# 2015-299 - Medical Treatment, Sick Leave, Travel Expenses

Medical Treatment, Sick Leave, Travel Expenses

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–01–22

After being seriously injured in a training accident, the grievor spent the better part of three years on extended sick leave. During this time, he was required to attend numerous medical appointments both within and outside of the local area of his normal place of duty. In the first year, the grievor was reimbursed, or partially reimbursed for travel to his medical appointments outside of the local area, but then, due to an apparent change in policy, he was no longer reimbursed.

The Director Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) had advised the unit involved that because the grievor was on sick leave, he could not be considered to be “on duty”; therefore, travel expenses were not reimbursable under the Canadian Forces Temporary Duty Travel Instructions. The Initial Authority (IA) stated that based on the DCBA direction, he was unable to grant redress. However, the IA opined that the grievor was being treated unfairly and encouraged and supported the grievor in submitting his grievance to the Final Authority.

The Committee determined that the grievance hinged on the question of whether or not the grievor, who was on sick leave, could be considered to be “on duty” when attending medical appointments. The Committee reviewed the Associate Deputy Minister (Human Resources – Military) Instruction 08/05, Health-related Travel, and found that it clearly states that CAF members “travelling on health-related matters are considered on ‘Temporary Duty' status.” The Committee also noted that the Canadian Forces Health Services Group Instruction 3100-21, Sick Leave states that CAF members who are on sick leave are considered to be “on duty” when they attend an appointment to be medically reassessed for the purposes of sick leave.

The Committee then considered the facts of the grievor's case:

• he was seriously injured while participating in a training exercise, while on duty;

• the medical appointments were all planned, scheduled and organized by the CAF;

• the appointments were an integral part of the CAF medical care provided to the grievor;

• the grievor had an obligation to follow and comply with the medical care plan put in place by CAF medical authorities; and

• failure to attend the appointments could have led to administrative or disciplinary action against the grievor.

Based on the above, the Committee found that the grievor should be deemed to be “on duty” while attending the CAF-directed medical appointments. The Committee therefore recommended that the grievor be reimbursed for his travel expenses for those appointments which were outside of his local duty area.

FA Decision Summary

DGCFGA agreed with the Committee's recommendation. He found that sick leave is granted when CAF personnel are unfit for duty but not required to convalesce in an infirmary or hospital. It is an approved absence from normal duties, which has the purpose of restoring the member to health and operational effectiveness. Following MELs and attending medical appointments is a duty to be fulfilled when on sick leave, even if this occurs outside of normal working hours. DGCFGA agreed with the Committee that ADM (HR-Mil) 08/05 provides that members on non-local travel for health matters are on TD. This did not apply to the grievor as all of his appointments off base were within the geographic boundaries of CFB Gagetown. However, the CFTDTI, para 7.16, provide an incidental expense allowance for medical travel to a temporary workplace within the geographic area of the permanent place of duty. The JPSU should have requested approval for this from the CO or the base commander. DGCFGA approved the allowance for the grievor's health travel. DGCFGA informed the grievor that CAF health care policy was under review and particular attention was being paid to replacing the term “sick leave” with “medically prescribed duty”.

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