Sample Cases

Disclaimer:

The following sample cases provide examples of what you can expect when you contact our office to submit a complaint or ask a question.

Each person’s situation is unique. Our office’s approach to dealing with your concern will be customized, depending on your personal circumstances.

Information provided in the sample cases does not replace official policy or procedures. You should use this information as a guide, not to determine your eligibility for specific benefits or services. For that, you should get advice from administrative staff such as your orderly room, pay/pension centre, or human resource advisor.

For more information, contact one of our Intake Officers by calling 1-888-828-3626.

Consent:

When you contact our Intake team with a complaint or question, any information you share with our office is confidential.

If your file needs early resolution or investigation, we will ask you to sign a consent form. This allows us to discuss your issue with other required parties.

We will not discuss your issue with anyone outside of our office without your consent, unless we believe it poses an imminent safety risk for someone.

 Learn more about our intake process by reviewing the video What Happens When I Call the Ombudsman’s Office?

Definitions:

Compelling Circumstances: A compelling circumstance is a serious or time-sensitive concern that affects the health, finances, or security of you or your family. In certain cases, our office may consider an issue compelling if it also affects a large number of people in the Defence community.

Our office considers compelling circumstances when we look at a complaint and decide on how to treat the situation brought to our attention. For example:

  • We may bring a time-sensitive issue to a decision-maker’s attention.
  • We may direct a family-in-crisis to resources they can use for immediate help.
  • We may contact a decision-maker during a process to ensure that person knows about critical information.

If you need more information or you have any doubts, contact us through our secure online complaint form, by phone at 1-888-828-3626, via Live Chat, or through our Online Booking Tool.

Learn more about compelling circumstances by reviewing the video entitled What Are Compelling Circumstances?

Specialist Occupation: Members of specialist occupations perform complex military tasks in the CAF. They have specific skills and training which are also in high demand in the private sector. Such a job may have pay rates that differ from other CAF occupations.

Learn more by consulting Pay overview for the military.

Adjudication: Adjudication is a type of recourse available to CAF members during their relocation. If a member disagrees with a decision, they can request that the relocation authority, Director Compensation Benefits Administration (DCBA), review it. Members can request an adjudication via their base or wing Relocation Coordinator.

You can learn more by reviewing article 1.3.02 of the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CFIRP), Request for clarification/adjudication. You can also contact your base or wing Relocation Coordinator as listed in the Relocation Management section of the Military Personnel Command Benefits INTRANET page. If you do not have access to the INTRANET, contact our office for assistance.

Military Pay (Regular Force)

A Regular Force member facing financial hardship asked our office for help in addressing the recovery of their specialist pay.

The member was a technician in a specialist occupation, and received specialist pay from July to November 2017. Later, the member was told that that an error occurred and that they were not entitled to specialist pay since they were not yet qualified in their position. As a result, the overpayment of $2,500 would be recovered in one lump sum.

The member was a single parent, so the recovery action would have resulted in a great deal of financial stress.

Shortly after learning about the recovery action, the member completed the specialist position qualification and became entitled to specialist pay. However, there was a delay in processing the pay rate change. This caused the member even more distress.

Our office intervened in this case because of the compelling nature of the member’s situation. One of our Investigators spoke with the member’s Chief Clerk and the Director Military Pay and Allowances Processing (DMPAP) about the member’s pay problems. They arranged for the member to repay the $2,500 in smaller amounts over a longer period, which reduced the financial stress on the member. In addition, they had the pay rate corrected so that the member received the specialist pay owed.

   

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Civilian Pay (DND employee)

In October 2016, a civilian employee’s position was reclassified from ST-SCY-03 to AS-01. Given that the reclassification became effective in September 2009, the employee was entitled to retroactive pay.

The civilian employee contacted our office about two issues:

  1. The federal government’s Phoenix pay system processed the retroactive pay back to February 2016 when the system was launched, rather than back to September 2009. The Pay Centre told the employee a compensation advisor would manually calculate the rest of the salary owed from September 2009 to February 2016. However, there was a delay in processing the manual calculation.
  2. The Pay Centre calculated the initial retroactive sum at the third pay increment instead of the fourth increment.

