# 2016-201 - Post Index (PI)

Post Index (PI)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–12–28

The grievor challenged the lower Post Index (PI) rate he was assigned when he arrived at his post outside Canada. He felt he was disadvantaged by having the higher PI rate apply only from the following March onward. He contended that while he did enjoy access privileges to a United States Commissary, these facilities were not readily accessible due to their distance from his post and the congested and convoluted traffic conditions of the highly populated metropolitan area in which his post was located. He requested to retroactively receive the higher PI rate from his date of arrival to his post.

The Initial Authority rejected the grievance, having determined that it was submitted outside of the time limit prescribed at paragraph 7.06 of the Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces. Upon review, the Final Authority determined that the date the grievor knew or ought to have known of the decision giving rise to the grievance was within the time limit and accepted it.

The PI rate forms the basis upon which the Post Living Allowance (PLA) is calculated, in accordance with the policy prescribed in Foreign Service Directive (FSD) 55 and the Military Foreign Service Instruction. Statistics Canada publishes monthly two PI rates for the post in question. The higher PI rate is annotated for personnel who do not have Commissary privileges. It follows that the lower PI rate reflects that these privileges permit the purchase of goods and services at lower prices than on the local economy, resulting in a lower price differential between the post and the benchmark area of Ottawa/Gatineau.

The Committee confirmed that throughout the relevant time frame, the Military Police Security Services (MPSS) personnel at the same post have been assigned the higher PI rate, applicable to personnel with no privileges at the Commissary and who must therefore purchase goods and services on the local economy. The Committee accepted the grievor's contention with regard to the distance and time required to access the Commissary. The Committee found, on a balance of probabilities, that the grievor's privileges at the Commissary could not be exercised routinely and effectively.

As a consequence, the Committee found that the assignment of the lower PI rate to the grievor was unjustified and that his PLA should have been based on the higher PI rate from his date of arrival at his post. The Committee also concluded that the recognition of the higher PI rate as the appropriate one as of the following March necessarily entailed an acknowledgement that it was the appropriate PI rate on the grievor's arrival at post, since none of his circumstances had changed. Moreover, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) upheld a previous grievance regarding this post based on substantially the same circumstances. He determined that the grievor in that case should be assessed, retroactively and for her entire period of her service at the embassy, as not having access to the Commissary, thus entitled to the higher PI rate.

The Committee recommended to the CDS that the grievor's PI be adjusted to the higher rate retroactively to his arrival at post.

FA Decision Summary

The FA agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendations. He found that he could not accept that having occasional access to the U.S. Yokota Air Force Base Commissary was worth a difference of approximately $1,000/month, an eventual total of over $5,000, compared to CAF counterparts in Tokyo who did not have access. The FA agreed that expecting the grievor to shop regularly at the Yokota PX would be similar to expecting personnel in Ottawa to shop regularly at Fort Drum, New York. He stated that the grievor had been treated unfairly and directed DGCB to retroactively adjust his PI rate and ensure that the other personnel at the Tokyo post were assigned the correct PI rate. He also directed DGCB to develop better measures for when personnel are deemed to have “access” to facilities.

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