Meal Purchased While on TD at a Foreign Military Base

Topic

Meal Purchased While on TD at a Foreign Military Base

Case number

Description

While attending a training course in the United States, the grievor was directed to purchase and consume his meals at a military dining facility for which he was then reimbursed only the actual expenses. The grievor argued that he was entitled to the full per diem meal rates because he had not been provided with meals at no cost to him as established by Treasury Board (TB) and as provided for by instruction 7.18 of the Canadian Forces Temporary Duty Travel Instructions (CFTDTI).

The Committee agreed.  It noted that the intent of the CFTDTI is to provide CAF members with benefits similar to those afforded to public service employees so that the essential character of the benefits remains the same.

For public service employees, the per diem is not reduced or increased regardless of whether it is fully used or not. TB developed the per diem to function as a “no questions asked” type of allowance with the sole exception being for meals provided at no expense to the member/employee. The decision to spend less or more than the established per diem rate is a personal one and does not affect the entitlement one way or the other.

Where public servants or CAF members must pay for their meals while on TD, the Committee explained that it is irrelevant whether the meals are purchased at a mess, a fast food establishment, or a fine dining restaurant. This is the result of the TB approved policy, set out in instruction 7.18 of the CFTDTI for CAF members. The Committee therefore found that it was not open to the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) to interpret and apply it otherwise.

Recommendation

The Committee recommended that :

-    the DCBA interpretation and application of instruction 7.18 of the CFTDTI be brought in line with the approach set out in its report; and,
 
-    the claims of all CAF members affected by the erroneous DCBA interpretation of instruction 7.18 of the CFTDTI, since it took effect on 1 January 2012, be reviewed and reassessed in light of the proper application of the CFTDTI.

Final Authority Decision

The FA found that there is no issue with instruction 7.18 of the CFTDTI and therefore, that there was no need for a systemic recommendation.

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