- Maj AF Berdais, PAO CDA
The New Canadian Defence Academy Self-Development Program Offers Education Opportunities and Funding
Updated: Jul 27, 2022
A new educational expense reimbursement (EER) program went live in August 2021, reopening opportunities and funding to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) – Regular and Primary Reserve members.
The new CAF Self-Development Program (MILPERS Instruction 01/21) allows CAF members to submit new applications in the Self Development Reimbursement Education Expense Reimbursement software (SDPEER.)
Previously approved Individual Learning Plans (ILP) in the electronic ILP system will continue to be managed and funded until the end of Fiscal Year 2022/23, at which time they will be formally cancelled in accordance with CANFORGEN 96/22. Members with these old ILPs will have to transition their ILPs to the new program should they wish to continue to seek reimbursement under the new policy. During the transition, members with older ILPs will need to submit a SDP into the new SDPEER system in accordance with the new Canadian Forces Military Personnel Instruction 01/21.
This new CF Mil Pers Inst 01/21 also outlines the process of supporting Ill and Injured Regular Forces members as they consider their transition options.
Primary Reservists will continue to be entitled to educational reimbursement and will be required to submit their ILP and Self-Development Plan within the year that they are seeking reimbursement. As with Regular Forces members, it is necessary for reservists to adhere to policy timelines to claim any entitled funds.
The new CAF Self-Development Program represents a modernization of the current CF Mil Pers Instr 17/04 program, and is designed to offer self-development educational expense reimbursement programs to a larger number of CAF members. The new program will also ensure that Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) funding is provided within defined funding envelopes, yet is agile enough to respond to increases in funding, if those opportunities arise. This will permit a more equitable distribution of educational opportunities to all CAF members. The funding model will be based on a “course by course” approval process, using a prioritization matrix publish on the SDPEER website (SDPEER-PARFS). Members without or with limited DWAN access can apply through the Help Desk: SDPEER-PARFS@forces.gc.ca .
Professional development and academic advancement of military members provide important value to the CAF, as they bring the fresh ideas, critical thinking, and deeper outlooks required by modern and effective professional armed forces. The new CAF Self-Development Program ensures that military members’ educational pursuits are supported within available financial allocations.
The application and approval process takes about one week to complete. However funding for a course must be submitted two months prior to the month in which the course will start and therefore, CAF members are encouraged to submit their application and courses as early as possible.
Note that the program for EER is for a maximum of up to four funded courses per fiscal year. Each course start date must be during a different month, e.g. CAF members cannot be reimbursed for two classes starting in September. This seemingly bureaucratic limitation is based on providing a responsive, more equitable, and better-managed education reimbursement program to be available to all CAF members within the allotted budget. The policy instrument and program will be regularly reviewed to make any required improvements.
The new CAF Self-Development Program is ready to receive new requests from CAF members. To apply for a new Self-Development Program, all applications must be submitted through the new SDPEER application at: https://sdpeer-parfs.forces.mil.ca/ (accessible only on the Defence Intranet).
For more information, visit contact Military Personnel Command’s Administrative Response Centre (ARC) website at http://cmp.mil.ca/en/support/military-personnel/administrative-response-centre.page or by email and phone at CMPARC.CRACPM@FORCES.GC.CA and 1-833-445-1182.