with his family before being posted to Ottawa. The Committee found it unfair that the grievor was not treated to the same strategy as his peers in a similar situation.

The Committee recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) correct the error by cancelling the original posting message to Ottawa and replacing it with the postings necessary to establish the grievor's entitlement to the SE benefit. Given the unanticipated and unfair impact of the current policy on CAF members returning from unaccompanied postings OUTCAN, the Committee also made a systemic recommendation that the TB submission on the issue should include a request that any change of the SE policy be retroactive.

CDS Decision Summary

The CDS agreed with the Committee's finding that an unanticipated and unfair impact had occurred when the policy was amended, and noted that the policy had been corrected in 2017 although not retroactively. However, he rejected the Committee's recommendation to provide redress to the grievor by amending his posting instruction. 

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