Granting of Special Leave (Relocation) to Reservists

Topic

Granting of Special Leave (Relocation) to Reservists

Case number

Description

The Board found that Naval Reserve Headquarters (NAVRESHQ) misinterpreted the Canadian Forces (CF) Leave Policy Manual in their NAVRESGEN 004/11 message dated 26 January 2011.  This message restricted the granting of Special Leave (Relocation) to only those Reservists already serving on Class "B" or "C" periods of Reserve Service of 30 days or more.  As a result, Reservist on Class "A" Reserve Service agreeing to be placed on either Class "B" or "C" Reserve Service were not entitled to Special Leave (Relocation) because they were not considered to be on military duty when they accepted the Class “B” training or employment. 

 

The Board found that the CF Leave Policy Manual reflects Article 16.11 of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces (QR&O) which states that a Reservist on Class "B" or "C" Reserve Service is eligible for Long Leave consideration, which includes Special Leave (Relocation), when the minimum service period of 30 consecutive days is met.  The Board concluded that, were the NAVRESGEN interpretation correct, Class "A" Reservists who then agrre to serve on Class "B" or "C" Reserve Service would be unable to benefit from any of the types of Long Leave found in the CF Leave Policy Manual, including Annual Leave, Special Leave (Mission), Special Leave (In Lieu of Mission Leave) to name but a few.

 

Furthermore, in the Board’s view, the NAVRESGEN message was wrong to direct that Commanding Officers (CO) immediately cease authorizing Special Leave (Relocation).  The CF Leave Policy Manual gives COs the discretion to grant Special Leave (Relocation) The Board found that the exercise of a properly delegated and explicit authority, in this case the use of discretion to grant Special Leave (Relocation), should not be expanded, restricted, influenced, suspended or forbidden by a NAVRESGEN message.

 

The Board also observed that the language of the Special Leave (Relocation) portion of the CF Leave Policy Manual contributes to confusion as it does not distinguish between Regular Force members and Reserve Force members even though their eligibility requirements are different.

 

Finally, the Board also noted that the evidence on file suggests that other Reservists were affected in the same manner as the grievor by the direction contained in the NAVRESGEN 004/11 message.  Based on the Board’s interpretation of the regulations, and pursuant to subsection 29(5) of the National Defence Act, the Board was of the view that it would only be fair to have the files of all such individuals reassessed in order to determine the proper entitlement for each affected Reservist.

Recommendation

The Board recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) direct the review and amendment of the Special Leave (Relocation) portion of the CF Leave Policy Manual in order to:

·  include mention of the requirement for Reservists to serve a minimum of 30 consecutive days of Class "B" or "C Reserve Service in order to be eligible for Long Leave/Special Leave (Relocation) in accordance with QR&O 16.11 (b);

·  provide factors for consideration by COs to guide them in exercising their discretion to grant Special Leave (Relocation); and

·  modify the CF Leave Policy manual so as to account for the eligibility difference between the Regular Force and the Reserve Force.

 

The Board also recommended that the CDS direct an audit of all Reservists affected by the NAVRESGEN 004/11 message to determine their eligibility and entitlement to Special Leave (Relocation).

 

Final Authority Decision

The CDS agreed with the Board's systemic recommendation that the wording used in the Special Leave Relocation portion of the CF Leave Policy Manual be reviewed, as well as the NAVRESGEN interpretation of the policy, since it contributes to the confusion with regard to a reservist's entitlement to Special Leave Relocation.

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