DAOD 2017-1, Military Grievance Process

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2012-02-03

Date of Last Modification: 2015-11-26

Application: This DAOD is an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).

Supersession:

  • CFAO 19-32, Redress of Grievance
  • CANFORGEN 092/06, Canadian Forces Grievance Authority – Registry
  • CANFORGEN 110/06, Disclosure of Information to DND and CF Members
  • CANFORGEN 127/08, Initial Authority for PER Grievances
  • CANFORGEN 224/08, CF Grievance Submission Time Limits
  • CANFORGEN 208/09, Assistance by Legal Counsel During the Grievance Process
  • CANFORGEN 009/10, Change of Procedures – Staffing of Grievances
  • Canadian Forces Grievance Manual

Approval Authority: Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS)

Enquiries: Director General Canadian Forces Grievance Authority (DGCFGA)


2. Overview

General

2.1 CAF members:

  1. form a very distinct group within Canadian society;
  2. must obey lawful orders;
  3. serve at the pleasure of the Crown upon enrolment until lawfully released;
  4. serve anywhere and perform any lawful duty required by the Crown, with no reciprocating obligation on the part of the Crown;
  5. are subject to the Code of Service Discipline and all other Canadian laws; and
  6. have no union, contract, collective agreement or bargaining process, and their conditions of service are established in large part by the QR&O and other regulations, orders, instructions and directives.

Duty of the Chain of Command

2.2 While all CAF members must obey lawful orders, members of the chain of command also have a duty under QR&O article 4.02, General Responsibilities of Officers, and QR&O article 5.01, General Responsibilities of Non-Commissioned Members, to promote the welfare of subordinates in addition to promoting their efficiency and good discipline. In the case of a decision, act or omission in the administration of the affairs of the CAF that may be a failure by a member of the chain of command to fulfil their duty, the CAF grievance process provides a CAF member with the means to submit a grievance.

CAF Grievance Process

2.3 The entitlement of CAF members to grieve is set out in section 29 of the National Defence Act (NDA). Sections 29.1 to 29.15 of the NDA and QR&O Chapter 7, Grievances, set out additional provisions in respect of the grievance process, including the manner and conditions under which a grievance must be submitted. This DAOD:

  1. identifies the Canadian Forces Grievance Authority (CFGA) as the manager of the CAF grievance process; and
  2. establishes clear roles and responsibilities for all participants in the grievance process.

CAF Grievance System (CAFGS)

2.4 The CAFGS is governed by:

  1. sections 29 to 29.15 of the NDA;
  2. QR&O Chapter 7; and
  3. the DAOD 2017 series.

2.5 The CAFGS consists of both the authorities responsible for managing the grievance process and the procedures to:

  1. assist a CAF member in the preparation of a grievance;
  2. ensure that the correct initial authority (IA) or final authority (FA) appropriately considers and determines the grievance; and
  3. ensure that the direction contained in a grievance decision letter is implemented.

Management of the Grievance Process

2.6 The CFGA is responsible for managing the entire grievance process and ensuring associated direction is implemented. Key functions of the CFGA include:

  1. the management of the National Grievance Registry (NGR), including the registration, routing and tracking of grievances, and the generation of reports;
  2. the provision of assistance to grievors and the chain of command; and
  3. the management of training for grievance analysts and assisting members.

3. Other Complaint Mechanisms

General

3.1 The following are situations in which other complaint mechanisms should be considered instead of or prior to proceeding with a grievance:

  1. a complaint relating to the provision of CAF health care, which should be directed to the local CAF health care provider;
  2. a complaint against the military police, which must be processed in accordance with Part IV of the NDA (see the Military Police Complaints Commission Web site);
  3. a complaint of harassment or abuse of authority, which should be made in accordance with DAOD 5012-0, Harassment Prevention and Resolution. The results of a harassment or abuse of authority complaint, including the situational assessment or excessive delay in the handling of such a complaint, may be grieved; and
  4. a complaint relating to wrongdoing by a third party, which should be processed in accordance with CANFORGEN 056/13, Interim Guidance Canadian Forces Disclosure Process, or the Code of Service Discipline, as applicable.

