# 2015-268 - Reserve Force, Travel Expenses

Reserve Force, Travel Expenses

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2015–12–30

The grievor enlisted in a reserve unit more than 90 km from his home.The trip between workplace and home also involved taking a ferry and took some three hours. As it was impossible for him to make a round trip every training day, the unit compensated him by granting him Temporary Duty Allowances. After several years, a financial audit of the unit concluded that the allowances should not have been granted because the grievor was not serving outside of his place of duty. The grievor had to repay some $3,500 in allowance overpayments. However, he was granted Reserve Transportation Assistance (RTA) of about $900. The grievor claimed that when he enlisted, he was told that he would be compensated for travel and that he couldn't have known that he was not entitled to the allowances he received. He further contended that the recovery of these allowances seriously disadvantages him in that it affects his ability to pay for his studies. He is asking for the recovery procedure to be rescinded.

The Initial Authority (IA) concluded that the recovery was justified even though the error was in no way the grievor's fault. The IA claimed to have no authority to rescind the recovery procedure and recommended that the Final Authority considers an ex gratia payment.

The Committee concludes that the CAF wrongly applied the relevant policies. In particular, the RTA to which the grievor was entitled was not calculated properly: The grievor was entitled to RTA for 120 round trips but was paid only for 36, and the RTA he received was based on a rate per kilometre of 16¢ to 18¢, whereas the rate set by the National Joint Council ranges from 56.5¢ to 59¢. The Committee thus concluded that the grievor should have been paid RTA exceeding $10,000. The Committee recommended that the grievance be allowed and that the CAF review all the grievor's travel and properly compensate him in accordance with the applicable policies.

FA Decision Summary

The FA accepted most of the Committee's conclusions with regard to the grievor having been aggrieved, but did not support its recommendation to recalculate the RTA using different parameters. The FA found that the grievor was not on TD, although his home unit was located at far distance from his residence, and wasn't entitled to the allowances paid by his unit.

Like the Committee, the FA found that the grievor was eligible to receive TRA at the high mileage rate, as prescribed at Appendix B of the National Joint Council Travel Directive. However, the FA used the number of round-trips established by the grievor's unit for the purposes of calculating the amount of RTA.

Noting that the RTA does not cover the actual expenses incurred by the grievor, he stated that the unit's unique circumstances should have been the object of a special Treasury Board (TB) submission. However, the FA agreed that the situation was of the CAF's doing and that the grievor should not be held responsible. As such, stating that he does not have the authority to amend TB regulations, the FA invoked the special powers of the Minister (CBI 209.013(2)) to order the remittance of the amount of allowances that had been recovered from the grievor.

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