After months of waiting and public outcry, the Government of Canada has approved the grandfather clause in hardship and risk levels for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members deployed on Operation IMPACT in Arifjan and Ali Al Salem in Kuwait.
CAF members currently deployed to Ali Al Salem will now have their tax-exempt status until Aug. 16, 2017, and those deployed to Camp Arifjan last year will have their tax-exempt status extended to Dec. 18, 2016, instead of Sept. 1, 2016.
Several news reports surfaced earlier this year that many soldiers deployed to Kuwait would be losing their tax break starting June 1, 2017. Already, 15 soldiers deployed to Camp Arifjan had lost their tax break this past September. Because of this change, all CAF members deployed to the region will not see their hardship and risk levels drop for the duration of their deployment.
CAF members deployed on Operation IMPACT are entitled to Hardship and Risk allowances due to the conditions and risks associated with the region.
These soldiers were losing their tax break because the Departmental Hardship and Risk Committee (DHRC), responsible for assessing hardship and risk on our deployed operations, lowered the risk level of CAF operations in Kuwait, despite the fact that many of them regularly cross into Iraq.
As a result of these news stories, the Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, made a request to the Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. Jonathan Vance, to look into these policies and also addressed Parliament in March in regards to returning the tax relief to these soldiers.
“Our government is committed to making sure our women and men in uniform have all the right benefits, and I am happy to see that those who were deployed on Operation IMPACT when the decision was made to reduce the hardship and risk levels will now enjoy the benefits they had when they started their deployment. We will continue to review the overall policy towards better respecting and reflecting the hard work and sacrifices of Canadian Armed Forces personnel on behalf of Canadians,” said Minister Sajjan.
The review of the overall policy, as requested by the Minister of National Defence to the Chief of the Defence Staff is still underway.