3.2 A CAF member who is uncertain about the choice of complaint mechanism should contact the CFGA Help Line at 1-866-474-3867.

4. Informal Complaint Resolution

Early Complaint Resolution

4.1 A grievance should normally not be the first step in remedying a complaint. The CDS Guidance to Commanding Officers, Chapter 17, Conflict Management, provides that every effort is to be made to resolve issues early, locally and informally, before they escalate to higher and more formal levels.

Submitting a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Grieve

4.2 Prior to submitting a grievance, a CAF member should submit a NOI to grieve to the chain of command to trigger resolution at the lowest possible level. The NOI template is found on the CFGA intranet site. A NOI:

  1. does not preclude a CAF member from communicating with their commanding officer (CO) prior to submitting a grievance (see QR&O article 19.12, Communication with the Commanding Officer);
  2. should be initiated as soon as possible after the decision, act or omission in question;
  3. engages the chain of command to assist a CAF member in identifying the best complaint mechanism to potentially resolve the issue before it becomes a grievance; and
  4. is most effective when the CO has the authority to resolve the problem.

Note – A NOI to grieve does not extend the time limit under QR&O paragraph 7.06(1), Time Limit to Submit Grievance, within which a grievance must be submitted by a CAF member.

4.3 A NOI to grieve must be:

  1. submitted by the CAF member to their supervisor; and
  2. signed by the CO of the CAF member.

5. Responsibilities of a Grievor

General

5.1 A grievor is:

  1. a CAF member who:
    1. is in the Regular Force or any sub-component of the Reserve Force (the Primary Reserve, Supplementary Reserve, Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service or Canadian Rangers);
    2. has been aggrieved by a decision, act or omission in the administration of the affairs of the CAF; and
    3. has submitted to their CO a written and signed grievance seeking redress; or
  2. a former CAF member who submitted a grievance before their release (see section 16 of this DAOD).

Submitting a Grievance

5.2 The manner and conditions for submitting a grievance are set out in:

  1. QR&O article 7.06; and
  2. QR&O article 7.08, Submission of Grievance.

5.3 In order to ensure the efficient administration of a grievance, a grievor:

  1. should consider requesting an assisting member prior to submitting their grievance;
  2. must identify a single decision, act or omission as the subject of the grievance;
  3. should identify the individual believed to be responsible for the decision, act or omission; and
  4. must attach to their grievance copies of relevant documents in their possession.

Note – In accordance with CFAO 2-15, Official Languages, a grievor may submit a grievance in the official language of their choice.

Other Available Complaint Mechanisms

5.4 In respect of other complaint mechanisms that should be used prior to proceeding with a grievance, see section 3 of this DAOD.

6. Duties of a Commanding Officer

General

6.1 The responsibilities of a CO in respect of grievances are set out in QR&O Chapter 7. In general, a CO is expected to:

  1. understand the CAFGS and fulfill their responsibilities as a CO or IA to the best of their abilities;
  2. be knowledgeable about grievances originating from within their organization;
  3. informally resolve grievances if reasonable in the circumstances;
  4. prevent any reprisals against grievors as a result of submitting grievances;
  5. educate unit members about the CAFGS; and
  6. carry out their duties in respect of the CAF grievance process as a fundamental element of the military profession.

Duties on Receipt of a Grievance

6.2 Upon receipt of a grievance, and in accordance with QR&O article 7.09, Commanding Officer’s Duties on Receipt of Grievance, the CO must:

  1. ensure the grievance complies with the conditions set out in QR&O article 7.08;
  2. register it in the NGR;
  3. acknowledge its receipt in writing to the grievor and provide the grievor with the NGR number; and
  4. assign an assisting member in accordance with QR&O article 7.07, Duty to Assign Officer or Non-Commissioned Member to Assist.

