Allowance for Loss of Operations Allowance

There are 2 issues related to topic "Allowance for Loss of Operations Allowance".


Topic

Allowance for Loss of Operations Allowance

Case number

Description

During the course of its investigation concerning the denial of the Allowance for Loss of Operations Allowance (ALOA) to a grievor, the Board found that the granting of this benefit was left entirely to the discretion of the responsible Task Force Commander (TF Comd).  As such, the definition of "military casualty", which a member must meet in order to be eligible for this benefit, was subject to different interpretations depending upon the TF Comd's point of view.  In addition, there appeared to be significant discrepancies in the manner in which various offices at National Defence Headquarters were interpreting the application of this benefit.  Finally, there did not appear to be any review or oversight of the decisions made regarding this benefit, nor was a TF Comd required to provide reasons for his decision to grant or deny the benefit.  The Board found that the administration of the benefit lacked clear guidance, review or oversight and that action should be taken to correct these shortcomings. 

Recommendation

The Board  recommended that the CDS order a review of the process by which the ALOA is being administered to ensure that decisions of whether CF members meet the eligibility criteria found at CBI 205.536, including the definition of a "military casualty", are consistent with one another and, also, consistent with the intent of the benefit itself.  This review could include the issuance of guiding principles, the imposition of a mandatory consultation with appropriate medical authorities and/or centralizing the approving authority.  

Final Authority Decision

The CDS agreed with the Board's systemic recommendation that the process for administering ALOA be reviewed, and he directed DGCB to conduct the review.


Topic

Allowance for Loss of Operations Allowance

Case number

Description

Review of Medical Repatriations – Eligibility for Loss of Operational Allowance

Paragraph 205.536(3) of the Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) states that the purpose of the Allowance – Loss of Operational Allowance (ALOA) is to compensate a member of the Canadian Forces (CF) who meets the following eligibility criteria: (1) has been deployed, (2) has become a “casualty”, (3) is no longer able to serve in a Special Duty Area or Special Duty Operation and (4) the operational allowances relating to his service have ceased.

Article 205.536 of the CBI stipulates that a “casualty” occurs when a member is wounded during hostilities or falls ill for reasons directly related to the conditions of his deployment. CANFORGEN 050/07 specifies that a “casualty” includes injuries that result directly from the execution of military tasks necessary to the success of the mission.

In the grievance referred to the Board, the Head of the National Contingent considered that the injuries suffered by the grievor, while using naphtha to light the barbecue to prepare a meal, which was the cause of his repatriation to Canada, did not constitute an injury that resulted directly from the execution of military tasks necessary to the success of the mission.  The Board found that the decision of the Head of the National Contingent, in that case, was based on a restrictive interpretation of the term “casualty”.

The Board concluded that the grievor was eligible to the ALOA because he had obeyed the orders of his Section Commander and followed current practice. The Board also found that while the member’s actions were not ideal, they did not amount to negligence. The Board referred to another case, somewhat similar, where the ALOA was questioned and where the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) agreed with the application of a more permissive and liberal interpretation of the term “casualty”. In that case, the CDS had also accepted the explanation of the Treasury Board confirming the flexibility of a Commander in deciding whether a CF member is entitled to the ALOA.

Given that the Head of the National Contingent, who denied the grievor’s request for the ALOA, indicated that he had administered over 240 repatriations, the Board found that there was a high risk that other CF members repatriated for medical reasons were denied the ALOA based on the same incorrect and overly restrictive interpretation of the term “casualty” by this individual.

Recommendation

The Board recommended that the CDS order the review of the medical repatriations directed by this Head of the National Contingent where the granting of the ALOA was denied, in order to ensure that these files are evaluated using a more liberal interpretation of paragraph 205.536(3) of the CBI.

Final Authority Decision

The CDS did not follow the Board's systemic recommendation to order a review of the 2009 repatriations where the allowance for loss of operational allowances had been denied, in order to reassess those repatriations according to a more liberal interpretation of CBI 205.536(3).  The CDS deemed that the JTF Comd made informed decisions and that each repatriation had to be dealt with on a case by case basis.  He added that there was no serious issues in regard to the application of CBI 205.536(3).

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