SUPPORT US

In The Media

National Defence ordered to repay $147-million in unauthorized expenses

by Murray Brewster (feat. David Perry)

The Globe and Mail
May 10, 2016

The Trudeau government has ordered National Defence to repay more than $147 million in unauthorized expenses incurred by members of the military over nearly a dozen years, The Canadian Press has learned.

The department acknowledged five years ago it had made a mistake when it allowed soldiers and civilian staff to claim some travel expenses and benefits that fell outside of federal guidelines.

The practice went on between April 1999 and January 2011, but was then halted following an independent analysis.

At the time, the military said the mistake involved “tens of millions of dollars” over five years and that it would try to get the federal Treasury Board to cover the expenses, which included the cost of sending family members of fallen Canadian soldiers to visit Kandahar during the war in Afghanistan.

Other expenses included reimbursing travel fees for troops deployed in different parts of Canada, bonuses for overseas postings and allowances for soldiers assigned away from families.

The deputy commander of the military, the now-retired vice admiral Bruce Donaldson, said in 2011 that he was hopeful Treasury Board — the department that manages federal spending — would retroactively approve many, if not all, of the payments in order avoid forcing members to pay back the money.

While no one in the military will have to dip into their pockets, it seems National Defence lost the retroactive approval argument and has taken on responsibility for the debt itself.

No one in the department, or the Liberal government, could explain why the amount wasn’t simply written off the federal books.

Jordan Owens, a spokeswoman for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, said she wasn’t able to comment on what went on before the Liberals took over. But she said the department felt the need to assume responsibility for the error.

“Our request to Treasury Board was that DND will pay back these debts, over the course of several years,” she said.

“Partisan politics aside, I don’t think anyone thinks (Canadian Armed Forces) members should be liable for money they believed they were receiving in good faith.”

Dave Perry, an analyst with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, was startled not only by the figure, but also the fact that the debt stretches back over 17 years.

“It’s beyond bizarre that you be going back that far,” Perry said.

“I don’t understand what the point might be. It is money that was authorized by Parliament over the course of three governments and spent. And it seems to be a case of the left hand of government giving money to the right hand.”

Part of it seems to be a regulatory, for-the-record exercise that formally absolves members of military from having to repay the cash themselves. Those who received the payments have been released from liability by the cabinet order, said National Defence spokeswoman Laura McIntyre-Grills.

What she did not reveal was how many years it will take the department to repay the debt.

Perry said he is concerned what — if anything — National Defence will have to forgo as a result of its decision to assume the liability.

“There are all kinds of good things that could have been planned with this money,” he said. “Will this impact training? Will it impact national procurement funding?”

One of the reasons it has taken five years to sort out the issue is that after the error was discovered, defence officials ordered a more comprehensive assessment of the benefits system, said McIntyre-Gills.

“In 2011, the DND and the CAF discovered specific payment errors during a standard internal audit,” she said.

“This initial discovery resulted in a more extensive review of other benefits and, thus, subsequent discoveries of unauthorized payments. In 2011, an independent external agency reviewed the circumstances of the unauthorized payments and found no evidence of wrongdoing, and that benefit payments had been made in good faith.”


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
 
UPCOMING EVENTS

CONFERENCE
Annual Defence Procurement Conference

Ottawa, Ontario

October 25, 2022

SEARCH
EXPERTS IN THE MEDIA

G7 Update

by Heather Hiscox (feat. Andrew Rasiulis), CBC, June 30, 2022

Inside Policy: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

by Editorial Staff (feat. Rob Huebert), MLI, June 30, 2022

Canada to upgrade Latvia battlegroup to a brigade, boost number of troops

by Editorial Staff (feat. David Perry), Kelowna Now, June 29, 2022

What slowdown? Canada's economy to top G7 on high oil, crop prices

by Julie Gordon and Rod Gordon (feat. Kevin Birn), Saltwire, June 29, 2022

Alliance renforcée

by Céline Galipeau (feat. Stefanie von Hlatky), Le Tele Journal, June 29, 2022

1.6 million public chargers needed in Canada for EV transition

by Larysa Harapyn (feat. Brian Kingston), The Financial Post, June 29, 2022

Passport? What passport?

by Martin C. Barr (feat. Andrew Griffith), Laval News, June 29, 2022

Oil production test looms for OPEC heavyweights Saudi Arabia, UAE

by Editorial Staff (feat. Ellen Wald), S&P Global, June 29, 2022

Eric Nuttall & Amrita Sen - Oil & Energy Update

by Eric Nuttall (feat. Amrita Sen), Nine Point Partners, June 29, 2022

All talk, no traction

by Maura Forest and Andy Blatchford (feat. Robert Huebert), Politico, June 29, 2022

U.S. pushes for Russian oil price ceiling. Feasible?

by Matt Levin (feat. Ellen Wald), MARKETPLACE, June 28, 2022

Russia Ukraine Update

by Susan Bonner (feat. Andrew Rasiulis), CBC Radio One, June 28, 2022

Un sommet de l’OTAN pour tenir tête à la Russie

by Marie Vastel (feat. David Perry), Le Devoir, June 26, 2022

A geopolitical alternative system of co-operation for nations

by Staff Reporter (feat. Swaran Singh), The Zimbabwe Mail, June 26, 2022

Analyst says high oil prices spurs little drilling

by Lee Harding (feat. Kevin Birn), Western Standard, June 26, 2022

It’s time for Canada to get serious about defence

by John Ibbitson (feat. James Fergusson and Rob Huebert), The Globe and Mail, June 25, 2022

Trudeau meets with Rwandan president, expands diplomatic mission in Kigali

by CBC Newsroom Staff (feat. Colin Robertson), CBC Newroom, June 24, 2022

With New Threats Looming, Canada Commits Billions to Air Defense

by News Desk (feat. Andrea Charron), New Express News, June 24, 2022

Drop in oil prices is not a quick fix for global inflation

by Editorial Staff (feat. Amrita Sen), The National, June 24, 2022

Highs and Lows of the Spring Sitting

by Peter Van Dusen (feat. Andrew Griffith), Prime Time Politics, June 24, 2022

Oil Incurs Second Weekly Loss As Analysts Differ On Inflation, Demand

by Ship and Bunker News Team (feat. Amrita Sen), Ship And Bunker, June 24, 2022


LATEST TWEETS

HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 150–9th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3H9

 

OTTAWA OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6

 

Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: [email protected]
Web: cgai.ca

 

Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.

 

© 2002-2022 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001

 


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email