# 2016-036 - Cease-Training, Defence Public Affairs Learning Centre’s (DPALC) Progress Review Board (PRB) Process

Cease-Training, Defence Public Affairs Learning Centre’s (DPALC) Progress Review Board (PRB) Process

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–05–25

The grievor argued that the decision of the Head of the Defence Public Affairs Learning Centre (DPALC) to cease her public affairs occupation training was unreasonable, based on flawed training techniques and biased as a result of her previous unsuccessful attempt on the same course. She also claimed that a Progress Review Board (PRB) should not have been triggered by her failure of an Enabling Check (EC), which is considered a formative testing to help identify whether a student requires additional practice or instruction, and not a requirement to be successful on the course. In her view, it was optional to convene a PRB before she even could attempt the related Performance Check (PC), and considered it was unreasonable to assume she would have failed based on her results from an EC, as well as results from her previous course. As redress, the grievor requested to be allowed to complete the training required to graduate from her course.

The initial authority (IA) denied the grievor's request for redress and determined that the decision to cease the grievor's training was reasonable. The IA indicated that the PRB was a suitable course of action in response to the failure of an EC. He concluded that since the grievor had received sufficient practice and opportunities to improve and that the progress review process was appropriately conducted, the decision to cease her training was justified.

Following a review of the applicable policies, the Committee found that the decision to convene a PRB was reasonable. The Committee was of the view that given the grievor's academic struggle, in spite of the opportunities provided to improve her performance, the DPALC was justified in convening a PRB which would serve to have a closer look at her training progress in an attempt to formally resolve a challenging situation.

The Committee noted that it was difficult to proceed to a detailed analysis of the considerations on which the Head of the DPALC based his decision since no detailed records of the PRB were maintained. However, the Committee observed that it was justified for the PRB to duly consider all information related to the grievor's training, including results from her previous attempt on the course.

Although the Head of the DPALC had to consider the amount of time and resources that should be dedicated towards one candidate to achieve the established training standard, the Committee found that his decision to cease the grievor's training was primarily based on his assessment of her chances of completing the PC and not through her demonstrated and observed performance.

Given the grievor's recognized leadership attributes, dedication, perseverance and potential within the public affairs occupation, the Committee found that the grievor should be given a formal opportunity to either meet, or not, the course requirements by being tested on the PC as both the Canadian Armed Forces and the occupation have much to gain should the grievor succeed at meeting the required standard on this last opportunity.

The Committee recommended that the grievor be formally tested against the established standard and be allowed to join another course if successful. Otherwise, she should be assessed for assignment to a different occupation.

The Committee also made a systemic recommendation for the DPALC to implement a PRB mechanism.

FA Decision Summary

The FA did not fully agree with the Committee's findings and recommendations. The FA examined the decision to cease training and found that the course had been conducted fairly and in accordance with the policy. The FA agreed with the Committee that convening a PRB was justified. However, the FA disagreed with the Committee's finding that, although the decision to cease training was reasonable, since the grievor had not yet reached the course failure criteria, it would have been preferable to allow her the opportunity to undergo the Performance Check. The FA agreed with the Committee that it was reasonable, and not an indication of bias, to have considered previous failures related to the same training. The FA agreed with the Committee's finding that the absence of records of the PRB process made it difficult to review or challenge events. Therefore, the FA agreed with the Committee's systemic recommendation and reminded the Head of the Defence Public Affairs Learning Centre (DPALC) that a complete file be maintained on members subject to a PRB, in accordance with DPALC's own Directive.

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