The ABCs of Military Postings

Related Information

The service delivery model for relocation services is changing as of December 1st, 2017. Relocation benefits remain the same.

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.
 

A | Before You Receive Your Posting Instruction

A | Before Receiving Your Posting Instruction

For relocation benefits, if the information in this document differs from that contained in the official policy approved by the Treasury Board, the Treasury Board will prevail.

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

Where 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.

Get ready: update your budget

The SISIP (Service Income Security Insurance Plan) budget sheet is an excellent starting point. If necessary, consider accessing financial counseling with a SISIP financial advisor by making an appointment via the Internet or by calling 1-800-267-6681. If you are already struggling financially because of the challenges of serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, your family can also get additional help through "Support Our Troops."

Consider getting a CFOne card. It is available for you and each member of your family, and provides access to the Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Program. Although you do not need to join during your relocation, this official rebate program for the military community may help you reduce some of the costs associated with your daily expenses. 

Be sure to include gains or losses related to Environmental Allowances in your budget. The rates for some of these allowances may vary considerably from one place of duty to another. For example: the Post Living Differential (PLD) CBI 205.45; this allowance may not be available where you plan to reside at your new place of duty. Be sure to check with your unit/base orderly room.

Be aware of the impact of tax rates on your income when you move to another province.

If this transfer involves a move

Familiarize yourself with the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CFIRP) Directive now. Please note that the CFIRP has been in effect since April 1, 2009 and is currently undergoing a complete revision. This directive expresses Treasury Board approved policy regarding the relocation of dependents and household goods and effects (HG&E) of members of the Canadian Armed Forces. If you have questions while reading the CFIRP Directive, make sure to make note of them. You will have time to discuss these questions with your BGRS Relocation services provider (formerly Brookfield Global Relocation Services) after receiving your posting instruction.

If you are moving outside of Canada (OUTCAN), you can find information specific to postings Outside Canada or "OUTCAN". Here you will find information about operations, education and training, employment, and the Canadian Armed Forces community. More information is also available to you if you are moving to Europe or to the United States.

Additionally, be sure to note that spouses of military personnel may not qualify for employment insurance during postings abroad. You can also find more information about employment insurance and workers and residents outside Canada here.

Here are a few suggestions on how to prepare for a change of residence

Explore the state of the real estate market and compare the prices of houses or rental housing between your current location and your new place of duty. See the document entitled Housing Market Information. Other websites such as Royal Lepage and Canadian Real Estate Magazine also provide information on this topic.

If you are considering buying a home:

  • Keep in mind that some financial institutions will consider you to be a single income family if your spouse / partner does not have proof of employment at the new place of duty;
  • Compare house prices on the Canadian Real Estate Association's website (the state of the market may give you an indication of a potential home gain or loss if you sell your home);
  • Use the Homebuying Tools - Calculators made available by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; and
  • Be aware that Canadian Defence Community Banking (CDCB) offers exclusive mortgage rates for military members, including portable mortgages and the possibility of a mortgage break without penalty, if you are relocated under the Integrated Relocation Program.  

If you are considering renting a home:

Learn more about services and resources available to families

Find out about the services offered by the Military Family Services Program through the cafconnection.ca website. Find the Military Family Resource Center (MFRC) at your new location to get more information about schools, special needs, childcare, and jobs in the local community.

Whether you have children or not, MFRC Services are available to everyone. Inform your parents that they too can access support from Military Family Services (MFS).

Here are some of their services and other links that might be helpful:

About children:
 

Be aware that some Military Family Resource Centers (MFRCs) offer activities to better prepare children for a possible move. As an example, the Valcartier MFRC offers the children's program: What? We are moving again! 5 to 11 years old. Some websites also offer helpful ideas on how to make a move easier for your children or what to do if your child is upset about your relocation.

Find out about the support available for Child Education Management in Canada and abroad. As examples, you can consult:

Please note that the Support Our Troops program also provides assistance to you and your family to help you face the challenges of military service. 

About Spousal Employment:

Find information about Professional Accreditation from provincial or territorial agencies. You may also find job opportunities through the National Morale and Wellness Service’s Help for Employment page or the Employment Opportunities at Bases/Wings page. 

About medical care:

Find out about access to medical care for military families to find out if access to healthcare services are available at your new location.

Find out if Calian Health Service Company or Operation Family Doc are available at your new location.

Other useful links for the family:

Invite your loved ones to learn about the military life by consulting the following link: A Family Guide to the Military Experience.

Join MyVoice, a forum open to all military families. Your feedback can help improve programs and services for you and your family.  

Use the Family Information Line (available 24/7 to access resources to support your family with finances, logistics and special needs counseling.)

B | You Have Received Your Posting Instruction

B | You Have Received Your Posting Instruction

For relocation benefits, if the information in this document differs from that contained in the official policy by the Treasury Board, the Treasury Board will prevail.

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

Where 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.

