- 2012-020 (F&R Date: 2012–05–29)
The Board has reviewed a great number of grievances where potential enrollees were given erroneous advice and information from staff at Canadian Forces Recruiting Centres (CRFC) regarding enrolment offers and conditions of service; most specifically and frequently concerning rank, pay and increment level. The Board noted that enrolment offers are often given verbally by CFRCs, oftentimes over the phone. As well, the CFRC notes referring to the verbal enrolment offers are somewhat limited and do not include the rank and the pay increment level discussed with an applicant. This important information is also not included in the formal documentation signed by the Canadian Forces (CF) member on enrolment. In addition, the first time the enrollees are made aware of the details of the enrolment offers in writing is through the enrolment, transfer, posting (ETP) instruction message. This practice appears to have been generalized across CFRCs until 1 January 2011 when Defence Administrative Order and Directive 5002-1 - Enrolment, was modified to include, among other changes, that an enrolment offer contain at a minimum the following information:
- the enrolment component or sub-component
- the enrolment plan, if any;
- the military occupation, if applicable;
- the rank immediately upon enrolment;
- the authority and rate of pay upon enrolment as set out in Compensation and Benefits Instructions Chapter 204;
- the terms of service;
- the period during which the applicant may be on leave without pay and allowances immediately after enrolment, if any;
- CF and military occupation training requirements, dates and location; and
- the liability under the Code of Service Discipline of the applicant once enrolled.
In some instances, errors are discovered shortly after enrolment and ETP messages are amended forthwith to reflect the correct pay, pay increment level, as well as terms of service; in other cases, the Board has seen amendments to ETP instruction messages affecting CF members' pay taking place some four to five years after enrolment and, invariably, resulting in considerable overpayments which the affected CF members are informed must be recovered. Whether the errors are discovered immediately or some years later, by that point, the candidates are CF members and are told they must blindly accept what the ETP message provides as conditions of service.
Where the information contained in the ETP message is identical to the verbal offer made by a CFRC to an applicant, this contruct is not really problematic. However, in cases where an applicant states that the ETP message does not reflect the proposed CFRC verbal enrolment offer or when an error is later discovered and it becomes necessary to ascertain the content of the CFRC discussion with an applicant, the absence of a record makes it extremely difficult for the chain of command, a reviewing authority, a grievance authority, the Board or a Court to review a particular case and assess its merits. While the Board was pleased to note that the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group has been working on creating a written offer to provide to applicants, the production of a complete enrolment record would likely reduce, if not eliminate, the number of errors (and potential claims of breaches of promises) upon enrolment.
The Board recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff direct that:
- the CFRC's proposed enrolment offers always be done in writing and include the conditions of service;
- applicants receive a copy of their proposed enrolment offer and conditions of service, be given time to review these documents, and be required to acknowledge in writing their acceptance of the conditions of service;
- enrolment documentation be amended to include the conditions of service contained in the CFRC's proposed enrolment offers; and
- ETP messages include the conditions of service contained in the enrolment documentation.
Final Authority Decision
Since the CFRG is implementing various procedures to minimize errors (ex: written offers to applicants at least two weeks before enrolment), the CDS was satisfied that these measures were sufficient to rectify the issues raised by the Board.
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