# 2015-298 - Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP)

Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–02–29

Upon receiving a posting notice, the grievor requested an appraisal of his home, but due to operational Sea Duty he did not receive the appraisal until several weeks later. For the same reason, he was also unable to have his initial meeting with a Brookfield Global Relocation Services (BGRS) Agent until 11 working days after receipt of the appraisal, leaving him only four working days in which he could choose the Real Estate Incentive (REI). Seven working days after the BGRS meeting, the grievor indicated to his BGRS Agent that he would like to choose REI and asked if having a second appraisal would reset the 15 working day REI eligibility window. He was informed that it would not. Nevertheless the grievor proceeded to have a second appraisal done and requested REI on the same day that he received the appraisal report. The request was denied.

The grievor argued that he should be entitled to elect REI based on the second appraisal because the wording of article 8.2.14 Real Estate Incentive of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP) directive is ambiguous and the phrasing “the appraisal” does not specifically identify the first appraisal as the one under which REI must be elected.

The Director General Compensation and Benefits, acting as the Initial Authority (IA), found that a grammatical and ordinary reading of “the appraisal” found in CF IRP article 8.2.14 refers to the initial mandatory appraisal required under the CF IRP. He stated that the restriction of the REI election period to 15 working days after receipt of the mandatory appraisal is an intentional aspect of the incentive, and that the parallel TB Relocation Policy for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police clearly elaborates that intention. The IA denied the grievance because the grievor failed to elect the REI within 15 working days after receiving the initial appraisal.

The Committee agreed that the intent of the REI provision was that the benefit must be elected within 15 working days of receipt of the initial appraisal. However, the Committee found that in this case, and for reasons beyond his control, the grievor did not have the benefit of a full 15 working days in which to make an “informed decision” because his first BGRS meeting took place only four working days before the end of the REI election period. The Committee therefore recommended that the grievor be paid REI, and in order to comply with the CF IRP election requirements, recommended that the CDS consider the BGRS meeting date as the date of receipt of the appraisal. In the alternative, the Committee recommended that the CDS consider the first appraisal as having no effect and substituting it with the second such that, in either case, the grievor's expressed interest in electing REI would fall within the 15 working day period.

FA Decision Summary

The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings, but not its recommendation that the REI be paid to the grievor. The CDS was of the view that using the date recommended by the Committee as the starting point to calculate the 15-days would be an explicit contravention of the CF IRP Directive. However, the CDS agreed with the Committee's observation that the inflexibility of the CF IRP negatively affects CAF members by imposing a time limit for a critical decision before all pertinent information can be gathered. The CDS stated that in an optimal scenario, the REI option should only expire when a residence is sold or the member elects dual residence assistance benefits. Any other funds reimbursed to the member for sale-related expenses prior to an election could be deducted from the REI. The CDS therefore directed CMP to negotiate better conditions for the REI in the ongoing CF IRP review with the TB.

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