If you have not yet reviewed Part A: Before you receive your posting instruction, it is recommended you do so. Part A aims to help prepare you for the day you receive your posting instruction. In this document, you will find useful information about:

  • Updating your budget;
  • Tools to analyze the state of the real estate market;
  • Spousal/partner employment;
  • Children’s education services;
  • Military Family Resource Centers; and
  • Access to medical care for families.

Now that you have received your posting instruction

The first thing to do is to pre-register with the BGRS Relocation Service Provider, as this must be done within the 5th and 21st day following the date your posting message was issued.

For posting instructions dated prior to 30 November 2017, this must be done online at the following link:  https://www.irp-pri.com/pre_registration/index.asp

For posting instructions dated 1 December 2017 or after, you must use the following:  https://bgrsguide.bgrs.ca/account/login 

You are now ready to plan the next steps of your transfer: such as the House Hunting Trip (HHT), the sale of your current principal residence, the purchase or lease of a principal residence at the new location of your posting, or planning your move. Here are some suggestions of what you should pay close attention to and some suggestions to better your preparation:  

With respect to your current principal residence

If you are a tenant, we suggest you take the time to review your lease to better understand your responsibilities when you leave the property.

If you are renting outside the base/wing, check if your lease contains a clause indicating whether you will have lease break penalties. (Article 7.03 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive (CFIRP) contains other relevant information).

If you are in one of the military residential housing units, read the information in the "Moving-out" section of the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) Occupant's Handbook.

If you want to sell your house and / or buy one at your new place of duty

(*) Ask your BGRS relocation service provider how to get an assessment for your home, why you should get one, and the key dates. (Article 8.2.05 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive – CFIRP).

Check with your current financial institution and ask how to avoid mortgage breaking penalties or the possibility of waiving penalties based on your military posting. These penalties are not a reimbursable relocation benefit.

The rules governing mortgages have changed since October 17, 2016 - buyers who need an insurable loan, those for which the down payment will be less than 20% of the total purchase value of the home, will qualify for the Bank of Canada Reference Rate (floating rate). For more information, see the Technical Backgrounder: Mortgage Insurance Rules and Income Tax Proposals (revised October 14, 2016) on the Department of Finance Canada website. Additionally, see scenarios for how these changes impact the maximum home purchase price for buyers at three income levels as calculated by RateHub.ca.

If you have difficulty with the sale of your house

(*) If you have not received a reasonable offer within two months, you may be eligible for Marketing Incentives. These must be recommended by your Realtor and supported by the Relocation Services Provider BGRS. (Article 8.2.12 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive – CFIRP).

Ask your chain of command about the possibility of an Imposed Restriction. This is a temporary measure, where you can proceed to your new place of duty while your family stays in their current place. Your chain of command must support your request and the approving authority is your career manager. 

(*) If your home remains unsold and vacant and is actively marketed while traveling to your new place of duty, you may be eligible for the Temporary Dual Residence Assistance (TDRA) (for a maximum of 6 months basic allowance). (Article 8.2.07 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive – CFIRP).

(*) If you anticipate an equity loss when you sell your house, be aware that the Home Equity Assistance (HEA) benefit will only reimburse you 80% of your loss, up to a maximum of $15,000. In addition, the process and documents required to apply for a refund can be complex. Be sure to discuss this benefit with your relocation service provider before selling your home. (Article 8.2.13 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive – CFIRP).

If you decide to keep your current home

(*) Within 15 business days of receiving your appraisal, you must make the decision to keep or sell your home at your current location. If you keep your house, you may be eligible for the Real Estate Incentive (80% of the real estate commission, up to $12,000). Remember that once your decision is made, it is irreversible. (Article 8.2.14 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive – CFIRP).

House Hunting Trip (HHT)  

If you are considering renting at your new duty station, (*) ask, what is the difference between a Destination Inspection Trip (DIT) and a House Hunting Trip (HHT). Confirm with your relocation service provider which compensation is applicable to your situation. (See Sections 4.1.04 and 4.1.01 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive – CFIRP).

(*) If you consider a lease with an option to buy, you may not be eligible for certain purchase benefits from the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program. Please contact your BGRS Relocation Officer for full details before making any commitment.

(*) Before leaving, familiarize yourself with the geographical boundaries of your new place of duty. If you consider living outside geographical boundaries, you must obtain the approval of the commander of your new unit. Do not make any commitments until you have obtained approval. Subsequent approval by the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) is required for the relocation of dependents and household goods and effects (HG&E) (see Section 2.6 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive – CFIRP).

(*) In addition, if you plan to live outside the geographic boundaries, you may not be eligible for certain benefits or allowances such as Post Living Differential (PLD) (see CBI 205.45).  If you have any questions, please contact the administrative staff at the orderly room of your support unit.

If you consider living in one of the military residential housing units at your posting’s base / wing, it is recommended you obtain more information from the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) as soon as you receive your posting message. In particular, be aware that housing units are allocated according to priority.

