Letter to the Minister of National Defence: Important Issues related to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Relocation Policy Renewal Project

8 January 2016


The Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP
Minister of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General George R. Pearkes Building
13th Floor, North Tower
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K2


Dear Minister Sajjan:

I wish to draw your attention to some important issues related to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Relocation Policy Renewal Project that you may wish to consider in determining final policy direction. More specifically, I refer to the Intended Place of Residence (IPR) benefit and Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CFIRP), as well as the 2014 changes to the eligibility criteria for local moves.

As you are aware, in September 2014, the IPR policy was amended to eliminate subsidized local moves (within 40 kilometres from door-to-door) except under specific circumstances. The amendment was promulgated via Canadian Forces General Message [CANFORGEN] without prior notice to those whose retirement plans were likely to be affected by the change and without any transitional provisions aimed at members close to the end of their military career.

The IPR benefit recognizes that Regular Force members and their families are required to move many times over their military career. As such, it provides eligible, releasing members the opportunity to relocate at Crown expense to a location and type of accommodation of their choosing. For most current serving Regular Force members, an unrestricted local move upon release is a benefit that they understood was granted based on conditions existing at the time they enrolled.

During my recent constituent visits, my team and I heard significant feedback from members who felt that the changes were unfair. The concerns were variously expressed, but can be distilled to two issues. First, we discerned the overwhelming sense of insult caused by removing a long standing benefit and the perceived implication that the benefit was being abused by members. We also heard from members nearing retirement who had made financial and other plans based on an expectation that the benefit would be available to them. Members releasing at their current place of duty now find themselves in unfortunate situations that they could not have anticipated, such as the financial burden of owning a house they will no longer be able to afford, or having an unreasonably long commute to civilian work because their residence was initially chosen for its proximity to their military place of work.

While policy renewal is important, the result should not negatively affect members who have a reasonable expectation of a long-standing benefit. Consequently, I recommend that consideration be given to reinstate local IPR benefit for all currently-serving members regardless of enrollment date, or at least grandfathering the benefit for members enrolled prior to September 2014.



Gary Walbourne




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