Home Equity Assistance

100% Home Equity Assistance in CFIRP

Over three years with no sign of resolution

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Lets look back at this three year administrative bungle over systemically denied relocation entitlements to military families. Here are the summaries of the grievance results at the CHief of Defence Staff level:

2010 grievances:

$45,000 loss – “The CDS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to deny the grievance. The CDS also agreed with the Board’s systemic recommendation and he directed the DGCB to review the HEA provisions with TB with a view to reducing the impact of losses on sale to a reasonable and minimally detrimental level. One issue for review is the definition of “community”: using a large metropolitain area as a basis for defining a community would average out large discrepancies amongst the communities that make up the larger area. The CDS strongly support the grievor’s case as a valid compensation as a claim against the Crown for the loss of equity not reimbursed under the CF IRP, and he forwarded the file to the DCCL”

$53,000 loss-“The CDS agreed with the Board’s recommendation to partially uphold the grievance. The CDS redirected the DGCB to review the adequacy of the HEA provisions with Treasury Board with respect to ensuring the aim of minimizing any negative effect on CF members. With respect to the grievor’s request regarding interest charges, the CDS agreed with the Board that there are no provisions allowing their reimbursement.”

2011 Grievance:

$88,000 loss-“The CDS agreed with the Board’s findings and its recommendation to partially uphold the grievance. The CDS directed the DGCB to prepare and transmit the grievor’s HEA submission to Treasury Board (TB), in accordance with the CF IRP provisions, for evaluation of depressed market status. In the event that TB should not find in favour of this submission, the CDS invited the grievor to forward his file to DCCL for compensatory consideration as a claim against the Crown, with his full support.
Since there are now a number of grievances relating to CF members who have experienced severe losses in home equity as a result of being posted to and from the Edmonton area, the CDS reiterated his previous direction to the DGBC, as recommended by the Board in previous files, which is to continue to engage TB in vigorous negotiations. The CDS specified that the negotiations should be focused as follows:
a. to revisit the TB’s determination that there were no depressed markets in Canada in 2010, including the definition of ”community”; and
b. to re-examine the CF IRP HEA provisions, in particular the 20% depressed market criteria and the $15,000.00 maximum amount reimbursable under the CF IRP core envelope.”

2012 Grievances

$53,000 loss-“The CDS agreed with the Board that the grievance be partially upheld. Since the grievor has provided considerable information that seemed to meet the depressed market criteria of article 8.2.13 of CF IRP 2009 , supporting his contention that Calgary’s condos market had dropped, the CDS directed that his file be sent through DCBA to TBS for determination.
As recommended by the Board in several HEA cases, and given the detrimental effect on CF members, the CDS directed CMP to review the adequacy of the CF IRP HEA provisions with TB to minimize any negative impact to CF members brought on by the exigencies of military service.

$101,500 loss-“The CDS agreed with the Board that the grievance be partially upheld. Since the grievor has provided the information required by article 8.2.13 of CF IRP 2009 in support of his contention that his neighbourhood in Edmonton was a depressed market, the CDS directed that his file be sent through DCBA to TBS for determination.
As recommended by the Board in several HEA cases, and given the detrimental effect on CF members, the CDS directed DGCB to review the adequacy of the CF IRP HEA provisions with TB to minimize any negative impact to CF members brought on by the exigencies of military service.”

$76,000 loss-“The CDS agreed with the Board’s findings and recommendations that the grievance be denied. Section 1.3.02 of the CF IRP 2009 recognizes that there will be situations when exceptional circumstances may occur that was not already envisioned in the policy. In the grievor’s case, the loss of home equity was covered by section 8.2.13 of the CF IRP 2009. In this case, the grievor did not suffer a 20% decline in housing costs as required by the disposition.
The CDS reiterated his endorsement to the Board’s systemic recommendation in previous cases that the HEA provisions be reviewed.”

$79,000 loss – CDS decision pending

$37,000 loss – “The CDS agreed with the Board’s findings and recommendation that the grievance be denied. However, the CDS agreed with the Board that the situation incurred by CF members with the application of the current Home Equity Assistance (HEA) policy is egregious. Therefore, the CDS confirmed the Board’s systemic recommendation submitted in previous files on this matter and directed Director General Compensation and Benefits to actively review the adequacy of CFIRP HEA provisions with Treasury Board”

$65,000 loss CDS decision pending.

Note that this one component of one policy has been under review for [b]at least three years[/b] to the detriment of all of the families above. I have been contacted by many others who did not claim HEA as their IRP rep identified that “there are no depressed markets in Canada” so do not apply (N.B. I was also told this but applied, and grieved regardless).

I know if the CDS had been telling me to do something, and he had to tell it to me 8 times, and it still was not done after three years, I’d be out of a job! My biggest issue is that since this is a known issue, why did the 2012 policy not change. This new soldier is being made to suffer unnecessarily until the policy is changed.

From a financial perspective: Had TBS paid out the HEA ENTITLEMENT it would have cost about $597,000 (approx). Since they continue to deny these entitlements, it costs taxpayers at least the fol: (9 x CDS grievances, at least 3 x Claims against the crown, 2 x Judicial Reviews, all the related staff work, work time from the members and loss of productivity). If I were a betting man, this would far exceed the approx $600,000 that the families were entitled to.

So, if TBS is trying to do their job and save taxpayers money, should they not be granting entitlements that are authorized?
Common Sense

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Written by Major Marcus Brauer

August 31, 2013 at 22:05

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