The ABCs of Military Postings

Disclaimer

For relocation benefits, any discrepancy between this document and the official policy approved by the Treasury Board, the latter shall prevail.

When there is an asterisk (*) you should discuss your options with your service provider (relocation or household goods and effects (HG&E) as applicable), before making a decision or any financial commitment.

Users should be aware that information offered by non-Government of Canada sites are not subject to the Official Languages Act and may therefore be available in only the language(s) used by the sites in question. The Office of the Ombudsman does not ensure the accuracy, currency or reliability of the content of those sites. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information.

Information to Facilitate Sound Financial, Housing and Military Life Decisions for Canadian Armed Forces Members and their Families

The ABCs of Military Postings series was created based on feedback from you, our constituents. It is a direct response to calls for information and complaints that this Office of the Ombudsman, has received regarding relocations and equity losses on sales of houses.

Please note that this document does not cover in its entirety all options available to you as a Canadian Armed Force member or family. It aims to provide accessible information for you and your spouse/partner to make informed decisions.

A | Before You Receive Your Posting Instruction

A | Before You Receive Your Posting Instruction

For relocation benefits, any discrepancy between this document and the official policy approved by the Treasury Board, the latter shall prevail.

Please note that this document does not cover in its entirety all options available to you as a Canadian Armed Force member or family.  It aims to provide accessible information for you and your spouse/partner to make informed choices.

When there is an asterisk (*) you should discuss your options with your service provider (relocation or household goods and effects (HG&E) as applicable), before making a decision or any financial commitment.

Users should be aware that information offered by non-Government of Canada sites are not subject to the Official Languages Act and may therefore be available in only the language(s) used by the sites in question. The Office of the Ombudsman does not ensure the accuracy, currency or reliability of the content of those sites. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information.

Update Your Budget

If you want help establishing or updating your budget, use the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) online budget worksheet or arrange a meeting with a SISIP Financial Services Financial Counsellor (1-800-267-6681).

Make sure that you account for a loss or gain of Environmental Allowances or for a different Post Living Differential (PLD) rate (Table to CBI 205.45) when being posted. 

Figure out whether Income Tax will have an impact on your income when moving to another province.

Compare house prices with the Canadian Real Estate Association - National Average Price Map. Keep in mind that if your spouse/partner does not have proof of employment at your future posting location some financial institutions will consider you to be a one income family.

Compare the average cost of rent across Canada and get information regarding landlord-tenant affairs in each province or territory.

Explore the market status by neighbourhood and compare house prices between your current location and your future location to see whether you may gain or lose on a sale.

Use the Homebuying Tools and Calculators available to you through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Check out Canadian Defence Community Banking (CDCB), for exclusive military mortgage rates and offers, including portable mortgages and the ability to break your mortgage with no repayment charges when relocated under the Integrated Relocation Program.

Regardless of which financial institution you use, military members are advised to obtain a portable mortgage (article 8.1.04 Mortgage portability) to minimize charges or penalties next time they are posted. 

When it comes to moving your pets, check the relocation directives (section 9.2.05) Pet shipment. You may be entitled to some reimbursements. 

Get your CFOne Card and get connected with Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services programs and services, including the military discount program and the CF Appreciation Program. It is not a requirement for your relocation but may help offset some of the costs associated with everyday expenses.

Get to know available family resources and services

Are you moving with children? Read tips for making moving easier on you and your kids and explore the different ways a child can perceive and react to moving with these articles.

Read about the services and benefits offered through Military Family Services, such as: 

Family Information Line (available 24/7 for referrals to support your family with finances, logistics and supportive counselling associated with special needs

Canadian Forces Families on the move

Find the Military Families Resource Centre (MFRC) in your new location to find out about schools, special needs care and services, childcare, spousal employment and the community.

Get information about military family access to medical care, to see if health care/doctor referral services are available at your new location such as the Calian Military Family Doctor Network and Operation Family Doc..

Inform your parents that they also can access support through Military Family Services.

Join MyVoice, a forum open to all military families. Your feedback can help improve programs and services for you and your family.  Check out the latest changes to this service based on feedback from families at: https://www.cfmws.com/en/aboutus/library/mediacentre/newsreleases/pages/myvoice-mavoix.aspx

B | You Have Received Your Posting Instruction

B | You Have Received Your Posting Instruction

For relocation benefits, any discrepancy between this document and the official policy approved by the Treasury Board, the latter shall prevail.

Please note that this document does not cover in its entirety all options available to you as a Canadian Armed Force member or family.  It aims to provide accessible information for you and your spouse/partner to make informed choices even before you receive your posting instruction.

When there is an asterisk (*) you should discuss your options with your service provider (relocation or household goods and effects (HG&E) as applicable), before making a decision or any financial commitment.

Users should be aware that information offered by non-Government of Canada sites are not subject to the Official Languages Act and may therefore be available in only the language(s) used by the sites in question. The Office of the Ombudsman does not ensure the accuracy, currency or reliability of the content of those sites. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information.

