# 2015-293 - Relocation Benefits, Relocation Expenses

Relocation Benefits, Relocation Expenses

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–02–08

The grievor was a trained pilot with the United Kingdom (UK) Royal Air Force, and enrolled in the CAF. He and his family moved to Canada into a rented residence before enrollment to allow his children to commence schooling so that they would not lose a full school year. His enrollment/transfer/posting (ETP) message indicated that he was entitled to move benefits in accordance with Canadian Forces Administrative Order (CFAO) 209-28 – Removal Benefits – Movement of Dependants, and/or Furniture and Effects. Within the grievor's first year as a CAF member, he moved from his rental property into a purchased residence in the same city. The grievor inquired with the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration staff about his move benefits. He was advised that, because he remained in the same geographic location upon and after enrollment, he was not entitled to relocation benefits, including purchase benefits. The grievor contested the decision, pointing out that his ETP message clearly authorized move benefits. The grievor also noted that, had he waited to move until his enrollment date, he would have been entitled to benefits, but argued that he had to move earlier due to the schooling of his children.

The Director General Compensation and Benefits, acting as the initial authority, did not accept the grievance. He stated that the grievance was submitted beyond the allowable time limit and returned the file with no action. However, the final authority accepted the grievance in the interests of justice.

Given that the grievor's first place of duty and new place of duty were in the same location, the Committee determined that Compensation and Benefits Instruction (CBI) 208, section 9 - the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP), did not apply since one of the criteria for eligibility was to move at least 40 kilometers from the place of duty. The Committee found that the correct relocation policy in the grievor's circumstances was CBI 208, section 8 – Relocation Expenses.

The reimbursement of the relocation expenses claimed by the grievor was not specifically provided for in section 8. Given the unique and particular circumstances of the grievor being from the UK, the fact that he was immediately employable at no training cost to the CAF, and that he moved to Canada at his own expense, the Committee reviewed the special powers of the Minister to reimburse relocation expenses. The Committee found that the intent of section 8 is to provide for the reimbursement of moving expenses where a military member moves as a result of CAF service, and this was indeed the grievor's situation.

It was the Committee's view that the grievor's circumstances warranted the use of the Minister's discretionary powers to authorize eligible moving expenses. The Committee stated that this would be consistent with the purpose of section 8, and to do so was reasonable and appropriate.

The Committee recommended to the final authority that the grievor's eligible expenses be reimbursed to him.

FA Decision Summary

The FA did not agree with the Committee's recommendation that the grievor's eligible expenses be reimbursed to him.The FA agreed with the Committee's finding that both the CFIRP and the CBI describe the parameters for both international and local moves. Since the grievor enrolled and was posted within the same geographical area, his relocation was considered a local move; therefore he was not eligible for reimbursement. However, the FA did not agree with the Committee's finding that the ministerial authority under CBI 208.801 be used: contrary to the Committee's finding the FA did not consider the grievor's circumstances as exceptional. The FA found that the grievor's recruitment to the CAF and his move are two distinct and separate issues: the grievor was afforded recognition of his qualifications, and the relocation benefits were not associated with his enrolment plan.

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