Examination of a Grievance to Identify the Appropriate IA

6.3 In accordance with QR&O subparagraph 7.14(1)(a), Officers Who May Act as Initial Authority in Respect of Grievance, a CO may act as the IA if the CO can grant the redress sought by the grievor. However, if the grievance relates to the decision, act or omission of the CO or if the CO cannot grant the redress sought by the grievor, the CO cannot act as the IA. In these circumstances, the CO must ensure that the grievance is referred to the next superior officer who is responsible for dealing with the matter that is the subject of the grievance (see section 8 of this DAOD).

6.4 If a CO has received a grievance and cannot act as the IA, the CO must either:

  1. consult with the CFGA to identify the appropriate IA and then forward the grievance file to that IA; or
  2. forward the grievance file to the CFGA for review by the CFGA of the content of the grievance in any case in which the identification of the appropriate IA is problematic.

6.5 In either case under paragraph 6.4 of this DAOD, the CO must:

  1. forward the grievance file within 10 days of receipt of the grievance;
  2. include with the grievance file a cover letter setting out:
    1. their comments concerning the merits of the grievance;
    2. an explanation of any delay in forwarding the grievance; and
    3. any additional relevant information; and
  3. provide the grievor with a copy of that letter and any additional information forwarded with the grievance file.

7. Duties of an Assisting Member

Assigning an Assisting Member

7.1 Assistance by an assisting member must be made available to a grievor throughout the grievance process even if the grievor is posted or released after submitting their grievance.

7.2 In accordance with QR&O paragraph 7.07(1), an assisting member must hold the rank of sergeant or above.

Assisting a Grievor

7.3 An assisting member is responsible for:

  1. explaining their role to the grievor (see the Assisting Member section on the DGCFGA intranet site);
  2. ensuring that the grievor is aware of the manner and conditions for the submission of a grievance and the requesting of its consideration and determination in accordance with, as applicable:
    1. QR&O article 7.08;
    2. QR&O article 7.15, Duties of Initial Authority;
    3. QR&O article 7.18, Consideration of Grievance by Final Authority; and
    4. this DAOD; and
  3. assisting the grievor:
    1. in the preparation of their grievance; and
    2. throughout the grievance process.

Note – A grievor is not required to accept the assistance of an assisting member.

7.4 An assisting member must:

  1. be familiar with their roles and responsibilities as set out in this DAOD; and
  2. have completed the online Assisting Member Course.

Limitations on the Role of an Assisting Member

7.5 An assisting member assists a grievor but is not:

  1. the personal representative of the grievor;
  2. responsible for locating documents and information that may be required by the grievor; or
  3. responsible for writing the grievance.

8. Duties of a Redress Authority

General

8.1 A redress authority is a CAF officer who acts as either the IA or the FA.

8.2 Upon receipt of a grievance, the redress authority must acknowledge its receipt to the grievor, and then assess the grievance to determine if:

  1. it concerns a matter in respect of which there is no right to grieve (see paragraph 8.3 of this DAOD); or
  2. it was submitted after the expiry of the applicable time limit prescribed in QR&O article 7.06 or 7.18 (see paragraphs 8.4 to 8.6 of this DAOD).

Not a Grievable Matter

8.3 An IA who determines that a grievance concerns a matter in respect of which there is no right to grieve must advise the grievor of this decision in writing and explain that:

  1. there is no right to grieve the matter under:
    1. subsection 29(2) of the NDA;
    2. QR&O article 7.03, Decision under Code of Service Discipline; or
    3. QR&O article 101.19, Appeal Committee; and
  2. the grievor may nonetheless submit to the IA, for forwarding the grievance to the FA, a request to consider and determine the grievance under QR&O article 7.18.

Expiration of Applicable Time Limit

8.4 A redress authority may accept a grievance that was submitted after the expiration of the applicable time limit established under QR&O article 7.06 or 7.18 if the redress authority is satisfied, based on the reasons for the delay provided by the grievor, that it is in the interests of justice to consider and determine the grievance.

