Gather round for long and convoluted story. Some of the details might be a bit fuzzy as I'm working off memory and what I can find on the internet vs. DWAN.
An updated CBI related to allowances was released in 2003, it happened to leave out any mention of incompatibility of SDA and HA. Over the years, CAF adjusted policy (without Treasure Board approval) believing that it was an error that you could not collect both at the same time. There was even a period that you could choose which allowance you wanted to receive, whatever level SDA you were collecting, or Level 3 HA (or higher if approved) which was the RCN baseline before Strategic Joint Staff took it away in 2016 or 2018.
# 2016-166 - Eligibility to collect Hardship Allowance (HA) and Sea Duty Allowance (SDA) concurrently., - Canada.ca
Finally after many grievances since that time, this one (link above) about collecting SDA and HA concurrently made it through and was taken to TB for the final say, which seems to be missing from this internet version. Additionally, the committee had some pointed comments about the grievance:
CANFORGEN 087/19 released in June 2019 clarified the multiple changes that had been approved by Treasury Board, additionally changes to the pay system. Additionally NAVGENs were released and at some point a link was provided to a SharePoint site.
This SharePoint site on the DWAN, titled something like "2003-2019 SDA/HA Grievance Project", though announced in 2019 as a 3-5 year project, didn't start until 2021, still with a 3-5 year timeline. There is an seldom updated excel file that you can enter your service number to confirm you have an Assyst ticket, originally there was a description that would also tell you if the file was open, in process, or completed. But that part appears to have broken in the last year.
Approx. 10,000 files to be processed, the method selected for the process was reverse alphabetical service number. It was announced this year they had completed Z through T through a formation email, until you realize that we only use 14 letters for SNs and it starts at V, then T, and R etc. So reality in 1.5 years they have made it through 3 SN prefixes, only 11 more to go.
The other issue was there was a delay in Department Hardship & Risk Committee (DHRC) messages for RCN missions between 2017-2019. When the messages were released long after the deployments, some ship's offices didn't process them as the crew was long gone. At least one Base OR was in the process of organizing the files when this CANFORGEN came down and the pay system changes were implemented, DMPAP became the only ones that can pay HA to members that collected SDA during that time waiting for the DHRC. So for one coast at least 5 units have had their HA locked into this process due to the delay, maybe to see their allowances by 2026?
Most members I've talked to that have received theirs, it shows up as a single line on there pay statement, none of the usual + and - when our pay is adjusted, so there is no information there to confirm.
Unlike a SDA audit conducted by a ship's office where the member gets to acknowledge and sign, there is no way for the member to confirm that it has been done correctly, just blind faith in the process and that your HA hasn't been missed. The project site states that pay notes will be attached to the ticket, and I suppose they could be reviewed by an HRA if the member asked, but I haven't got a confirmation on it yet. According to the site, Ship's offices/ORs are not allowed to query DMPAP about the status of a files.
In closing, congratulations to those that have received their grievance result SDA and missing HA/HAB. There are still going to be a lot of people waiting a very long time for theirs.
New NAVGEN provides updates to Sea Duty, Submarine and Hardship Allowance payments - Canada.ca