Letter to CDS: Children's Education Management Issues

11 June 2018

General J.H. Vance
Chief of the Defence Staff
Department of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
Major General George R. Pearkes Building
13th Floor, South Tower
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K2


Dear General Vance:

In recent months, my Office has received a marked increase in complaints regarding the management of children’s education Outside Canada (OUTCAN). I recognize that you and your staff are likely aware of these issues; however, I feel these matters are both pressing and important enough to warrant additional attention.

The concerns raised by members regarding the management of children’s education OUTCAN are varied, but can be generally summarized as follows:

  • that information regarding the policies and procedures governing children's education OUTCAN is not readily available, which causes undue stress;
  • that there is a general lack of flexibility and cooperation on the part of staff at the Children's Education Management Directorate; and
  • that current policies can force similarly-aged children from the same family to attend different schools while posted OUTCAN;

I note that the latter concern was recently raised to your attention through the redress of grievance process. In the decision, you invoked the special powers of the Minister of National Defence under Compensation and Benefits Instruction 10.2.02(1) so that the member could be reimbursed tuition fees for their children to attend the same school. Exercising discretion when addressing individual circumstances demonstrates a commitment to equity and fairness.

While it is not always reasonable to expect such flexibility in the interpretation of directives, it is my hope that Children's Education Management Directorate adopt a more helpful and collaborative approach to advising and providing services to their clients. This would help to alleviate tension and stress for members (and families) posted abroad, and could minimize the number of formal complaints, such as grievances.    

In the meantime, my office will continue to address complaints on an individual basis, and will monitor improvements as well as areas of overall concern. I thank you for your continued commitment to the fair treatment of members and their families, and I remain available to discuss further, as required.



Gary Walbourne

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