Foreword & Introduction


Enquiries regarding the Foreign Service Directives may be directed to:

Excluded Groups and Administrative Policies
Labour Relations and Compensation Operations
Treasury Board Secretariat
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R5

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade issues monthly "Schedules to Foreign Service Directives and Meal Rates" electronically. As the Directives cannot be applied without reference to the monthly schedules, departments and agencies with employees on assignment outside Canada may direct their enquiries to:

The Director
Strategic Policy, Planning and Monitoring Division (AEF)
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2


The Foreign Service Directives are designed to provide a system of allowances, benefits and conditions of employment that, in combination with salary, will enable departments and agencies to recruit, retain and deploy qualified employees in support of government programs outside Canada.

It is important that employees who are or will be serving on assignments outside Canada have access to these directives and, as well, to information as to their application and interpretation. It is particularly important that employees should be provided with a detailed briefing with respect to the specific application of those directives and related provisions and procedures which impact on their assignment outside Canada, before departing for that assignment. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade conducts pre-posting briefing programs in Ottawa for career foreign service employees and foreign assignment employees. Wherever possible and practicable, employees should be authorized to attend this program prior to posting, notwithstanding that they are not employees of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

The Foreign Service Directives are developed in consultation in the National Joint Council of the Public Service of Canada (NJC).

The Foreign Service Directives reflect the following principles:

(a) The principle of comparability recognizes that insofar as is possible and practicable employees serving abroad should be placed in neither a more nor a less favourable situation than they would be in serving in Canada.

(b) The principle of incentive-inducement recognizes that the employer must provide certain additional emoluments both to attract employees to serve an occasional assignment outside Canada and to recruit and retain employees in a career foreign service.

(c) Program-related provisions attempt to ensure that employees abroad will be provided with the means to carry out the programs assigned to them.

It is the responsibility of employees to familiarize themselves with the Foreign Service Directives and to seek clarification and / or assistance from their FSD administrator with respect to the application and/or interpretation of a specific directive, as needed.

To achieve the objectives of the Directives, consideration will continue to be given to situations which may arise which are not specifically dealt with in the Directives but which fall within the intent of the Directives as described in the basic principles outlined above or explained in the Introduction to a specific directive.

To ensure that terms and conditions of employment for employees serving abroad are kept up to date, the Directives are reviewed on a regular basis, normally every three years.

Following a comprehensive review by the NJC Committee on Foreign Service Directives, the Directives were revised effective April 1, 2009 and posted on the National Joint Council and Treasury Board Secretariat web sites.

These revised Directives also reflect the percentage increase in certain allowances and dollar amounts which was also effective April 1, 2009.

It should be noted that a number of collective agreements contain clauses respecting the application of the Foreign Service Directives. It is unlikely that there will be any conflict between the Directives and the various agreements. However, should there be areas of apparent conflict, the Foreign Service Directives will normally apply, unless the agreement expressly provides that the agreement overrides the Foreign Service Directives. In cases of doubt, the employer and employee representatives have agreed to discuss the problem before any final conclusion is reached.

In cases of alleged misinterpretation or misapplication arising out of these directives, the grievance procedure, for all represented employees, within the meaning of the Public Service Labour Relations Act, will be in accordance with Section 15 of the National Joint Council By-Laws. For unrepresented employees the departmental grievance procedure applies.

These Directives are deemed to be part of collective agreements between the parties to the National Joint Council and employees are to be afforded ready access to this policy. The Directives are available on the National Joint Council web site (

Several Directives require verification and/or reports to the Treasury Board Secretariat or to the appropriate foreign service interdepartmental co-ordinating committee. FSD 70 - Reporting requirements and verification of allowances outlines the frequency and details of the various reporting requirements and verification of allowances.

Various Treasury Board and Foreign Affairs and International Trade forms are used in applying or administering the Foreign Service Directives. These forms are indicated at the end of the directive with which they are used and are available upon presentation of requisition form DSS 3149-2A-7540-21-872-3137 (AI-8) from:

Lester B. Pearson Printing Plant
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2