The remaining amount owed totaled over $35,000.00.

The employee wanted to resolve the pay issues before they began planning their retirement. Despite contacting the Public Service Pay Centre 20 times from May 2017 to early 2018, the pay problems remained uncorrected.

An Investigator with our office contacted the DND’s National Civilian Compensation Support Unit (NCCSU) to flag the employee’s pay issues. The NCCSU explained that since the employee was receiving bi-weekly pay and was not immediately retiring, the Pay Centre considered the complaint as being a lower priority. The Pay Centre’s focus was on processing the files of civilian employees not receiving their basic pay and benefits, at risk of not being paid, or experiencing significant career changes.

When processing Phoenix-related pay complaints, our office’s mandate is to ensure the fair treatment of DND civilian employees throughout the pay complaint process. This involves ensuring that employees can:

  • report their pay issue to the appropriate authority and confirm that all necessary paperwork was received for processing;
  • understand the priority of their pay complaint, in order to manage their expectations and help them understand when they can expect a response or resolution of their pay complaint;
  • escalate their concerns if compelling circumstances exist or if their complaint is not processed according to service standards;
  • request an emergency salary advance, priority payment, or claim out-of-pocket expenses where warranted; and
  • report any changes to their personal circumstances that could impact the priority of their pay issue.

In this case, the employee knew the status of their file and had no compelling circumstances present. Although the employee was waiting on a large sum of retroactive pay, the Investigator concluded that the Pay Centre was treating the employee fairly and processing the file in accordance with the expected service standards. As a result, there was no reason for our office to intervene further.

A few days later, the Pay Centre contacted the employee and confirmed that a compensation advisor was resolving the pay problems.

 

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Relocation (Regular Force)

A Regular Force member contacted one of our Intake Officers about Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) fee reimbursement.

The CAF made relocation policy changes effective in April 2018, which reinstated member reimbursement for Mortgage Default Insurance and CMHC fees.

During a posting relocation, the member paid out-of-pocket to cover CMHC fees on a May 2018 home purchase. However, the relocation service provider (BGRS) denied the member’s reimbursement request. The member complained to BGRS and their chain of command about this denial, but neither could resolve the issue.

The Intake Officer referred the complaint for investigation to confirm why BGRS denied the request. One of our Investigators contacted the member, and learned that the member had not contacted the base Relocation Coordinator about the posting relocation. Had the member tried this contact, the Relocation Coordinator would have sent the complaint to the relocation authority, the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA), for clarification.

The Investigator then contacted the DCBA, who explained that BGRS was updating its relocation system and processes to implement the April 2018 policy changes, and expected to complete these changes by July 2018.

The DCBA explained that once the changes were complete, the member could resubmit a request for the CMHC fee reimbursement. The member could submit an adjudication request to DCBA via the base Relocation Coordinator if BGRS denied the resubmission.

Due to our office’s intervention, the member received instructions on how to request reimbursement of their CMHC fees and learned what steps to follow for future relocation concerns.

  

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Pension (Regular Force)

In 2017, a Regular Force member asked our office for assistance after the CAF pension authority denied a service buyback request submitted past the deadline.

In speaking with one of our Intake Officers, the member claimed not to have received any information about the service buyback process or deadline. The Intake Officer referred the file to an Investigator to clarify the situation.

The Investigator contacted the pension authority, the Director Pensions and Social Programs (DPSP), to get a better understanding of the facts. The DPSP confirmed:

  • In 2009, the DPSP sent a letter to the member, describing the member’s eligibility to elect prior service.
  • The member had another opportunity to elect prior service in 2012. At that time, the DPSP sent an e-mail to the member that provided detailed instructions for election form completion as well as the submission deadline.
  • The member wrote back to the DPSP to confirm receipt of the 2012 e-mail; however, the member did not submit the required election forms.

Since the member had two opportunities to elect prior service but did not follow the necessary steps to start the process within the time limit, the Investigator determined the DPSP had treated the member fairly.

  

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