# 2016-090 - Common-law Partnership, Recognition of Common-Law Status (CLS) between two Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members.

Common-law Partnership, Recognition of Common-Law Status (CLS) between two Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members.

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–06–09

The grievor challenged his commanding officer's (CO) decision not to recognize his common-law status (CLS). The grievor argued that his CO had misinterpreted paragraph 4.4 of Chief of Military Personnel Instructions (CMP Instr) 15/06 by requiring that he provide proof of each of the factors listed therein.

The initial authority (IA) denied the grievance observing that - by the time he was considering the merit of the file - the grievor and his partner, also a serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), were now married and the grievor had been posted to the same location as his spouse. As such, the IA concluded that the issue of the grievor's CLS was now moot.

The Committee found that there was no requirement for the grievor to submit an application for recognition of CLS to his CO, given that his partner's request for CLS had been recognized by her CO, and, by necessity, would include him. Furthermore, the Committee found that the blanket practice initiated by the grievor's CO - of requiring applicants to meet all of the listed criteria in paragraph 4.4 - was contrary to the intent of the policy found in CMP Instr 15/06. The Committee determined that the applicable process was to accept an applicant's statutory declaration, at face value, unless there was reason to believe otherwise.

The Committee recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff acknowledge that there was no requirement, in this particular case, for the grievor to submit a CLS application to his CO and also acknowledge that the grievor's CLS should have been recognized by his CO.

The Committee also made a systemic recommendation that the policy be clarified as it pertains to service couples.

FA Decision Summary

The CDS agreed with the Committee's Findings and Recommendations. He concurred that the CAF' instruction on common-law status is having unintended outcomes and that a situation where one CO approves a military couple common-law status while the other does not should not occur. The CDS directed the CMP to review Instruction 15/06 in order to clarify that a single submission is sufficient in cases for which two CAF members require recognition of their common-law relationship.

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