Foreign Service Directives effective April 1, 2009

The Foreign Service Directives Committee has developed the following questions and answers in order to provide departments, agencies and employees with information on the application of certain new and existing FSD provisions.

A separate Communiqué and accompanying Questions and Answers specific to the new FSD 8 – Short Term assignments outside Canada will be available on the NJC website.

FSD 9 – Medical and dental examinations

1. Question:

What happens if my eye exam is scheduled after my medical? Will this hold up the results of my medical?

Answer:

Eye examinations are not mandatory for the issuance of a Posting Confirmation Form (or equivalent). Therefore, there will be no hold up on the results of the medical.

2. Question:

Under FSD 9, when may I be reimbursed for an eye examination?

Answer:

Should you be posted to a hardship post as specified in FSD 58 - Appendix, after April 1, 2009, the cost of a pre-posting eye examination will be reimbursed for employees and their dependant(s).

FSD 15 – Relocation

3. Question:

I am going on a posting after April 1, 2009 and am subject to the "one in household" weight limitations in accordance with Section 15.14(a) which has increased. My furniture and my effects have already been packed and stored for my relocation. May I increase my shipment?

Answer:

Additional items may be added if the shipment has not been sent or the items may be included in a supplementary shipment within 6 months of the date of relocation.

4. Question:

I am currently on relocation status and have used the entire provision for car rental under section 15.32. My car is still not available for delivery due to customs clearance procedures/delays which is outside my control and that of the department. Is there additional assistance which can be provided?

Answer:

As of April 1, 2009, the deputy head may, upon certain criteria being met, consider additional car rental assistance until such time as the car has been cleared by customs if these delays were out of your control. Authority must be approved in advance by the deputy head.

5. Question:

I am currently on relocation status and living in temporary accommodations prior to April 1, 2009. On April 1, 2009 what happens to my meal allowance?

Answer:

If your period of temporary accommodation has been approved in excess of 2 days, and is within the first 30 days of assistance for temporary accommodation, the applicable rate on April 1, 2009 will be 75% of the meal allowance rate as per the NJC Travel Directive. For further details please refer to Appendix A and A1.

FSD 16 – Assistance for principal residence

6. Question:

I have been provided with an advance for property management fees for all of 2009. Am I required to reimburse the advance?

Answer:

Yes. Any fees after April 1, 2009 are no longer eligible to be claimed and the outstanding portion of the advance will need to be reimbursed to the Crown.

7. Question:

I have received my incidental relocation expense allowance (FSD 15.31) for my move which will occur after March 31, 2009. As the provisions under FSD 16.18 have been added to FSD 15.31, am I now entitled to the additional $100 for housecleaning?

Answer:

Yes, so long as you have not incurred the housecleaning expense prior to April 1, 2009. In such a case the $100 will be added to your incidental relocation expense allowance. If you have incurred housecleaning expenses prior April 1, 2009 then you may submit a claim under FSD 16.18.

FSD 18 – Special Family Separation Assistance

8. Question:

I am currently receiving a waiver of shelter cost under FSD 17.05. What happens on April 1, 2009?

Answer:

The new enhanced provisions of FSD 18 – Special family separation assistance will apply as of April 1, 2009.

9. Question:

I am currently on posting and did not qualify for assistance under 17.04 or 17.05 as I did not meet the criteria. I believe that I would qualify under the new criteria for the enhanced provisions under FSD 18. Can I apply now?

Answer:

Yes, you may apply provided you meet the eligibility criteria under the new FSD 18. The effective date of assistance would be effective April 1, 2009.

10.  Question:

My spouse is staying behind for education reasons and will not be living in the headquarters city? What assistance can I receive?

Answer:

You will not be entitled to any waiver of shelter cost however you may be entitled to relocation travel to and from mission, as well as family reunion travel. You will need to consult your FSD administrator for further details.

FSD 32 – Day Care Assistance

11.  Question:

What happens to my deductible on April 1, 2009?

Answer:

As of April 1, 2009 the monthly deductibles have been divided into three categories and adjusted to reflect the average cost of daycare in the Ottawa area.

(a) Infants (less than 18 months) = $1,447
(b) Toddlers (18 months to less than 2.5 years) = $1,241
(c) Pre-school aged children (2.5 years and older) = $935

12.  Question:

I have 3 children under the age of 6. May I employ a nanny and qualify for daycare assistance?

Answer:

No assistance is provided in the case where a nanny or live-in caregiver is used.

13.  Question:

I paid a registration fee for the 2008-09 school years. May I be reimbursed?

Answer:

No, however, if a registration fee will be paid on or after April 1, 2009 the registration fee can be reimbursed up to the limit of $250 per child.

FSD 41 – Health care travel

14.  Question:

I am on health care travel staying in private accommodation. Am I entitled to the new $50 per diem private accommodation rate as of April 1, 2009?

