Letter to CDS requesting update on PLD

31 July 2015

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

 

Re: Post Living Differential

Dear General Vance:

I am writing to follow-up on progress with regard to the result of ongoing concerns brought to our attention regarding the Post Living Differential (PLD) and Transitional Post Living Differential (TPLD) allowance freeze which was directed by CANFORGEN 084/10 in April 2010 and which remains in place today.

Over the last three years, our office has had several hundred contacts with serving Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and military family members from Bases/Wings across Canada. One of the preponderant themes of these contacts is the considerable and continued frustration at the inability of PLD to adequately reflect the relative cost of living from one geographic location to the next. Families have consistently lamented the reality that their quality of life shifts markedly as a result of significant fluctuations in family revenue, which is directly influenced by the cost of living at the locations to which they are posted.

Despite assurances from past Ministers of Defence, your predecessor and yourself in February 2013 that “[t]he need to move forward on this critical issue is fully recognized and remains a high priority for the Department”, the fact remains that the PLD methodology has been under “review” for five years now – five long years during which the incessant delays have continued to cause financial hardship for some CAF families. Combined with other financial factors that military families are especially susceptible to, such as the limitations of spousal employment and costs of daycare, it is clear that a lack of progress on the PLD file is adversely impacting military families in very human terms.

While we understand the Department is working with Treasury Board officials regarding the matter, we have received no concrete update, nor anticipated timeline for resolution. Even more problematic is the fact that CAF members – those most directly affected – remain in the dark regarding efforts being made to address concerns about PLD/TPLD. It is my hope that the revised methodology will enable calculations in such a way that the sums received by CAF members actually and adequately reflect the cost of living in the area they are posted to.

I would appreciate an update regarding the timeline for decision and implementation. 

I thank you for your attention to this matter and I look forward to collaborating further in relation to important issues affecting CAF members and the families that support them.

Sincerely,

 

Gary Walbourne
Ombudsman

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