Changes to Canadian Armed Forces Relocation Policies

There are few things in the Canadian Armed Forces more stressful on members and their families than having to pickup their lives and move to a new place of duty. To improve that experience and address issues identified during a policy review, immediate changes are being made to CAF relocation benefits.

The aim of these changes is to update and modernize the relocation benefits package to ensure members and their families are not out of pocket for their moves.  A number of new benefits or expansions of existing benefits have been added including doubling the Home Equity Assistance benefit maximum from $15,000 to $30,000 and extending the time limit for retired members to conduct a final move to an intended place of residence (IPR) from one to two years.

In addition, some other benefits will no longer be offered to members. The majority of these were incentives which rewarded members for not using certain benefits. A complete list of all the changes can be found below under “What’s new for APS 2018.”

The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are continuing the comprehensive review of the relocation policies, meaning more changes aimed at improving the system are possible. That review is expected to be complete by Active Posting Season (APS) 2019. 

Meanwhile, the changes already identified will be implemented effective April 19, 2018. These changes align with the commitment in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged to take better care of military personnel and their families.

The DND/CAF recognize the stress that military life, including demanding domestic and international operations and frequent relocations, can place on military personnel and their families. The DND/CAF leadership is committed to a relocation program that is fair to the women and men who wear the uniform and their loved ones.

What’s new for APS 2018:

  • Penalties for early repayment when mortages cannot be ported will be covered;
  • Mortgage default insurance, covering the cost of insurance when downpayments are under 20 per cent will be covered;
  • Expenses related to up to four additional days when required for house hunting trips will be reimbursed as a custom benefit instead of a personalized benefit;
  • Doubling the core benefit limit for home equity assistance from $15,000 to $30,000;
  • Increasing the time limit to two years, with the possibility for extensions, for a member’s final move to their intended place of residence (IPR);
  • Ten days are added to the policy for interim lodging, meals, and other expenses, to provide a degree of flexibility when members are arranging the possession date of a new home (a slight relaxation of the “door-to-door” policy);
  • Service couples now have the option to relocate independently when posted to two different places of duty;
  • The weight restriction for shipment of household goods and effects to and from Goose Bay, NL, is removed;
  • The entitlement to long term storage of household goods and effects is expanded to include postings to any locations outside of Canada and postings to any isolated post; and
  • Some relocation benefits for releasing, untrained Regular Force members will be paid.

In addition, the following benefits will no longer be offered:   

  • The “Capital Improvements” provision is repealed.  This benefit reimbursed members for some limited capital improvements to their residence if, when they sold their homes, they did not recuperate the full cost of those improvements;  
  • Several incentives which paid members for not doing things will also be repealed:                         
    -     Payment for shortened house hunting trip;
    -     Payment for not using Long Term Storage or shipping major appliances;
    -     Payment for not taking additional rooms on a house hunting trip; and
    -     Payment not to ship or store a vehicle.

Details of all the changes can be found in CANFORGEN 073/18.

 

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