Once you receive your posting instruction

If you are new to the ABCs of Military Postings series, have a look at step A – Before you receive your posting instruction.

It provides useful information on:

  • Budgeting;
  • Housing Market tools;
  • Spousal/partner employment;
  • Children’s education services;
  • Military Family Resource Centres; and
  • Access to medical care for families.

After you have received your posting instruction, pre-register with your relocation service provider, who will assign you a representative and assist you during your relocation.

If you are considering living in a Residential Housing Unit on base/wing at your new posting location, apply with the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) as soon as you receive your posting instruction. Housing is allocated according to priorities.

If you are a Junior Non-Commissioned member or a Junior Officer relocating to the National Capital Region (NCR) in Ottawa/Gatineau, you may want to consider Personnel Support Programs (PSP) Military Housing

Choosing the accommodation or hotel for your relocation

The accommodation has to be listed in the 2017 Accommodation and Car Rental Directory (ARCD) and the rate not exceeding the city rate limit. The ACRD no longer indicates if the accommodation supplier rates are within or above the city limit rate.

To avoid incurring costs at personal expense, you should take these steps:

  1. verify the city rate limit for your destination
  2. choose the accommodation you would like to stay at
  3. before booking, call the accommodation staff to confirm the establishment offers rates within the applicable limit
  4. once you book your accommodation, make sure you will not be charged more for your room(s) than what is listed in the ACRD, even if that would be below the city rate

Should an establishment refuse to give the Government Rate published in the ACRD, members are directed to contact the Accommodation and Car Rental Contract Management Section by email at: TPSGCServicesdeVoyage.PWGSCTravelServices@TPSGC-PWGSC.Gc.ca  
(Source: Director Compensation and Benefits Administration message “Changes to Accommodations and Car Rental Directory” dated 28 March 2017)

Familiarize yourself with the geographical boundaries of the location that you will be posted to (your orderly room can assist you with this). If you reside outside of the boundaries, you may not be entitled to benefits such as Post Living Differential. (see Table to CBI 205.45)

If you are considering residing outside of the established boundaries, you must seek approval from your gaining unit Commanding Officer. Do not make any financial commitments until you have received the approval. (Section 2.6)

(*) Consult the relocation directive section related to the move of your household goods and effects (weight limitations, storage (if applicable)). Avoid unexpected personal costs by ensuring that you do not exceed weight limitations. 

(*) Carefully read the pre-move booklet provided by the movers during your move estimate (for your household goods and effects). Seek clarification from your Base/Wing Furniture and Effects Section as required.

Keep original receipts for all of your relocation expenses. They will be required to finalize your claim.

If you want to sell your current house and/or buy at the new location

(*) Ask your relocation service provider about how and why you should get an appraisal for your house, as well as key dates. 

Ask your current financial institution about how to avoid mortgage breaking or early repayment penalties, or to waive the penalties based on your military posting. These penalties are not a reimbursable relocation benefit.

New Mortgage Rule as of October 17, 2016 – default-insured borrowers must qualify for the Mortgage Qualifying Rate (MQR) established by the Bank of Canada at 4.64% to receive mortgage approval (this rate may vary in time).  This change impacts high ratio buyers, or those with less than 20% down payment.

What this means:

Before October 17, 2016                                         After October 17, 2016
10% down for a mortgage of $527,000                  this buyer would qualify for a $420,000 mortgage 
(Cited from: https://dominionlending.ca/news/not-doom-gloom-new-canadian-mortgage-rules-effective-october-17-2016/ accessed 28/03/17)

See scenarios for how these changes impact the maximum home purchase price for buyers at three income levels as calculated by RateHub: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/the-market/how-the-new-housing-rules-affect-your-purchasing-power/article32307002/    

If you decide to keep your current house

(*) Within 15 working days of the receipt of your appraisal, you have to make the decision to either keep or sell your house. If you keep your house, you may be entitled to the Real Estate Incentive (REI) (80% of the real estate commission to a maximum of $12,000). Remember that once the decision has been made, it is irreversible. (Article 8.2.14)

If you are having difficulty selling your house

(*) When no reasonable offer has been received within two months, you may be eligible for Marketing Incentives. These must be recommended by your Real Estate agent and supported by the relocation service provider. (Article 8.2.12)

Ask your chain of command about the possibility of an Imposed Restriction. This is a temporary measure, where you are posted to your new location but your family remains behind. Your chain of command must support your request and your career manager is the approving authority.

(*) If your house remains unsold, vacant and actively marketed and you have to move to your new location, you may be eligible for Temporary Dual Residence Assistance (TDRA) (for a maximum of 6 months from Core funding). (Article 8.2.07)

(*) If you anticipate an equity loss on the sale of your house, remember that the Home Equity Assistance (HEA) benefit will only reimburse you 80% of your loss, up to a maximum of $15,000 through Core. Additionally, the process and required documents to support a request can be overwhelming. Be sure to discuss this benefit with your relocation service provider before selling your house. (Article 8.2.13)

If you are currently renting

If you are renting off base / wing, see whether there are any penalties for terminating your lease.

