# 2016-103 - Foreign Service Directives (FSD), Military Foreign Service Instruction (MFSI), Shelter Allowance Outside Canada

Foreign Service Directives (FSD), Military Foreign Service Instruction (MFSI), Shelter Allowance Outside Canada

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–11–17

The grievor was posted outside Canada for less than a year on the Advance Training List. He was lodged in a property owned by the host country, for which he was charged various fees, including rent, utilities and wages for general labour and security personnel, the latter being a mandatory requirement for residing in the residence. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) reimbursed the grievor for rent and utilities, but refused to reimburse wages for general labour and security personnel. The CAF also refused to reimburse course related expenses. The grievor argued that the wages for general labour and security personnel were fees imposed on him by the host country. He could not opt out of those services, nor could he have chosen to live on the economy given the local security climate. The grievor also noted that the CAF had reimbursed these expenses to his predecessor. He sought reimbursement of these expenses.

The Initial Authority (IA) concurred with the grievor that he should have been reimbursed for expenses related to his course and approved payment. However, the IA indicated that the only mechanism that would have allowed reimbursement of wages for locally hired staff would have been through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the CAF and the host country. As no MoU was in place, the IA found that reimbursement was not possible and denied the grievance.

The Committee concluded that the Military Foreign Service Instruction (MFSI) offer the flexibility to authorize the reimbursement of any expenses deemed reasonable, as long as it is consistent with the practice under Foreign Service Directives (FSD). The Committee found that the FSD provide a great level of discretion in order to determine what can be reasonably reimbursed. Given that the charges for the wages of locally hired staff was imposed on the grievor as a mandatory requirement, and because the charges were directly linked to shelter and accommodation, the Committee concluded that the CAF has the authority to reimburse the mandatory expenses for local staff as part of the shelter allowance and that they should do so. The Committee also confirmed that reimbursement would be consistent with the practice of other departments.

The Committee recommended that the Final Authority grant redress and approve reimbursement to the grievor.

FA Decision Summary

The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be upheld. The CDS submitted a request and received approval from the Minister to have the cost of security and general labour personnel fees be reimbursed to the grievor under MFSI 10.2.02(1) (Equitable payments). The CDS also directed that a review be conducted for expenses incurred by Staff College students in the country in question since 2008 to ensure that they have not been disadvantaged by these same circumstances.

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