8.5 If, in the opinion of the redress authority, the delay was caused by a circumstance which was unforeseen, unexpected or beyond the control of the grievor, and the grievance was submitted within a reasonable period of time after the circumstance occurred, the redress authority should normally be satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to consider the grievance (see the applicable Notes to QR&O articles 7.06 and 7.18).

8.6 An IA who is not satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to consider a grievance submitted after the expiration of the time limit established under QR&O article 7.06 must provide the grievor with reasons in writing, including notification that the grievor may request the forwarding of their grievance to the FA for consideration and determination.

Duties of a Redress Authority

8.7 A redress authority may in some circumstances need to consider the reasonableness of applicable laws, policies, orders, instructions and directives. The fact that a CAF member has been treated in accordance with applicable laws, policies, orders, instructions and directives does not automatically mean that the CAF member was treated fairly.

8.8 Each decision provided by a redress authority must:

  1. reflect an analytical method which produces a reasoned outcome that can be read, understood and assessed by the grievor;
  2. be fully grounded in relevant law, policy and equity as applicable; and
  3. explain why any issue raised by the grievor is not considered relevant and therefore will not be addressed.

8.9 The primary task of a redress authority is to determine whether the grievor has been aggrieved by the decision, act or omission in the administration of the affairs of the CAF which gave rise to the grievance.

8.10 A redress authority who considers that a grievor:

  1. has been aggrieved, must then identify the appropriate redress; or
  2. was treated fairly in accordance with applicable laws, policies, orders, instructions and directives, should normally conclude that the grievor has not been aggrieved.

8.11 Redress authorities and their staffs must communicate with the grievor in the official language of the grievor’s choice.

Informal Resolution

8.12 Once a grievance has been submitted, a redress authority must consider and, if possible and appropriate, attempt informal resolution in order to resolve it. This is done by reaching a solution acceptable to all concerned before the redress authority determines the grievance.

Note – Informal resolution is a key component of the grievance process and may be attempted at any time during the grievance process.

Procedural Fairness

8.13 The scope of procedural fairness for administrative decisions is contextual, and varies based upon the nature of the decision, the context in which it is made, and the impact of the decision on the affected person or persons. The goal of procedural fairness within the CAFGS is to ensure that the grievor has the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the decision-making process. In the context of the CAFGS, the grievor has the right to:

  1. be given notice of the key issues and potential consequences of any decision to be made by the redress authority;
  2. be provided with all relevant documents and information to be considered by a redress authority;
  3. be provided with an opportunity to provide representations on the documents and information; and
  4. receive a well-explained, timely, reasonable and impartial determination of their grievance.

8.14 Procedural fairness:

  1. is the duty to act fairly; and
  2. includes the following four principles:
    1. notice (of the issue or issues involved);
    2. disclosure (of the relevant information);
    3. an opportunity to make representations (to an unbiased decision-maker); and
    4. reasons for the decision.

Notice

8.15 In administrative decision-making, the obligation to provide notice to the person affected by a decision is most vital if the decision-making process is initiated by the decision-maker. With grievances, the decision-making process is initiated by the grievor, who “notifies” the chain of command that they are aggrieved. However, “notice” also extends to notifying a grievor of the identity of the IA and the steps to be followed in the administration of the grievance. It also includes notification of the key issues to be determined and their potential impact upon the grievor. This DAOD represents notice from the CAF to all CAF members concerning how the CAFGS will be administered.

Disclosure

8.16 Disclosure allows a grievor to know the “case to meet”, even though the grievor initiates the process, by ensuring that the grievor is afforded the opportunity to see all the information that will be considered by the redress authority. The grievor must be asked to acknowledge receipt of the disclosed information and to indicate their intention to provide representations.

Note – Although all relevant information included in the grievance file must be considered by a redress authority in determining the grievance, disclosure is only required for information that has not been previously disclosed or is not already in the possession of the grievor.

Solicitor-Client Privilege

8.17 Any communication between a legal advisor to the DND or the CAF, and a redress authority or their staff, is subject to solicitor-client privilege and must not be disclosed to a grievor at any time during the grievance process.

