Moving with the CF is an experience in itself. Here are some FAQs that I’ve collected over the years – and their answers!
What is Brookfield / IRP?
Brookfield is the current service provider for the Canadian Federal Government Integrated Relocation Program (IRP). Canadian Forces members who are moving can find some information at the Brookfield site.
The frustrating thing about the Brookfield website is that all of the links are .pdf downloads instead of web pages. The other thing is that they don’t tell you what you really want to know.
The information you really need is the Annual Posting Season (APS) Relocation Directives from the Canadian Forces. This is a long, involved website that, if you take the time, you will find really valuable information. It will also define all the acronyms too.
Does the military pay for everything when you move?
Yes and no.
Yes they will pay for everything but only if you’re enrolled in the CF as regular or reserve – and then only under certain conditions. There are many, many exceptions as well.
If I just move myself and submit my receipts will I be reimbursed?
No, probably not. All moves must be authorized prior to moving including all out of pocket expenses. For example, internet charges at a hotel may not specifically reimbursed as those expenses should be paid for using the “per diem incidentals” fee. If you spend more than the per diem incidentals it comes out of your pocket!
That being said, there are many items that can be claimed such as having a family member look after your children during packing and moving days or kennel fees for a pet.
How do I know what I’m entitled to?
With your posting message in hand, you need to make an appointment with Brookfield. They will walk you through the procedure and clearly explain what benefits you’re eligible for. They are VERY GOOD at explaining everything. I’ve had positive experiences with Brookfield representatives on several different bases and even did one move completely by phone and email.
Actually, you’ll need to do your house hunting trip (HHT) before you move. Don’t do your HHT on your own because you won’t be reimbursed for expenses! See Brookfield first! You may not even be entitled to an HHT if you move to a PMQ. If you’re not entitled to an HHT you may be entitled to a DIT (Destination Inspection Trip). DITs are shorter than HHTs and there are different eligible expenses. DITs are often taken so that the children can be enrolled in a new school ahead of time or specific services (medical) can be determined before the family moves.
Again, see Brookfield before you do anything.
Can we move from anywhere to anywhere?
If you’re just enrolling in the CF, if you’re not in a recognized domestic relationship (i.e. married/common law) there will be restrictions on whose stuff gets moved and where it gets moved. Often the civilian partner’s belongings will have to be moved at his/her own expense to the member’s place of residence before the CF will move all of the things together. Before you start doing this, see Brookfield. There are certain provisions that are case specific to which you may be entitled to some reimbursements.
How does the whole thing work?
Once you’ve had your appointment with Brookfield, they will send a moving company representative to your home. This person will do an estimation on how much stuff you have. Officially they will evaluate your HG&E (household goods and effects). The maximum limit is 20,000 lbs of HG&E. I’ve only known one family that had over this limit and they had 6 family members, 4 of whom were teenage boys who were into every sport and camping.
Anyway, the moving company will also evaluate how many boxes they need and of what sizes, and then estimate what size of truck they will need to pack everything.
Brookfield will help you coordinate your move so that you go from one house directly to the other with minimal time being “homeless”. This is called the door-to-door move. The CF has approximate travel times between the Bases and this is used to help calculate the timing of the door-to-door move.
The moving company will come and pack everything. The next day they will load everything on the truck. They will drive to the new destination. They will unload the truck and depending on how much stuff you have and how many staff members the moving company has available, they may unpack that day or the following day.
Be aware that you cannot stay longer in the departure city than recommended by Brookfield or your accommodations may not be reimbursed! You must arrive in the destination city at the same time as your HG&E.
Can I just pack my things myself to save time/money?
NO. Once your HG&E has been evaluated you should not pack it yourself. This will void any claim you can make if the movers damage your belongings. If you have a delicate item that requires special packing, point it out to the moving company representative that evaluates your HG&E prior to packing. Be advised that you may be required to hire a specialist to pack certain items such as grandfather clocks or billiard tables. Discuss this with Brookfield as these expenses may be covered.
If you’ve been instructed to move to your stuff to your military partner’s place of residence so that all of your stuff can be moved together, you may have to pack yourself. Be aware that the CF’s moving company may unpack and repack everything OR you can opt to void the insurance on anything you’ve packed yourself.
Personally, I would have them repack anything that is breakable or expensive. Clothes and linens don’t matter so much.
Are there restrictions on what we can pack/move?
YES! You cannot pack or move the following items:
- Biohazards – syringes, needles
- Compressed gasses – propane tanks, fire extinguishers, spray paint
- Corrosives – bleach and other cleaners
- Flammables – everything from matches to glue to hairspray to shoe polish
- Liquids – everything from food colouring to wine to windshield washer fluid
- Radioactive material – If you have an evil villain mad scientist kit
Other items that may not be permitted include firewood, farm machinery, patio stones, fences, building material and outdoor fireplaces. The moving company rep should indicate to you what is and is not permitted. If you’re unsure, ask! Don’t wait until moving day to find out they won’t take your stuff!
Why won’t Brookfield deal with me? They only want to deal with the military member.
Get used to it. Brookfield deals with the military member as it is his/her move. I suggest that you get a Power of Attorney and provide it to Brookfield so that you can help your partner/spouse deal with the paperwork, appointments and phone calls. Often the military member is so busy doing a handover at work that he/she doesn’t have much extra time for dealing with the details of the move.
If you’ve got more questions about the moving process, please ask. If you’ve got any advice to share please contribute. The more we know, the more we grow!