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Article Date01-09-2009
Record TYPEArchive
Article TOPICVeteran Ombudsman
Article TitleThe Case for a Canadian Veteranís Ombudsman
Article ContentThe Case for a Canadian Veteranís Ombudsman

It is the CPVA position that Canadian veterans need an ombudsman. Our position is founded on these reasons.

1. Canada has more than 400,000 veterans. Most veterans have families and the families add greater depth to the numbers.

2. Canadian citizens that volunteer for service in Canadaís military believe that if killed or injured during their service Canada will care for them and their families.

3. A myriad of veteran specific legislation often forestalls Canadaís veteranís in securing their rightful benefits and entitlements for injury.

Veterans Affairs Canada {VAC} has improved its service delivery through many incentives. The Ministry now publicly states that it is satisfying 85% of its clients. These are encouraging numbers unless an individual falls in the 15% of veterans that are not satisfied with the service they have received. Given the overall number of Canadian veterans this 15% could well represent up to 60,000 unsatisfied veterans.

The number of veterans involved, their rights and entitlements, and the sheer complexity of the veteranís administration demands that we have an independent agency to review contested VAC decisions and VAC procedures. Canadaís veterans have an undeniable right and an immediate need for a veteranís ombudsman.

Some will agree with our position. Some will say that the position of ombudsman will just add another level of bureaucracy to the already cumbersome and complex VACís procedural and appeal process. Some will say that the Royal Canadian Legion {RCL} has traditionally filled the ombudsmanís role. Some suggest that veteran claimants should use the judicial system. CPVA, while recognizing these positions, believes that the rational underlying its own position is more valid.

CPVA recognizes the advocacy role that the RCL has filled for Canadaís veterans. We saw the concluding sentence in this monthís editorial in the Legion Magazine regarding the New Veteranís Charter, ""Still the new legislation is not all encompassing and the Legion will continue to advocate for full recognition and support for all Canadian Forces veterans."" This statement heartens us. We hold that the RCLís traditional advocacy role is not in conflict with the role we envisage for a veteranís ombudsman. More than likely the RCL and Ombudsman would be mutually supportive to the benefit of all veterans.

VACís stated position regarding a veteranís ombudsman is that all decisions of VAC are subject to review. Thus, if the veteranís organizations are in favour of there being a Ministry ombudsman, VAC would be supportive. CPVA position is we want a veteranís ombudsman. We want your support in getting the position of Canadian Veteranís ombudsman established. Please let me have your response as quickly as possible.

National President

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