Answer:

Yes, the cost of board, lodging, and laundry in private accommodation while on health care travel, is now reimbursable up to a maximum of $50 a day CDN, in accordance with Appendix C or D of the NJC Travel Directive.

FSD 50 – Vacation Travel Assistance

15.  Question:

If I have only used part of my VTA prior to April 1, 2009 am I subject to the new provisions for the period of travel after April 1st?

Answer:

Any VTA issued prior to April 1, 2009 is subject to the provisions under which it was issued, including reporting requirements under the old FSD 70 – Reporting requirements and verification of allowances. Any VTA issued on or after April 1, 2009, will be subject to the new provisions.

16.  Question:

What happens to my entitlement if my dependant arrives after April 1, 2009, but I have taken part of my VTA prior to this date?

Answer:

There is no increase to the original amount of the allowance for the VTA that you have partially taken. Should you qualify to receive another VTA during your posting, and should your dependant still qualify, this new allowance will reflect the addition of your dependant.

17.  Question:

How do I demonstrate that 75% of my VTA was spent on transportation and travel related expenses?

Answer:

A certification form will have to be submitted upon completion of travel or at the end of your posting which must demonstrate that 75% of the VTA provided was for travel or travel related expenses for each individual for which a VTA was issued. For meal expenses, Appendix C or D of the NJC Travel Directive may apply. In addition, accommodation may include private and/or commercial accommodation.

FSD 51 – Family Reunion

18.  Question:

My family is in Ottawa and I am assigned on an "unaccompanied basis" to Islamabad. Can we use our family reunion travel to reunite in Sydney, Australia?

Answer:

Family reunion at a third location may be authorized by the deputy head in special circumstances and is subject to the limitations and conditions outlined in FSD 51.08 (c) and Instruction 2 to FSD 51.08.

FSD 55 – Post Living Allowance

19.  Question:

Will my Post Living Allowance change on April 1, 2009?

Answer:

On April 1, 2009 your Post Living Allowance will continue to be calculated in accordance with the current Appendix to FSD 55 which came into effect June 1, 2008.

20.  Question:

What happens to my Post Living Allowance on June 1, 2009?

Answer:

On June 1, 2009 your Post Living Allowance will be calculated based on the Appendix to FSD 55 – Post living allowance using your salary as of this date. A revised Appendix to FSD 55 with rates effective June 1, 2009 will be issued at a later date.

21.  Question:

My annual salary is $55,000. How will my Post Living Allowance be adjusted each year for the cost of living?

Answer:

The Post Living Allowance will be adjusted by the cost of living based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous 12 month period ending 31 December. The Post Living Allowance will also be adjusted for any changes in annual salary on the effective date of the salary adjustment. (Refer to FSD 55 – Appendix for examples)

22.  Question:

I earn more than $100,000. How will my Post Living Allowance be calculated?

Answer:

Your Post Living Allowance will be calculated based on the first 100K of salary and any earnings in excess shall not be included in the calculation.

For example:
A salary of $120,350 falls into the salary range of $100,000 plus, of which the Mid-point/Nominal salary is $100,000.
Multiply $100,000 by 0.422, which yields $42,200.
Multiply $42,000 by a Post Index of 130, and then divide by 100.
The result is $54,860. Subtract $42,200 and the result is an annual Post Living Allowance of $12,660.

FSD 56 – Foreign Service Incentive Allowances - Foreign Service Premium

23.  Question:

What happens to my Foreign Service premium, on April 1, 2009 if the new rates are lower than my current rate?

Answer:

If you were serving at a post and receiving a foreign service premium in accordance with Appendix C (old provisions), you shall not receive a lesser premium on April 1st than that which would have been payable on the basis of the applicable salary group in effect on the preceding March 31st. As such you remain under the old table (Appendix C) until these rates are equal to the new rates or they complete their current assignment, whichever comes first.

24.  Question:

I have 4 dependants with me on posting. What happens to my Foreign Service premium as of April 1, 2009?

Answer:

As of April 1, 2009 the new FS premium table will apply.

FSD 70 – Reporting Requirements and verification of allowances

25.  Question:

I am planning on using my VTA under FSD 50 – Vacation Travel Assistance, which will be issued after April 1, 2009, to travel on more than one occasion. What do I need to do?

Answer:

You will need to submit a travel plan identifying all proposed travel and you will also need to submit certification once travel has been completed or at the end of the posting.

26.  Question:

Do I still need to keep evidence of travel?

Answer:

Yes, you are still subject to retain evidence of travel to support the purpose of travel for a period of 7 years. Supporting documentation must demonstrate that expenditures were incurred outside the mission. Employees are expected to be able to demonstrate that at least 75% of an allowance issued for each individual was spent on travel and travel-related expenses.