You should know that if you decide to move into a rental accommodation outside the base / wing while waiting for a military residential housing unit to be assigned to you, this rental accommodation will be considered your primary residence at your new posting location. As such, you will move from the priority 1 waiting list to the priority 2 waiting list. Moreover, since you have already had a move reimbursed by the Crown to your principal residence at your new place of duty, the subsequent move into the military housing unit will be at your expense.

If you are a Junior Non-Commissioned member or a Junior Officer posted in the National Capital Region (NCR) Ottawa / Gatineau, you may wish to consider military accommodations in the Personnel Support Program (PSP).

Once you know what your new address will be

At this stage, you can begin the registration process for daycares, schools, summer camps, family doctor, specialists, etc.

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

(*) Refer to Chapter 9 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program Directive (CFIRP) related to the move of your household goods and effects (HG&E). Weight Limitations, and Storage (if applicable). Avoid unexpected personal expenses by ensuring that you do not exceed weight limitations.

(*) Carefully read the pre-move information booklet that will be given to you by the moving company during your estimate (for your household goods and effects (HG&E)). If needed, get clarification by contacting the Furniture and Effects section of your base / wing.

Choosing the right accommodation or hotel while travelling because of your posting

Your accommodation must be included in the 2017 Accommodation and Car Rental Directory (ACRD) of Public Works and Government Services Canada. This accommodation must not charge a rate that exceeds the city rate limit. Since January 2017, the ACRD no longer indicates if the accommodation supplier raters are within or above the city limit rate.

To avoid incurring costs at your personal expense, you should follow the steps below: 

  1. Verify the city rate limit for your destination.
  2. Choose an accommodation that is a part of the 2017 Accommodation and Car Rental Directory.
  3. When booking, confirm that the accommodation offers rates within the applicable limit.
  4. Once your reservation is made, make sure that you will not be charged more for your room(s) than what is listed in the ACRD, even if this rate would be below the city rate.

In cases where an accommodation refuses to offer a rate in accordance with the rates published in the ACRD, the military must contact the Accommodation and Car Rental Contract Management Section by email to the following address: PWGSCTravelServices.PWGSCTravelServices@TPSGC-PWGSC.Gc.ca

Keep your original receipts for expenses incurred during your relocation; they will be required to finalize your claims. The original copies must be kept in your possession for a period of seven years for verification purposes.

C | After You Have Completed Your Move

C | After You Have Completed Your Move

For relocation benefits, if the information in this document differs from that contained in the official policy by the Treasury Board, the Treasury Board will prevail.

Please note that this document does not cover in its entirety all options available to you as a Canadian Armed Forces 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.

Where there is an asterisk (*) you should discuss your options with your BGRS Relocation 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 Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CFRIP) Directive).

(*) 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. In addition, the process and documents required to apply for a refund can be complex. Be sure to discuss this benefit with your BGRS Relocation Service Provider. (Article 8.2.13 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CFIRP) Directive).

Talk to your BGRS Relocation Service Provider to find out what is required to finalize the claims.

Be sure to go to your unit’s orderly room to complete the following documents:   

  • Declaration of Family Care Plan (FCP) form (DND 2886). It is designed to ensure that your family has child care in the event of an emergency mobilization, planned deployment or unforeseen situation. The Directive and Administrative Order of Defense (DAOD) 5044-1, Families, provided more details. Find out about available services in difficult family situations at the local Military Family Resource Center;
  • Your Emergency Contact(s) form (CF 742). This form indicates the name of the person with whom you would like to be contacted first if something serious happens to you. Be sure to notify the person you choose and that they are comfortable with receiving this type of call;
  • Next-of-Kin Identification (NOK) form (DND 2587). This one indicates the names of the people you consider to be part of your immediate family or person closest to you. They would be whom you want support to be accessible such as some travel expenses or bereavement support, should something serious happen to you. Have this conversation with those close to you;
  • The Designation of the Memorial Cross Recipients form (DND 2105). It indicates the names of the people you want to designate as potential Memorial Cross Recipients;
  • The Naming or Substitution of a Beneficiary form (CF-FC 2196). It indicates the name of who you want as beneficiary for your Supplementary Death Benefit; and
  • The will (CF 30). In the event that your family situation has changed, you may need a new will. If you have a military will, we suggest you read the Defense Administrative Orders and Guidelines, DAOD 7012-1, Wills Preparation and Administration. If you have another type of will, be aware that the criteria for wills vary from one province to another.

An accident, serious illness or death can occur without notice. Keep a copy of your military documents in a safe place and let your loved ones know where you keep them.

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

Finally, if you need to know more about the resources available in your new community, contact your local Military Family Resource Center (MFRC). You can also obtain information via the Family Information Line (FIL), 24/7 at 1-800-866-4546 (North America), 00-800-771-17722 (international), 1-613-995-5234 (collect calls) or by email at FIL@connexionFAC.ca.

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