eBULLETIN - October 2013

Contents

See our Case Summaries List or Systemic Recommendations for further information about recent and past MGERC cases.

Highlights

The grievor was denied reimbursement of the expenses related to his bridge financing home equity line of credit (HELOC) upon his posting to a new place of duty. The adjudication section of the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration denied the reimbursement request, indicating that it did not meet the "intent" of article 8.3.13 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP). The grievor argued that the expenses for which he sought reimbursement were covered under articles 8.2.07 and 8.3.12 of the CF IRP, both of which entitled him to reimbursement of the interest, as well as legal and administrative costs arising from the HELOC.

While the grievor was completing a period of reserve service on Class B in his employing unit, he was approached by the Commanding Officer (CO) of his home unit to fill an operational need. The COs of the two units in question authorized the grievor to perform voluntary service in his home unit in accordance with Chief of Military Personnel Instruction 20/04. The grievor filed a grievance alleging that he had received authorization for reimbursement of his travel expenses, a major factor in his decision, and that he should be compensated. The Initial Authority denied the grievance, indicating that the grievor's travel expenses might have been authorized had the grievor been on temporary duty rather than on voluntary service.

The grievor challenged the decision to deny his request for second language evaluation upon completion of Progress Level 6 of the Military Second Language Training Plan. The grievor argued that he was denied the opportunity to demonstrate his second language abilities prior to the Annual Selection Board.

Case Summaries

Financing Home Equity Line of Credit

Committee Findings and Recommendations

The grievor was denied reimbursement of the expenses related to his bridge financing home equity line of credit (HELOC) upon his posting to a new place of duty.

The issue before the Committee was to determine whether the grievor was entitled to reimbursement of the expenses associated with his use of a HELOC to purchase his principal residence at his new place of duty.

The adjudication section of the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) denied the reimbursement request, indicating that it did not meet the "intent" of article 8.3.13 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP).

The grievor argued that the expenses for which he sought reimbursement were covered under articles 8.2.07 and 8.3.12 of the CF IRP, both of which entitled him to reimbursement of the interest, as well as legal and administrative costs arising from the HELOC.

The Committee found that CF IRP, article 8.3.13, was not the only CF IRP provision that DCBA should have considered, and that articles 8.2.07 and 8.3.12 both addressed the grievor's circumstances. The Committee examined both articles in light of the grievor's circumstances and found that they fit within the parameters of article 8.3.12 which states under “Custom benefit”:

When Canadian Forces (CF) members purchase a replacement residence at the new location before selling their principal residence, they will be reimbursed for the interest on a bridge loan or a line of credit and the associated administration fees charged by the financial institution, provided that it does not exceed the lesser of the:

  • equity in their unsold principal residence (i.e., difference between the appraised value and the existing mortgage); or
  • purchase cost of the replacement residence.

The Committee also found that the grievor was eligible, under CF IRP article 8.2.05 (Appraisal fees), for reimbursement of any additional appraisal fees related to the HELOC.

The Committee recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) uphold the grievance.

Final Authority Decision

The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be granted.


Temporary Duty versus Voluntary Service

Committee Findings and Recommendations

While the grievor was completing a period of reserve service on Class B in his employing unit, he was approached by the Commanding Officer (CO) of his home unit to fill an operational need. The CO arranged with the grievor for the reimbursement of travel costs given the distance between the grievor's home and his home unit (175 kilometres). The COs of the two units in question authorized the grievor to perform voluntary service in his home unit in accordance with Chief of Military Personnel Instruction 20/04 – Administrative Policy of Class A, Class B and Class C (Instruction 20/04). When reviewing the claims, the employing unit sought the advice of the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration, who determined that the grievor was not entitled to any benefits for the voluntary service performed at his home unit; he was denied reimbursement.

The grievor filed a grievance alleging that he had received authorization for reimbursement of his travel expenses, a major factor in his decision, and that he should be compensated. The Initial Authority denied the grievance, indicating that the grievor's travel expenses might have been authorized had the grievor been on temporary duty rather than on voluntary service.

The Committee determined that the concept of voluntary service formulated in Instruction 20/04 did not match the grievor's situation. The Committee therefore concluded that both the recommendation of the home unit CO and the approval of the employing unit CO were unreasonable given the 175-kilometre distance that the grievor had to travel and the grievor's duties at the employing unit. According to Instruction 20/04, the distance to be covered and operational requirements are among the factors to be considered in such cases.

In addition, since the home unit CO had confirmed that he had an operational requirement that could not be adequately met internally, the Committee felt that another means, e.g., a task request, should have been considered rather than authorizing the grievor to do voluntary service at home unit.

The Committee therefore concluded that it would be appropriate to place the grievor on temporary duty for his periods of employment at his home unit. Considering the information on file and the fact that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) has the authority to place the grievor on temporary duty retroactively, the Committee recommended that he uphold the grievance.

Final Authority Decision

The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be upheld.


Second Language Evaluation

Committee Findings and Recommendations

The grievor challenged the decision to deny his request for second language evaluation upon completion of Progress Level 6 of the Military Second Language Training Plan. The grievor argued that he was denied the opportunity to demonstrate his second language abilities prior to the Annual Selection Board.

The Initial Authority (IA) found that the decision of the Commandant (Cmdt) Canadian Forces Language School not to approve access to second language evaluation was consistent with the intent of applicable policy. The IA was satisfied that appropriate consideration had been given to the fact that the grievor had a current and valid language profile at the time of the request and that he only had completed half of the training designed to prepare him for intermediate level evaluation (i.e., following completion of Progress Level 7).

The issue before the Committee was whether the denial of the grievor's request for second language evaluation was reasonable and in accordance with policy. Upon review of the evidence, the Committee found that the Cmdt's decision did not deny but only delayed the grievor's second language evaluation. Access to testing, upon completion of Progress Level 6, was at the discretion of the Cmdt and the grievor was seeking an exception to this rule. The Committee found that the Cmdt's decision was reasonable and justified in the circumstances. The Committee was satisfied that the grievor's circumstances had been taken into account by the Cmdt. The Committee also concluded that it was impossible to confirm whether the grievor would have attained the same results as his current language profile had he been tested upon completion of Progress Level 6, given that he benefited from a significant number of additional hours of training during Progress Level 7.

The Committee recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) deny the grievance.

Final Authority Decision

The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be denied.


Statistics

Category of grievances received since 2011 as of September 30, 2013
Categories of grievances 2011 2012 2013
Financial 40% 47% 33%
General 49% 36% 45%
Release 7% 11% 18%
Harassment-Discrimination 3% 5% 4%
Distribution of the Findings and Recommendations (F&R) by category of grievance for the period between January 1, 2013 and September 30, 2013
CFGB F&Rs Financial                                       General                                                 Harassment-Discrimination Release                                  
No jurisdiction 0 0 0 2
Grant 18 12 0 2
Partial Grant 6 11 2 2
Denial 10 24 3 8
Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) decisions received between January 1, 2013 and September 30, 2013
  CDS agrees with Committee's F&R CDS partially agrees with Committee's F&R CDS does not agree with Committee's F&R
  74% 19% 7%

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