Accuracy of Information by Recruiters

There are 3 issues related to topic "Accuracy of Information by Recruiters".


Topic

Accuracy of Information by Recruiters

Case number

Description

The Board noted that, in the past year, it had received an increasing number of grievances dealing with incorrect and misleading information provided by Recruiting Centres upon enrolment of individuals. In October 2008, the Board reported to the senior leadership of the Canadian Forces (CF):

The Board has consistently found that new recruits are entitled to expect accurate and complete information from CF Recruiting Centres. After reviewing a number of such complaints, the Board has concluded that, in simple fairness, the CF has a moral obligation to provide relief to individuals who have been prejudiced by their reliance upon erroneous information they received.

In previous cases dealing with serious errors found in enrolment messages, the Board has repeatedly made systemic recommendations to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) regarding the need to amend the current enrolment forms to include specific details regarding the proposed rank and financial benefits, in an effort to reduce misunderstanding during the enrolment process. In his decisions, the CDS has maintained that he was satisfied that the Commander Canadian Forces Recruiting Group (CFRG) had taken the necessary steps to ensure that enrolment procedures were handled with due diligence. The CDS also determined that the occurrence of misleading information given to enrollees had not reached the level of being a Canadian Forces (CF) systemic issue, and therefore he felt that it did not require him to act. Finally, in a recent decision, the CDS reiterated that he was satisfied with the steps taken, but agreed to forward the Board's recommendation to the CFRG for their consideration and action, if deemed necessary.

The Board understands that the number of cases that have reached it in the last several years represent only a very small percentage of the total amount of new recruits enrolled in the CF each year. However, the seriousness of the errors and their impact on the individuals involved should suffice to raise concern at a systemic level.

While the Board agrees that the steps taken by the CFRG should help in reducing the number of mistakes made in the enrolment process, it is not confident this will be sufficient to eliminate possible misunderstandings, misleading offers, or errors relating to the determination of rank and salary.

Recommendation

The Board recommended that the CDS direct that a message be sent to all Recruiting Centres to remind them of the importance of diligence in presenting accurate offers to potential recruits and that this message be followed up to ensure that the recruiting process is as efficient and consistent as possible.

The Board also recommended that the CDS direct an amendment to the enrolment form to ensure that it includes clear and specific information regarding pay and any other recruitment benefits, thus allowing applicants to make fully informed decisions.

Final Authority Decision

Without giving details regarding how it should be done, the CDS nevertheless agreed with the Board's systemic recommendation that the CF must do more to ensure that this type of situation from reoccuring. Therefore, he directed CFRG Headquarters to follow up on its recent change and to review the Board's comments to ensure that they implement whatever measures are possible to avoid such occurrences in the future.


Topic

Accuracy of Information by Recruiters

Case number

Description

In the past year, the Board has received an increasing number of grievances dealing with incorrect and misleading information provided by Canadian Forces Recruiting Centres (CFRC) upon enrolment of individuals. On this issue in October 2008, the Board reported to the senior leadership of the CF:

The Board has consistently found that new recruits are entitled to expect accurate and complete information from the CFRC. After reviewing a number of such complaints, the Board has concluded that, in simple fairness, the CF has a moral obligation to provide relief to individuals who have been prejudiced by their reliance upon erroneous information they received.

In previous cases dealing with serious errors found in enrolment messages, the Board repeatedly made recommendations on systemic issues to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) regarding the need to amend the current enrolment forms to include specific details regarding the proposed rank and financial benefits, in an effort to reduce misunderstanding during the enrolment process. In his decisions, the CDS has maintained that he was satisfied that the Commander Canadian Forces Recruiting Group (CFRG) had taken the necessary steps to ensure that enrolment procedures were handled with due diligence. The CDS also determined that the occurrences of misleading information given to enrollees had not reached the level of being a CF systemic issue, and therefore he felt that it did not require him to act. Finally, in a recent decision, the CDS reiterated that he was satisfied with the steps taken, but agreed to forward the Board’s recommendation to the CFRG for their consideration and action, if deemed necessary.

The Board understood that the number of cases that have reached the Board in the last couple of years represented only a very small percentage of the total amount of new recruits enrolled in the CF each year. However, the seriousness of the errors and their impact on the individuals involved were sufficient to raise concern at a systemic level.

Recommendation

Given the systemic nature of this issue, along with the serious consequences to applicants who rely on information provided to them by the recruiting system to make “life-changing” decisions, the Board recommended that the CDS request the CF Ombudsman to investigate this matter and to make recommendations to the CF.

Final Authority Decision

Although the CDS acknowledged that the grievor suffer damages due to errors made upon his enrolment, he did not accept the Board's recommendation that he requested that the CF Ombudsman investigates the misleading information issue and makes recommendation. The CDS was satisfied that the measures instituted by CFRG HQ were appropriate. Since CT recruitments was reassigned and now resides with D Mil C, the conditional offers are provided in writing, and, therefore, there is much-reduced chance for misunderstanding.

Noting that in this case, the written offer was erroneous, the CDS included D Mil C in the distribution letter so that he can ensure that the same error does not reoccur.


Topic

Accuracy of Information by Recruiters

Case number

Description

The grievor enrolled in the Reserve Entry Training Program as an Officer Cadet (OCdt) based on being informed by the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre (CFRC) that he would be paid as a Second Lieutenant during his military training.  However, subsequent to his enrolment, he was advised that an error had been made and that he would be only be paid as a OCdt.

A significant number of cases have been seen by the Board where errors made within the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group (CFRG) upon enrolling new applicants have led to subsequent recovery action or unilateral changes to a military member’s original and agreed upon conditions of employment by Canadian Forces (CF) authorities.  The Board has also found that these errors are mainly discovered after enrolment.  By that point, the affected CF members are left with few options, typically being required to serve until lawfully released.  The Board noted the absence of any formal mechanism or procedure that would allow CF members who fall victim to an enrolment error to opt out of their promise to serve.  There also appears to be no framework in place allowing the CF to restore such military members to the same position they would have been in, had the error not occurred. 

The Board has expressed its opinion on several occasions that, once an enrolment error has been discovered, the error and its consequences should be verified and immediately brought to the attention of the affected CF member.  Such CF members should then be allowed to choose between continuing to serve under the new conditions of service with financial compensation for the damages that have resulted from the error or being released with no penalty in addition to receiving financial compensation to cover all expenses necessary to restore the CF member to where he/she was prior to enrolment.

Although the number of such cases may be small, significant and damaging enrolment errors continue to be made within the CFRG.  Given the detrimental impact these errors have on CF members and their families, the Board believes that there is a need to develop a formal mechanism or procedure that will permit any CF member who falls victim to an enrolment error to opt out of their promise to serve.

Recommendation

Therefore, the Board recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff direct the development of a regulation or policy to allow CF members who fall victim to an enrolment error to opt out of their promise to serve.  The Board also recommended that such a regulation or policy include a provision allowing the CF to restore such members to the same position they would have been in had the enrolment error not occurred.

Final Authority Decision

The CDS did not agree with the Committee's systemic recommendation that a new regulation be created to allow CAF members, victims of enrolment errors, to choose between accepting new terms of service with financial compensation or return to civilian status. The CDS was satisfied that the informal resolution and CAF grievance processes were an adequate mechanism by which members can dispute and/or correct enrolment anomalies, as well as provide redress to members when deemed appropriate.

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