Terms of Reference
Table of Contents
Background and Purpose
As stated in the Order in Council which establishes the role and mandate of the Veterans Ombudsman, "the Veterans Ombudsman may establish an Advisory Committee to provide advice on matters relating to the Ombudsman's mandate. The composition of the Committee shall be determined by the Ombudsman, taking into consideration the need for representation from Veterans and stakeholders groups."
The Veterans Ombudsman has determined it beneficial to establish an Advisory Committee to be known as the Veterans Ombudsman Advisory Council (the Council) with the mandate described below.
The Council shall:
- Provide advice on matters related to the mandate of the Veterans Ombudsman;
- Promote the well-being and fair treatment of all Veterans and their families; and
- Provide a forum to exchange and share ideas of importance to the Veterans' community.
The Council is responsible to:
- Provide information relating to possible systemic issues;
- Provide advice or feedback on ongoing systemic reviews;
- Promote awareness of the role of the Veterans Ombudsman within the Veterans' community; and
- Assist the Veterans Ombudsman in other related matters as deemed appropriate.
Membership and Tenure
The membership of the Council will be determined by the Veterans Ombudsman and will represent of a broad range of views and experience across the following three categories of membership:
- Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Veterans' representatives (membership criteria is included in Annex A);
- Professional advisors from academia, health care, rehabilitation or other relevant fields; and
- Affiliate members comprised of individuals with various areas of expertise and experience to provide advice as required.
A member may withdraw from the Council at any time by giving written notification to the Veterans Ombudsman. An appointment to the Council is for the duration of the Ombudsman's tenure. The Veterans Ombudsman may terminate membership for any reason at any time by providing written notification to the member or affiliate member.
Council members are not entitled to remuneration. However, they will be reimbursed for travel expenses for scheduled Council meetings, in accordance with the National Joint Council Travel Directive.
The Council shall meet at least once a year and the Veterans Ombudsman shall designate a member of his/her staff to act as facilitator. However the Veterans Ombudsman may request that additional meetings be held. The date and location of meetings shall be determined by the Veterans Ombudsman.
Members of the Council shall attend meetings. The Veterans Ombudsman may extend invitations to affiliate members to attend Council meetings if and when needed.
On the recommendation of the Council or at the request of the Veterans Ombudsman, subject-matter experts may be invited to make presentations to the Council, in writing or in person, or may be granted observer status for discussion of a particular agenda item or for an entire meeting.
The Office of the Veterans Ombudsman will provide secretariat support to the Council.
Code of Conduct
Members of the Council shall be governed by the Code of Conduct set out in Annex B, and shall indicate their acceptance and understanding of it by signing the acknowledgement form.
Annex A – Membership Criteria
Military and RCMP Veterans Representatives
Council members should have recent experience working with Veterans, or be currently involved within the Veterans' community. Additionally, Council members should be representative of the Veterans' community, with a balanced representation of women and men as well as younger and older Veterans, drawn from the following groups:
- CAF Regular Force service
- CAF Reserve Force service
- Spouse of serving or recently released CAF Regular Force member
- Immediate Past President of the RCMP Veterans' Association
- Third Party Not-for-Profit or Charity organization
As professional advisors, Council members should have experience in one or more of the following fields:
- Development of Veteran-related legislation;
- Policy making;
- Health care or rehabilitation programs;
- Legal and governance;
- Communications; or
- Seniors' care.
Council members should be able to communicate orally and in writing in either English or French.
Council members should have knowledge of:
- The mandate and operations of the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman;
- Current issues affecting the Veterans' community, and
- Veterans Affairs Canada programs and appeal mechanisms.
Annex B – Code of Conduct
In an effort to promote a culture of mutual trust, respect, professionalism, integrity and accountability amongst members of the Council, the Veterans Ombudsman requires members to adhere to the following:
- Council members shall attend and actively participate in all Council meetings.
- Council members shall not interfere with the operational decisions, responsibilities and day-to-day management of the OVO.
- Council members shall keep confidential any information identified as such that is disclosed or discussed at a meeting of the Council.
- Council members shall not use their position on the Council to advance their interests or the interests of any person or organization with whom or with which they are associated.
- A Council member who applies for employment with the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Veterans Review and Appeal Board or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including on a contract or fee-for-service basis, shall immediately resign from the Council. Council members shall perform their Council duties in a manner that respects the dignity of individuals and in accordance with the Veterans Bill of Rights.
- Council members shall refrain from engaging in a conduct that would discredit or compromise the integrity of the Council, the Veterans Ombudsman, or his/her office.
I acknowledge that I have read the Code of Conduct for members of the Council, and hereby confirm my commitment to fulfilling my duties as a member of the Council in accordance with them.
Printed Name: __________________________
Annex C – List of Members
View the complete list of council members.
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