Isolated Posts and Government Housing Committee

On July 29, 2002 the Isolated Posts and Government Housing Committee issued a Communiqué in order to clarify some points related to the Vacation Travel Assistance (VTA) provisions of the Isolated Posts Directive.

The Communiqué confirmed that Departments are required to use the return economy class airfare, identified as "Y" class fares, between the post and the point of departure when calculating (a) the maximum entitlement for the 100% fully accountable VTA or (b) the 80% non-accountable assistance payment option.

However, it has come to our attention that some Airline Companies lowered their "Y" class rates effective June 19, 2002, prior to the July 29th Communiqué.

These new rates have had an impact on entitlements and we have received a number of questions on how to deal with the calculation of the 80% non-accountable assistance. Departments are instructed to do the following:

(a)   if an employee requested the 80% non-accountable VTA between June 19 and July 29, 2002, and received it based on the higher "Y" class fare, there is no requirement to recover the overpayment;

(b)   if an employee requested the 80% non-accountable VTA between June 19 and July 29, 2002, and received it based on the lower "Y" class fare, that employee has been treated within the intent of the Isolated Post Directive – no further action is required;

(c)   if an employee requested the 80% non-accountable VTA between June 19 and July 29, 2002, but received 80% of a fare which was less than the lower "Y" class fare, departments will "top up" that amount, to ensure employees receive an amount equal to 80% of the lower "Y" class fare;

(d)   if an employee requested the 80% non-accountable VTA after July 29, 2002 and received an amount equivalent to the higher "Y" class fare, action should be initiated to recover the difference between the higher and lower "Y" class fare;

(e)   if an employee received 80% VTA based on the higher "Y" class after July 29, 2002, and can prove that the request was made prior to June 19, 2002, no recovery action should be taken.

In calculating the maximum entitlement for the 100% fully accountable assistance, departments should follow the above instructions.

The complete Isolated Posts Directive is available on the NJC web site and the Treasury Board Secretariat web site (www.tbs-sct.gc.ca).