The Department of National Defence will have to pay back some $147 million in unauthorized expenses incurred by military and civilian personnel between 1999 and 2011.
The expenses included items such as the cost of sending family members of slain Canadian soldiers to visit Kandahar during the war in Afghanistan, travel expenses for troops deployed in various areas of Canada, bonuses for overseas posting and allowances for soldiers posted away from their families.
Five years ago, the DND admitted it made a mistake when it allowed soldiers and civilians to claim for travel expenses and benefits that were not included in allowable expenses listed by the government, according to a report from the Canadian Press.
In 2011, now-retired Vice Admiral Bruce Donaldson, then deputy commander of the military, said he hoped that Treasury Board would retroactively approve many of the expenses.
Now, it appears the DND is not getting its wish.
Jordan Owens spokeswoman for Defence MNinister Harjit Sajjan told the Canadian Press that she cannot comment on decisions made before the Liberals came into power. She said “partisan politics aside,” she believes armed forces members should not be liable for “money they believe they were receiving in good faith.”
However, Owen said DND will assume responsibility for the error and that the department has requested the Treasury Board to be allowed to repay the expenses “over the course of several years.”