One Veteran, One Team - Update
Ottawa - June 22, 2012
As I shared in a previous blog, my team recently assembled for an all-staff retreat, during which employees from our Ottawa and Charlottetown offices gathered for two days to share information, discuss plans and connect with colleagues. The Office holds these retreats twice a year, and they serve as a great way to plan upcoming initiatives and solidify working relationships.
Along with bridging the geographical gap between offices, the retreat was an opportunity to discuss the current year’s plans and priorities as well as the issues we plan to look at in the coming months.
We plan to continue looking at issues of procedural fairness throughout the adjudication process. We will also monitor decision letters from Veterans Affairs Canada, and ensure that the recommendations laid out in our report Veterans’ Right to Know Reasons for Decisions: A Matter of Procedural Fairness are being implemented. We will also follow-up on our analysis of Federal Courts decisions pertaining to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board to ensure that improvements are being made based on the recommendations laid out in our report Veterans Right to Fair Adjudication. We plan to produce follow-up reports on both of these issues in order to keep you informed of the progress being made.
The retreat also provided an open forum where all staff could share ideas. It was clear through their questions and suggestions that the team takes its work very seriously, and they are all very eager to contribute to the office’s plans and projects. It was encouraging to see the enthusiasm and passion each and every one of them has for helping Veterans.
I know that this enthusiasm, passion and desire to assist Veterans will be seen in the work we continue to do. I look forward to putting these new initiatives into place, and will keep you informed as the work progresses.
Date Modified: 2012-06-22
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Although I acknowledge the benefits of gathering staff together for these types of meetings, the purpose of the meeting which cost thousands of tax dollars could have just as easily been accomplished via conference call at designated collection areas. My kids use SKYPE on a regular basis and resolve problems in real time at a significantly less cost to our family than an all expense tax payer funded retreat. Also I see and hear plenty of comments via these blogs about moving forward on disability matters however to date I have yet to hear an acknowledgement or acceptance by VAC, VRAB or the OMBUDSMAN about the need to right the wrongs of the past which are graphically detailed in the Ombudsmans' afore mentioned report. Failed disability applications from the past which the Ombudsman referenced in his report are being used as a template for amending a flawed process yet this template does not seem to be applied towards ALL the previously failed applications. Time to walk the walk folks and apply this process to all the failed claims if the Ombudsmans report was so full of glowing problems. Lets see more accurate statistics and applicant specific rebuttle decisions which follow the method being proposed by the Ombudsman yet is being denied yet again by the VAC/VRAB as a suitable process. If the OMBUDSMANS report was the basis for collecting whats wrong with this process, then right all of the wrongs with this template to amend the future processes as well. It's high time this so called agreed upon formula was applied to previously failed disability applications for transparency in the system, given the examples of deficiencies originate from past failures in that same system. There is a generation of failed disability applications sitting there to be amended. The Ombudsmans has records on ALL the applications that were submitted for review and have been acknowledged as being unfairly adjudicated. Time for some procedural fairness by reviewing past disability applications and employing this fool proof method of ensuring future applicants are treated properly. This would be an important and significant step in the right direction however righting the wrongs of the past at the same time as you collect current applicants will be difficult however will ensure the collective organizations are genuinely interested in solving the procedural problems which plague the VAC/VRAB process. On top of that, it will develop a truly transparent process as proposed by the Ombudsman and reflect the true cost of Canada's commitment to protecting it's shores and defending those in need. The time has come to pay the piper and apply the recommendations made by the Ombudsman so previously failed applicants who are dying from their illnesses while the VAC,VRAB and OMBUDSMAN plays further word games about their interpretation of the Ombudsmans report. We have an entirely new generation of veterans coming online from our Armed Forces deployments since the 1991 Gulf War, therefore anyone saying our veterans are dwindling is obviously short sighted or blind, and also deaf because they fail to hear similar calls for fairness from our partners in the RCMP, the COAST GUARD, the FISHERIES DEPT etc, all whom fall within the mandate of the VAC,VRAB process. Perhaps former Minister Bev Oda could come out of her forced retirement to right the wrongs on behalf of those who struggle with daily disability problems. There was no accountability for her as Minister during her tenure therefore I'm satisfied she will have a surefire way of resolving this current solution by having more tax payer funded RETREATS and get to the bottom of this flawed process before it becomes an even bigger problem. THE PROCESS IS BROKEN BOYS AND GIRLS, WORK TOGETHER, PLAY NICE AND HELP THOSE WHO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO SLEEP SAFELY IN YOUR BED A NIGHT. Nobody expects to be a hero when they put on a uniform on behalf of this great nations however being handed the lowest bidder equipment, having in adequate staffing resources and insufficient training for hazardous situations, there's only one thing remaining for those who would defend this country under those conditions and that's a grave marker provided courtesy of the Government of Canada. Support the troops and those who legitimately become disabled as a result of their service to our great nation! I did and have battled for eight (8) years without success to gain the recognition I deserve following my hazardous on duty injury and the illness it caused. Do the right thing!!!!!!
September 12, 2012 12:22 AM
But does any of them no what The Benefit Of A Doubt Means and that it is to be apply to help Veterans not Veterans Affair/DVA !!!
June 22, 2012 6:36 PM
The directive was to publish ALL results of their proceedings. This would allow public scrutiny of the boards proceedings. The Minister had stated that ALL findings of your office were to be implemented immediately. The VRAB has determined that they will only post findings that they feel are appropriate, and more condescendingly that the use is their to educate veterans about how things are done. In short, no, your recommendations are not being respected and the Minster's directives are ignored and it seems little progress is being made.
June 22, 2012 2:11 PM