Representations

8.18 The opportunity for the grievor to provide representations allows the grievor to be heard by the decision-maker. In other words, the grievor is provided an opportunity to comment on the information that is before the redress authority, including comment on the potential decisions that could be made. This right also permits the grievor to submit to the redress authority any relevant information that may be missing from the grievance file so that the redress authority can consider it in the determination of the grievance.

Unbiased Decision

8.19 A grievor has a right to a fair hearing by an impartial redress authority. This right will be undermined if the redress authority is, or appears to be, predisposed regarding the outcome of the grievance, such that it is a foregone conclusion. As a result, QR&O paragraph 7.14(2) precludes an officer from acting as the IA if the grievance relates to their decision, act or omission.

8.20 However, the right to a fair hearing by an impartial decision-maker does not mean that a grievor has a right to a judicially or institutionally independent decision-maker. Redress authorities are officers in the chain of command of the CAF, up to and including the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), by virtue of the role that the chain of command plays in the promotion of the welfare, efficiency and discipline of their subordinates.

Reasons

8.21 The grievance provisions of the NDA and QR&O Chapter 7 require many decisions within the CAF grievance process to be accompanied by reasons. This permits the grievor to understand what information was used by the redress authority and how the decision was reached.

8.22 A redress authority must:

  1. be able to set aside their personal or institutional preferences when considering and determining a grievance;
  2. consider the perspectives and positions of both the CAF decision-makers who had been involved in the subject of the grievance and the grievor, in view of relevant information in the grievance file; and
  3. be aware of any fairness-related shortcomings in the original decision-making process that should be addressed by conducting a "de novo" review of the matter grieved.

8.23 A de novo review is a full and fair reconsideration of the matter grieved, accompanied by all the procedural fairness steps above, based on a review of all the relevant information in the grievance file obtained through those steps. When conducting a de novo review in order to correct previous procedural fairness shortcomings, a redress authority:

  1. must not simply endorse the reasonableness of the original decision; and
  2. must come to their own conclusion about the appropriate CAF response to the circumstances of the grievor in view of the information in the grievance file and the applicable laws, policies, orders, instructions and directives.

8.24 When a redress authority is considering if an administrative action (e.g. remedial measures, administrative review or release) should be initiated or if the outcome of the initial process should be maintained, the authority must follow the procedural fairness requirements of the grievance process and not those of the regulation, policy, order, instruction or directive applicable to the administrative action.

9. Duties of an Initial Authority

Who May Act as the IA in Respect of a Grievance

9.1 In accordance with QR&O subparagraph 7.14(1)(a), a CO may act as an IA if the CO can grant the redress sought by the grievor. In accordance with QR&O subparagraph 7.14(1)(b), a commander or CAF officer appointed to the position of Director General or above at National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ), who is responsible for dealing with the matter that is the subject of a grievance, may also act as the IA. However, an IA acting under QR&O subparagraph 7.14(1)(b) who requires additional authority to grant some aspect of the appropriate redress must seek it from the appropriate officer prior to determining the grievance.

Grievance Relating to Personal Decision, Act or Omission

9.2 In accordance with QR&O paragraph 7.14(2), if the grievance relates to a decision, act or omission of the proposed IA, that officer must refer the grievance to the next superior officer having the responsibility to deal with the matter that is the subject of the grievance. This next superior officer will be the IA. An IA who believes in any other circumstance that actual or perceived bias may affect their ability to act must seek advice from the CFGA.

Grievance Process at the IA Level

9.3 An IA who accepts a grievance must:

  1. acknowledge its receipt in writing to the grievor and, if the IA is not the grievor’s CO, the CO of the grievor;
  2. consider the possibility of informal resolution;
  3. unless planning to grant all redress sought, prepare a synopsis of the grievance, including:
    1. all relevant facts;
    2. an analysis to determine whether the grievor has been aggrieved; and
    3. a recommendation as to the redress which might be granted;

Note – If the IA lacks the authority to grant some aspect of the appropriate redress, approval must be sought, in anticipation of reliance on that remedy, from the appropriate authority before it is recommended in the synopsis.

