Lack of criteria governing the exercise of the recovery authority

Topic

Lack of criteria governing the exercise of the recovery authority

Case number

Description

In its review of a case involving the granting of excess annual leave days in error, the Board considered article 208.315 of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders (QR&O) – Forfeiture in Respect of Leave, which allows the competent authorities to recover excess annual leave days granted in error from both the pay and benefits of members. The Board noted that the current trend within the Canadian Forces (CF) is to systematically require reimbursement of annual leave granted in error. On reading article 208.315, however, the Board determined that this is a discretionary power that CF authorities are not obliged to exercise at all times. The Board accordingly concluded that under article 208.315 of the QR&Os, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) may identify situations where it would be fair and reasonable not to recover overpaid annual leave.

The Board noted, however, that these situations are not currently defined in any policies or directives. Consequently, there is a lack of pre-determined parameters within which the competent authorities can equitably identify cases where the exercise of this power would or would not be appropriate. According to the Board, the concerned authorities would benefit greatly from the identification and publication of such criteria. The Board added that this might address the widespread practice within the CF of systematically recovering overpaid annual leave granted in error.

Recommendation

The Board therefore recommended that the CDS order the development and publication of parameters governing the application of article 208.315 of the QR&Os.

The Board also recommended that the CDS order the publication of a CANFORGEN for authorities invested with discretionary power in order to remind them of their obligations in exercising this power.

Final Authority Decision

The CDS concluded that in the absence of a recurrent problem he would not support the Board's systemic recommendation to order the development and publication of criteria governing the exercise of the recovery authority provided for at article 208.315 of the QR&Os.

Although the CDS did not support the recommendation to develop criteria and publish a CANFORGEN to remind competent authorities of their obligations regarding the exercise of this discretionary power, the CDS indicated that he would remind the Chief of Military Personnel of the existence of this discretionary power in order to ensure that it is used judiciously

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