Further to the Questions and Answers posted on April 30, 2009, http://www.njc-cnm.gc.ca/s24/s27/d438/en the Foreign Service Directives Committee has developed additional questions and answers to provide departments, agencies and employees with further clarification on the application of the provisions of FSD 8 – Short-term assignments outside Canada.

1.  Question:

FSD 3.01(a) defines an assignment as "normally for a period of 12 months or more."  Does this mean I am excluded from FSD 8 if my assignment is for less than one year?

Answer:

No, this does not mean that you are excluded provided that your assignment falls within one of the definitions of assignment found under FSD 3.01 – Application and is for a period of more than 30 consecutive days, but less than one year.  "Normally for a period of 12 months or more" applies to the majority of postings/assignments outside Canada, which are for 1-4 years, where all the Foreign Service Directives apply, except FSD 8.

2.  Question:

How does my departmental administrator determine if I am subject to FSD 8?

Answer:

Your assignment must meet the definition of "assignment" under the Foreign Service Directives.  This was not modified during cyclical review.  As such, if your assignment falls within one of the definitions of "assignment" found under FSD 3.01 and the duration of the assignment is greater than 30 consecutive days, but less than one year, the provisions of FSD 8 will apply.  If your assignment does not meet the definition of "assignment" under FSD 3.01, or is for 30 consecutive days or less, you fall under the provisions of the NJC Travel Directive.

Examples of "assignments" for employees who are on assignment to an office of the Government of Canada at a post (FSD 3.01(d)), include replacing an employee who is on maternity/parental leave or extended sick/vacation leave. Employees who are on "assignment" provide direct assistance to support the delivery of Mission programs and mandate (e.g. backfilling).  The intent of FSD 8 is not to cover activities such as training and developmental programs (except where professional development leave has been granted), construction, or other special projects (e.g. audits, IT renewal), and work normally done outside of the Mission.

3.  Question:

What happens if I am required to travel on authorized federal government business during the period of my short term assignment?  Will I remain under FSD 8?  Does this constitute a continuous assignment?

Answer:

You will remain under FSD 8, however for the period that you are on travel status outside the mission you will fall under the provisions of the NJC Travel Directive. 

The authorized government travel would be considered a temporary absence from the mission and will not constitute a break in the assignment.

Care should be taken to ensure that employees do not receive double benefits while on travel status, such as meal or incentive allowances.

4.  Question:

What happens if my short term assignment, under FSD 8, is terminated earlier than authorized?

Answer:

If your short term assignment is terminated earlier than authorized, the adjusted duration of the assignment will determine the payment of relevant allowances for the remaining portion of the assignment with effect from the date of official notification. Recovery shall not be sought on any allowances or payments that the employee was entitled to and received during the assignment under FSD 8 (e.g. incidental relocation expense allowance).  Furthermore, the employee's entitlement to shipment and storage of household effects (if applicable) remains unchanged.

Examples: 

 (A)  An employee is sent on a 110 day short term assignment.  The employee is notified officially on day 28 that the assignment will be terminated on day 60.

As the employee's original short term assignment was for more than 30 consecutive days, but less than 121 consecutive days, and the revised duration of the assignment remains within the same time period, there is no impact to allowances and payments under FSD 8.

 (B)  An employee is sent on a 200 day short term assignment.  The employee is notified on day 45 that the assignment will be terminated on day 90.

The employee will remain under FSD 8, however, all allowances and payments will be adjusted.  In this case, the employee will stop receiving Foreign Service Premium (FSP) and Post Differential Allowance (PDA), if applicable, effective day 45.  Recovery will not be sought on allowances and payments that the employee was entitled to and received during the first 44 days of the assignment (i.e. incidental relocation expense allowance, FSP, PDA, etc.)  The employee will receive the adjusted incidental relocation expense allowance upon return travel back to Canada.  The employee's entitlement to shipment and storage of household effects (if applicable) remains unchanged. 

5.  Question:

In determining the length of an assignment, does planned vacation affect the duration of the assignment?

Answer:

Authorized vacation leave in conjunction with an assignment does not count in determining the total length of the assignment.

6.  Question:

Am I subject to utility costs including cable, telephone, etc. when occupying Crown-held or privately-leased staff accommodation at the temporary place of duty?

Answer:

No, employees in this situation are not subject to utility costs.

7.  Question:

Can weekend travel home be applied to include reunion at a third location even when the location of the assignment is not suitable for visits?

Answer:

No, there is no authority under any circumstances to authorize weekend travel home to a third location.

8.  Question:

While on short term assignment, can an employee claim expenses incurred for withdrawal fees, bank fees, or Amex charges associated with withdrawing money from an ATM?

Answer:

Yes.  Employees can claim these expenses under FSD 8.19 in accordance with the NJC Travel Directive.

9.  Question:

I am assigned under FSD 8 and I require emergency medical treatment.  How are these expenses covered? 

Answer:

While on FSD 8, you are covered under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) and are eligible for supplementary coverage so long as you remain covered under a provincial plan.  As soon as you become aware that you require emergency medical treatment, contact the Plan Administrator at 1-800-667-2883 so that the health care facilities may bill the Plan Administrator directly.

Enquiries

Requests for more information or clarification should be addressed to your designated departmental coordinators.

Designated departmental coordinators may contact:

Lynda Cavan
Policy Analyst
Compensation and Labour Relations
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Telephone (613) 952-3256
Fax (613) 952-3002
Lynda.Cavan@tbs-sct.gc.ca