  1. disclose to the grievor the synopsis, and any information not already known to the grievor, and clearly identify what information has been disclosed; and
  2. maintain a record of the grievance in accordance with the Defence Subject Classification and Disposition System (DSCDS) and DAOD 6001-1, Recordkeeping.

Representations to the Redress Authority

9.4 Subject to paragraph 9.6 of this DAOD, the grievor has 21 calendar days from the date of receipt of the disclosed information to provide representations in writing to the IA grievance analyst.

9.5 A grievor who requires more time to provide representations must:

  1. request an extension in writing and include reasons for the additional required time; and
  2. ensure that their request is received by the IA grievance analyst within the 21-calendar day period.

9.6 The IA grievance analyst must permit any request for additional time if it is reasonable in the circumstances.

9.7 If the representations of the grievor require further inquiries to be made, new information that is obtained as a result, as well as any conclusions arising from that new information, must, if not already disclosed to the grievor, be disclosed before the IA determines the grievance. The IA grievance analyst must be prepared for additional representations from the grievor in such circumstances. The 21-calendar day time limit under paragraph 9.4 of this DAOD again applies in the provision of additional representations by the grievor.

Four-Month Time Limit

9.8 In accordance with QR&O paragraph 7.15(2), an IA must consider and determine a grievance within four months. However, this may not always be possible due to the nature of the grievance or the exigencies of the service. As a result, an IA who is unable to comply with this obligation must notify the grievor in writing that:

  1. the IA will not be able to consider and determine their grievance within the four-month time limit set out in QR&O paragraph 7.15(2), and provide an estimate of the date by which the IA might do so; and
  2. the grievor may submit to the IA, for forwarding to the FA, a request to have the FA consider and determine the grievance without determination by the IA.

9.9 In any event, if the IA has not considered and determined the grievance within the four-month time limit, the grievor may:

  1. choose to wait for the IA to consider and determine the grievance; or
  2. request that the IA refer the grievance to the FA, who will then consider and determine the grievance.

Determination

9.10 The IA must not determine the grievance until:

  1. the grievor has acknowledged receipt of the disclosed information and:
    1. provided representations; or
    2. indicated that no representations will be submitted; or
  2. the grievor has not acknowledged receipt of the disclosed information and the IA has made a reasonable effort to contact the grievor to obtain representations.

9.11 The IA must:

  1. consider all relevant documents, information and any representations made by the grievor following disclosure;
  2. determine the grievance within the four-month time limit;

Note – Any required translation must also be carried out within the four-month time limit.

  1. in the decision:
    1. include a conclusion as to whether or not the grievor was aggrieved;
    2. if applicable or appropriate, grant redress or partial redress to the grievor, including coordinating with the appropriate authority, if required, to obtain their approval to grant the redress sought; and
    3. inform the grievor of the right to submit in writing to the IA, within 30 days after the day of receiving the IA decision, a request with reasons for the FA to consider and determine the grievance;
  2. provide the decision in writing, with reasons, to the grievor, the grievor’s CO, if any, and the CFGA;
  3. implement the decision even when the grievor requests that their grievance be forwarded to the FA for consideration and determination; and
  4. forward the grievance file to the CFGA if the grievor requests that the FA consider and determine the grievance.

Note – There is no provision to extend the 30-day time limit for requesting the FA to consider and determine the grievance. A grievor who submits a request after the time limit must include reasons in the request for the delay.

10. Duties of the Final Authority

On Receipt of a Grievance

10.1 When the CFGA receives a grievance forwarded by an IA for consideration by the FA, the CFGA must:

  1. acknowledge receipt to the grievor in writing as expeditiously as possible; and
  2. update the NGR.

