OTTAWA – Defence Minister Rob Nicholson announced changes to the military’s moving policies on Tuesday that will apply to military members’ final move before retirement, a benefit that is fully paid for by taxpayers.
“Our government is committed to respecting taxpayer dollars. This benefit is meant to help Forces members when they retire, but using this privilege to move down the street is not in the spirit of the program,” Nicholson said in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
The new policy will mean that National Defence will no longer pay for a final retirement move within a 40-kilometre radius. This new restriction will not apply to military members who are injured or gravely ill.
The change comes after a $70,000 move made by former Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie came to light earlier this year. Leslie charged taxpayers for moving to a new house just minutes away from his old one in an exclusive Ottawa neighbourhood.
Documents obtained by Global News show Leslie was not alone. Another dozen Generals had intra-city moves over the past five years.
Sources say the government does not want to scrap the program because it believes soldiers have the right, after a career of being told where to live by the department, to decide where they want to live in their retirement years.
But military officials say this program was never meant to allow military members to switch addresses within the same city.