If you are living in a Residential Housing Unit, read the Canadian Forces Housing Agency’s (CFHA) Occupant Handbook - Moving Out Section.

If you want to rent at the new location

(*) If you are considering renting, ask about the difference between a Destination Inspection Trip (DIT) and a House Hunting Trip (HHT). (Section 4.1.01) Confirm which one is applicable to your situation with your relocation service provider representative.

If you are put on the waiting list and have to rent off-base/wing until a Residential Housing Unit (RHU) is available, you should be aware that you will be considered a Priority 2 applicant and that the subsequent move to the RHU will be at your own expense.

(*) If you are considering rent-to-own, you must know that you will not receive purchase benefits under the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program.

Once you know what your new address will be

At this stage you can begin the registration process for daycare or school, summer or day camps, a family doctor, specialists, etc.

Do you need to know more about available resources in your new community? If so, you can contact your local Military Families Resource Centre (MFRC) or the Family Information Line, 24/7 at 1-800-866-4546(North America), 00-800-771-17722 (International), 1-613-995-5234 (Collect calls) or via email FIL@familyforce.ca.

C | After You Have Completed Your Move

C | After You Have Completed Your Move

For relocation benefits, any discrepancy between this document and the official policy approved by the Treasury Board, the latter shall prevail.

Please note that this document does not cover in its entirety all options available to you as a Canadian Armed Force member or family.  It aims to provide accessible information for you and your spouse/partner to make informed choices even before you receive your posting instruction.

When there is an asterisk (*) you should discuss your options with your service provider (relocation or household goods and effects (HG&E) as applicable), before making a decision or any financial commitment.

Users should be aware that information offered by non-Government of Canada sites are not subject to the Official Languages Act and may therefore be available in only the language(s) used by the sites in question. The Office of the Ombudsman does not ensure the accuracy, currency or reliability of the content of those sites. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information.

After you have completed your move

If you are new to the ABCs of Military Postings series, have a look at step A – Before you receive your posting instruction and step B – You have received your posting instruction.

They provide useful information on:

  • Budgeting;
  • Housing Market tools;
  • Spousal/partner employment;
  • Children’s education services;
  • Military Family Resource Centres;
  • Access to medical care for families;
  • Geographical boundaries;
  • Moving benefits and services;
  • Moving tools and information
  • The Canadian Forces Housing Agency; and
  • Residential Housing Units.

(*) If your house remains unsold, vacant and actively marketed, you may be eligible for Temporary Dual Residence Assistance (TDRA) (for a maximum of 6 months from Core funding). (Article 8.2.07)

(*) If you have had an equity loss on the sale of your house, remember that the Home Equity Assistance (HEA) benefit will only reimburse you 80% of your loss, up to a maximum of $15,000 through Core. (Article 8.2.13)

Additionally, the process and required documents to support a request can be overwhelming. Be sure to discuss this benefit with your relocation service provider.  

Speak with your relocation service provider to see what is required to finalize your claim and be reimbursed for eligible expenses.

Be prepared for child care support in challenging situations. The Family Care Plan (FCP) is designed to ensure that you have a plan in place to care for your family in the event of an emergency callout, planned deployment or unforeseen situation. (The form (DND 2886, Family Care Plan Declaration from Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAOD) 5044-1, Families) is available through the orderly room for CAF Members)

Be prepared for all eventualities. Accidents, serious illness or death occur without notice. Make sure your affairs are in order (your orderly room is available to assist you in completing these documents) and discuss them with the persons most close to you. Keep a copy of your documents and inform the persons close to you of their location. 

Here are some important documents with which you can communicate your choices:

  • Emergency Contact(s) Notification (CF 742) Form - Who do you want to be contacted first should something serious happen to you?
  • Next of Kin (NOK) Identification (DND 2587) Form - Who do you consider your immediate family or persons most close to you, i.e. who do you want to be able to access support, like travel expenses or bereavement support?
  • Designation of Memorial Cross Recipients (DND 2105) Form - Who do you want to designate as a potential Memorial Cross Recipients?
  • Supplementary Death Benefits Plan (DND 497) Form - Who do you want as beneficiary for your Supplementary Death Benefit?

Do you need a new will? If you have a Canadian Armed Forces will (DAOD 7012-1, Preparation and Administration of Wills), assess your personal situation to see if it still covers your needs. If you have a different kind of will, know that requirements for the validity of a personal will vary from one province to another. 

  • Who do you want to appoint as executor of your will?
  • Have you informed this person of his/her role?

Complete your change of address for all important documentation and identification, including health cards.

Do you need to know more about available resources in your new community? If so, you can contact your local Military Families Resource Centre (MFRC) or the Family Information Line, 24/7 at 1-800-866-4546 (North America), 00-800-771-17722 (International), 1-613-995-5234 (Collect calls) or via email  FIL@CAFconnection.ca

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