Acceptance or Rejection of Grievance

10.2 If the request to consider and determine the grievance was submitted after the expiration of the 30-day time limit set out in QR&O paragraph 7.18(2), the FA:

  1. may accept the grievance if satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to do so, considering the reasons for the delay provided by the grievor; or
  2. must provide reasons in writing to the grievor if not so satisfied.

Referral to the Military Grievances External Review Committee (Grievances Committee)

10.3 If a grievance is accepted for determination, the FA must decide, in accordance with QR&O article 7.21, Types of Grievances to be Referred to Grievances Committee, if the grievance must be referred to the Grievances Committee for findings and recommendations.

10.4 The FA may also refer any other grievance to the Grievances Committee.

Consideration and Determination of the Grievance

10.5 Whether or not the FA refers a grievance to the Grievances Committee, the FA must, in accordance with QR&O article 7.19, Duties if Grievance Not Referred to Grievances Committee, or QR&O article 7.24, Action After Grievances Committee Review:

  1. consider the requirement to prepare a synopsis and disclose it and any new information to the grievor;
  2. consider all relevant documents and information, and any representations made by the grievor following the disclosure process;
  3. determine the grievance;
  4. provide reasons in the decision letter for not acting upon a finding or recommendation of the Grievances Committee;

Note – The findings and recommendations of the Grievances Committee do not constitute a decision, and the FA is not bound by them.

  1. advise in writing the grievor, the grievor’s CO, if any, and the IA, of the decision with reasons; and
  2. update the NGR.

10.6 Copies of the decision are sent to other organizations within the DND and the CAF as required for implementation. The Grievances Committee is also included in the distribution list if it has provided findings and recommendations with respect to the grievance.

10.7 A grievor who is not satisfied with the decision of the FA may apply for judicial review under the Federal Courts Act (see subsection 18.1(2) of that Act for the applicable time limit).

Closing of the Grievance File

10.8 The grievance file is closed when:

  1. the decision has been implemented (if applicable); and
  2. the time limit for applying for judicial review has expired.

10.9 The FA must maintain a record of the grievance in accordance with the DSCDS and DAOD 6001-1.

11. National Grievance Registry

Purpose

11.1 The NGR is the central database managed by the CFGA to register and track the status of all grievances submitted by CAF members.

Requirements

11.2 All grievances must be registered in the NGR by the CO of the grievor.

11.3 Redress authorities or their staffs must notify the CFGA of any update, change or decision with respect to a grievance.

12. Legal Advice and Representation

Legal Advice

12.1 A grievor is not entitled to DND, CAF or Department of Justice legal advice or representation.

Civilian Lawyer or Other Representative

12.2 A grievor may engage a civilian lawyer or other representative at their own expense to assist with their grievance, but redress authorities and their staffs must continue to communicate directly with the grievor throughout the grievance process.

13. Verbal Communication

Requirement to Record

13.1 Redress authorities and their staffs must make a written record of any verbal communication in relation to a grievance with:

  1. the grievor,
  2. the chain of command of the grievor; or
  3. any subject-matter expert.

13.2 Written records of any verbal communication are part of the grievance file and must be disclosed in accordance with procedural fairness, with the exception of any privileged communication such as legal advice (see paragraph 8.17 of this DAOD).

14. Handling of the Grievance File

Security of Grievance-Related Documents

14.1 Documents pertaining to a grievance that contain personal or other sensitive information must not be:

  1. placed on the personnel record of the grievor; or
  2. shared with any person who does not have a need-to-know.

14.2 Grievance-related documents may contain personal information and must bear an appropriate security classification or designation in accordance with the National Defence Security Orders and Directives, Chapter 6, Security of Information.

15. Implementation

Implementation of Decisions

15.1 Direction from a redress authority to a DND or CAF organization responsible for implementing a decision must be carried out within 60 days. An organization which cannot meet that requirement must notify the redress authority and the grievor in writing of the delay and the reason for it.

16. Communication with a Grievor After Release

Entitlement to Submit a Grievance

16.1 Under subsection 29(1) of the NDA, an officer or non-commissioned member is entitled to submit a grievance. Accordingly, a grievance must be submitted before release.

