# 2020-189 Pay and Benefits, Home Equity Assistance Program

Home Equity Assistance Program (HEAP)

Case summary

F&R Date: 2021-07-29

On 19 April 2018, revisions to the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CFIRP) Directive came into effect, removing the option to apply for 100% Home Equity Assistance reimbursement from the Core envelope for homes sold in a depressed market area. The grievor, who relocated from Cold Lake, Alberta in June 2018, sold their home in July 2018 and suffered an equity loss of $80,000. The grievor stated that the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) authorized a full reimbursement of home equity losses for members who acquired a residence from 2013 to 2015 in an area where the market was identified as a depressed market. Consequently, the grievor was of the opinion that their file should be treated based on the version of the CFIRP Directive in effect when they acquired their residence. As a result, the grievor requested complete reimbursement for losses.

The Initial Authority (IA) found that on 17 July 2018, the TBS declared that the sale of Cold Lake residences occurring after 18 April 2018 be governed by a modified version of the CFIRP Directive, which did not take into account depressed markets. The IA rejected the grievance, having found that the grievor's house was sold after 18 April 2018 and that, as a result, this sale could not be governed by the previous version of the CFIRP Directive.

The Committee examined the question of determining whether the grievor had a vested right to have their file reviewed as per the previous version of the CFIRP Directive and found that the grievor would have had to have sold their house prior to 19 April 2018 in order to receive such a right. Moreover, the Committee found that during an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in May 2018, the Director of Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) indicated that the intent of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) was to process cases of catastrophic home equity loss using an exception within the CFIRP Directive. The staff of DCBA informed the Committee that this exception is found under article 2.1.01 of the CFIRP Directive. The Committee found that this article applied to the grievor since their problem was linked to their relocation and that their equity losses were exceptional in nature. Therefore, the Committee recommended that the Final Authority order DCBA to send the grievor's request to TBS in order to seek a total reimbursement of the amount the grievor lost and indicate that the CAF supported this request.

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