# 2015-242 - Recovery of Overpayment/Debt Write-Off, Reserve Force, Temporary Duty Benefits

Recovery of Overpayment/Debt Write-Off, Reserve Force, Temporary Duty Benefits

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–01–22

From April 2008 to March 2011, the grievor was offered six consecutive periods of Class B Reserve service, away from his permanent place of duty, totaling 1,093 straight days of service. He was paid temporary service allowances (free food and lodging, incidental expenses) for the entire period. The chain of command claims that it made an informed decision to proceed in this way, having to address needs for essential duties that could not be met otherwise, while it was not able to offer any period of service of 365 days or more at a time, prohibiting his relocation. On being informed of this situation, the Director, Compensation and Benefits (Administration) (DCBA) determined that the grievor was attached posted and not employed on temporary duty, thus entitled to temporary service allowances only for the first 364 days. The grievor was informed that the CAF would recover allowances paid as of the 365th day. The grievor claims that if he had been informed at the time, he would assuredly have vacated his quarters before the end of the first period of service and secured accommodation in the community. He feels that the recovery has placed a heavy financial burden on him and is asking for the amounts due to be waived.

The Director General, Compensation and Benefits, as Initial Authority (IA), acknowledges that the current Canadian Forces Temporary Duty Travel Instruction (CFTDTI), effective 1 February 2011, did not cover the grievor's situation. The IA supported DCBA's decision that the recovery of any allowances paid beyond the 365th day is justified.

The Committee found that the situation was examined in the light of the CFTDTI which took effect only on 1 February 2011, and not of the CFTDTI which was in effect from 1 October 2002 to 31 January 2011. The Committee noted that confusion reigns as to the policies that applied in these circumstances during the period in question, especially with regard to reservists. It thus seems that before 1 February 2011, there was no policy providing for allowances to reservists in such circumstances. The Committee further noted that policies are formulated in a way that seems to assume that periods of service are determined in advance. The Committee found that no provision in either Instruction allows for a change for “temporary duty” to an attach posting and finally to a posting, or which deals with transition among the various benefit packages to which military personnel are entitled in these circumstances.

The Committee observed that the DCBA and the IA have both treated the case as if the grievor had knowingly accepted a period of employment of more than a year and that, from the outset, the intent was to employ him for the entire period of 1,093 days, not that circumstances had evolved over time. The Committee did not subscribe to the conclusion that the recovery was justified.

The grievor's situation should normally have been reviewed under the applicable policies at the time to determine the allowances to which he would have been entitled during each of his new periods of service. However, the Committee agreed that the grievor's situation was special and that it would be difficult to proceed in this way. The Committee concluded that it would be reasonable and fair to recommend that the CDS exercise his discretion to grant and remit charges for quarters and rations from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2011, and recalculate the amounts due.

FA Decision Summary

The CDS agreed with the Committee that the grievor's circumstances could not be treated as if the chain of command had, from the beginning, intended to employ him for more than one year, the fact that the situation evolved over time had to be taken into account. He accepted the Committee's recommendation to exercise his discretion and remitted charges for rations and quarters from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2011. Like the Committee, he noted that he did not have the discretion to reimburse incidental expenses and that these had to be recovered. The CDS recognized that current policies applicable to Reservists do not provide for evolution in their service from temporary duty, to an attach posting or a posting: he directed CPM review the policies to include the appropriate policy direction.

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