16.2 A former CAF member may, in respect of a grievance submitted before their release:

  1. provide additional information and representations to a redress authority; and
  2. if an IA does not consider and determine their grievance within the four-month time limit, or after receiving an IA decision, request that the IA forward their grievance to the FA for consideration and determination.

16.3 Correspondence relating to a grievance by a grievor who has been released must be forwarded to the address provided by that grievor. It is the responsibility of the grievor to provide any change of address to the redress authority.

16.4 The redress authority must continue to provide updates to the grievor after release.

17. Personnel Evaluation Report Grievance

Identification of the Appropriate IA

17.1 The CO of the unit responsible for the completion of a performance evaluation report (PER) normally acts as the IA in respect of a grievance relating to that PER. The involvement of the CO in the unit PER process does not preclude the CO from acting as the IA but, if the grievance relates to a decision, act or omission of the CO, QR&O paragraph 7.14(2) provides that such a grievance must be referred to the next superior officer.

17.2 The IA for a theatre PER grievance is the appropriate theatre CO or commander. A unit CO who receives a theatre PER grievance from a grievor returning from deployment must forward it to the CFGA.

17.3 A redress authority must use the definitions from the Canadian Forces Personnel Appraisal System (CFPAS) rating scale for each assessment factor and potential factor under scrutiny to assess the representations of the grievor, the supervisor of the grievor and the reviewing officer. A grievor must provide information to substantiate their claim that the PER does not accurately describe their performance or potential.

PER Amendment

17.4 A redress authority who determines that a PER requires amendment must complete and forward a new PER in accordance with CFPAS instructions. In order to avoid having the replacement PER returned to the unit of the grievor, the redress authority must ensure that:

  1. no signatures are missing; and
  2. the grievor is the last person to sign and date the PER.

18. Consequences

Consequences of Non-Compliance

18.1 Non-compliance with this DAOD may have consequences for both the DND and the CAF as institutions, and for CAF members as individuals. Suspected non-compliance may be investigated. The nature and severity of the consequences resulting from actual non-compliance will be commensurate with the circumstances of the non-compliance.

19. Responsibilities

Responsibility Table

19.1 The following table identifies the responsibilities associated with this DAOD:

 

The …is responsible for …
DGCFGA
  • managing, on behalf of the VCDS, the entire grievance process;
  • developing policies and directives in respect of the CAF grievance process;
  • conducting periodic reviews of the DAOD 2017 series and the grievance process to ensure efficiency and fairness;
  • implementing an integrated life-cycle management approach to the grievance process to establish procedures and mechanisms for the tracking of grievances in the CAF, from registration to closure;
  • providing grievors with guidance and information on the grievance process;
  • providing COs and IAs with guidance, support and training on the grievance process;
  • identifying the appropriate IA based on the subject of the grievance;
  • periodically reviewing the delegation of authority of the CDS regarding FA powers, duties and functions;
  • referring to the Grievances Committee, on behalf of the FA, any grievance relating to one or more of the matters set out in QR&O article 7.21 and any grievance submitted by a military judge;
  • considering and determining grievances as the delegate of the CDS;
  • preparing grievance files for the CDS to consider and determine as the IA or FA;
  • ensuring that direction in decision letters is implemented, including, when required, the review of laws, policies, orders, instructions, directives and procedures; and
  • producing a report every two years on the status of the CAFGS for the approval of the CDS.
grievor
  • considering submission of NOI to grieve to their CO (see paragraph 4.2 of this DAOD);
  • submitting a written and signed grievance to their CO in accordance with QR&O article 7.08 and this DAOD;
  • providing reasons in accordance with QR&O paragraph 7.06(2) or paragraph 7.18(3) if submitting a grievance after the expiration of the applicable time limit;
  • providing relevant facts, documents and information to substantiate their grievance; and
  • providing, when posted or released after submitting a grievance, up-to-date contact information to the applicable redress authority.

 

20. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References