# 2020-191 Pay and Benefits, Foreign Service Directives, Military Foreign Service Instruction

Foreign Service Directives (FSD), Military Foreign Service Instruction (MFSI)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2020-04-20

The grievor argued that he should be entitled to the reimbursement of expenses related to the employment assistance for his spouse, as per section 17 of the Foreign Service Directives (FSD), when they returned from an outside of Canada posting, even though he applied for the reimbursement outside of the timeframes set out in the policy. The grievor asserted that the relevant policies are neither flexible nor reflective of the realities of modern service.

The Initial Authority (IA) denied the grievor redress, asserting that there is no mechanism to reimburse funds up to the maximum allowable if those costs were incurred outside the time-period established by the Treasury Board. Furthermore, the IA noted there is no policy in place that allows the reimbursement of tuition fees beyond the maximum allotted in the FSD.

The Committee found that the IA applied section 17 of the FSD correctly and that the decision to deny reimbursement of education costs was policy compliant.

FA Decision Summary

The Acting Chief of the Defence Staff (A/CDS) agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation not to afford the grievor a redress. The A/CDS agreed with the Committee's observation that section 17.3 of the FSD purports to create a benefit that reimburses the "actual and reasonable tuition costs" for a spouse's professional recertification to a maximum of $1,000. This sum of money has not constituted "actual" or "reasonable tuition costs" for any professional association in Canada for many years. The A/CDS also took note of the Committee’s observation that the 12-month time period set out in FSD subsection 17.3.1, the posting cycle and the academic year were out of synch with each other. As demonstrated in this grievance, the 12-month period was too short a period in which to determine recertification requirements and commence recertification training.

The A/CDS agreed with the two actions recommended by the Committee to address the situation. First, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Department of National Defence (DND) should take steps to ensure that the National Joint Council (NJC) directive is amended to ensure that the maximum reimbursable amount truly reflects the "actual and reasonable cost of tuition" for the courses involved. Secondly, the CAF and DND should take steps to have the NJC directive changed to allow 24 months (rather than 12 months) to start a refresher course after returning to Canada. Consequently, the A/CDS directed the Chief of Military Personnel to engage the NJC with the aim of developing up-to-date directives that recognize actual or reasonable recertification tuition costs and of negotiating the adjustment of the time for commencement of recertification training.

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