Administration of Foreign Service Premium and Operations Foreign Service Premium

Topic

Administration of Foreign Service Premium and Operations Foreign Service Premium

Case number

Description

In July 2007, the grievor was posted outside Canada, accompanied by his dependants. At that time, he was receiving the Foreign Service premium (FSP) pursuant to the Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI). During May to September of 2008, the grievor was attach posted on an operational deployment, creating an entitlement to the operations (OPS) FSP, also pursuant to the CBI.

During his operational deployment, the grievor's FSP amount was reduced pursuant to a Director Compensation and Benefits - Administration (DCBA) memo (1611-10.3.04 (0298/05) (DCBA 4) 23 August 2005).

The Board was of the view that the provisions in the DCBA memo, regarding the calculation of FSP and OPS FSP, were inconsistent with the provisions of the CBI. In particular, contrary to article 10.14.02(14) of the Military Foreign Service Instruction, the DCBA memo purports to reduce the FSP amount by the member's share, and modifies the categories used in the CBI, instead of adjusting the FSP by the member's family size. Further, the DCBA memo adjusts the FSP payment effective the first day the member arrives at the operational post, rather than on the 26th compensation day of the absence. The Board was concerned that FSP and OPS FSP continued to be approved and reduced pursuant to the DCBA memo, despite the fact that these benefits are clearly governed by the CBI.

Noting that the CBI were in the process of being amended to reflect the content of the DCBA memo, the Board indicated that it was not convinced that this proposed new scheme would result in the fair treatment of members with dependants, deployed while posted in foreign countries. The Board opined that the current provisions found in the CBI relating to FSP and OPS FSP appear perfectly fair and balanced.

Recommendation

The Board recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff order a review of the changes proposed to the FSP and OPS FSP by the DCBA to confirm if they are required. If ultimately it is decided that changes are required, the Board recommended that the Canadian Forces work with the Treasury Board (TB) on an urgent basis in order to amend the applicable provisions, so as to regularize the administration of these allowances under proper TB authority.

Final Authority Decision

The CDS agreed with the Board's systemic recommendations that a review of all files of members in similar circumstances be conducted, and that revisions being proposed to the FSP and OPS FSP policies based on the DCBA letter be reviewed to determine if they are actually necessary.

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