Chair of Veterans Review and Appeal Board Welcomes Release of Ombudsman’s Report - 2009
Since the establishment of a Veterans Ombudsman in 2007, the Board has been proactive and cooperative in its communications with the office. The mandate of the Ombudsman’s Office includes the ability to review systemic matters but not individual decisions made by the Board. It also has the role of facilitating Veterans’ access to programs and services by providing information and referrals.
To date, the Board has received and filled 31 informal requests for information from the Ombudsman’s service representatives. This information has supported the office’s efforts to answer Veterans’ questions about some aspect of the Board’s program or about the status of a claim registered with the Board.
This week, the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman released its annual report for 2008-09. This report is a source of valuable insight for the Board about the concerns of Veterans. It encourages us to continue to find ways to improve our program. The Ombudsman heard from Veterans about the hearing process and the “benefit of doubt” provisions in our legislation. One of our priorities has always been to provide applicants with timely hearings and decisions. We have made good progress in managing the time lines within our control. We also need to make sure our decisions are fair and well-reasoned so that applicants understand how the “benefit of doubt” has been applied in the weighing of evidence.
The Board remains committed to delivering an effective program of redress for Veterans, Royal Canadian Mounted Police clients and their families. As Chair of the Board, I look forward to a continued productive relationship with the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman.
John D. Larlee,
Chair, Veterans Review and Appeal Board