Outreach activities, winter and spring 2012

Ottawa - February 13, 2012

Last week, I promised to tell you about some of my upcoming outreach activities. Reaching out to the Veterans community is very important to me as it gives me the opportunity to explain the services available through the Office, to have good discussions with those who attend town halls and to ensure that the concerns of Veterans are reflected in the work of the Office. That’s why I was eager to get back on the road after the holidays.

I started the year off with a week of outreach to northern Ontario.  In Sudbury, I met with the local Member of Parliament, the Mayor’s office and staff who work with Veterans through a Municipal Veterans Committee. The evening town hall session was well attended by Veterans and their families and proved to be very informative and productive. The next day, my staff and I met with a home care service provider to get an insight into what challenges they face in providing services to Veterans and their families. Our RCMP constituency were not forgotten. I met with the RCMP Sudbury detachment where we had a very good discussion. This was a good opportunity for us to inform and educate them on what the Office can do for RCMP members, Veterans and their families. After a short flight to Timmins, we did it all over again! I met with the Mayor and held a town hall at the South Porcupine Legion. Poor weather got in the way, but I was pleased with the quality of the participation.

On the last day in northern Ontario, I drove to Kirkland Lake, where I met with approximately 100 employees of Veterans Affairs Canada. I did a presentation on our role and mandate and how we work to assist our clients. The briefing was well received and it was followed by a very informative question and answer period.

We’re now planning the next visit, this time to the West Coast. I will be travelling to Vancouver from February 27 to March 3. The confirmed dates and locations for the town halls are posted here. If you are in the area, please be sure to come out. Early intervention officers travel with me on these outreach trips. They are available to listen to personal complaints and, if need be, to open case files for those who are seeking assistance from the Office. 

If you’re not able to attend the town halls in the Vancouver area, don’t worry. The Office is firming up plans to travel to several other regions over the coming months. The outreach to Saskatchewan will take place in April 2012. I also plan on travelling to the Greater Toronto Area in May 2012 and to Victoria, northern British Columbia and Interior in June 2012.

As always, if you’d like to invite me to attend your event or assist us in coordinating the Office’s outreach activities in your area, let us know. You can reach us via email at communication@ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca.

Guy

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Comments

Outreach Manitoba said:

Can you please advise when you are planning to come to Manitoba to meet with Veterans and their Families?

February 16, 2012 9:35 AM

Lloyd Newton said:

Have you ever asked the Minister of Veterans what his interpetation of the clause : Benefit of a Doubt ??? If he does not know it can you explain it to him and ask him to brief all his staff on what it means ??? Or are you not allowed to talk to him ???

February 14, 2012 12:26 AM

Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

The Veterans Ombudsman takes every opportunity to raise issues with the Minister pertaining to the fair treatment of Veterans which includes the obligation of the Department and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board to give the benefit of the doubt and to liberally construe legislation that governs the provision of benefits and services for injured Veterans and still serving members of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP.

The Ombudsman meets regularly with the Minister to give a Veterans' perspective on issues that are brought to his attention by the Department and to raise issues that the Minister might not otherwise hear about. In addition to these informal meetings, the Ombudsman also relies on evidence-based reports detailing the findings of his investigations to make formal recommendations to the Minister to address issues of concern to the Veteran community.

In the next few weeks, the Ombudsman will present to the Minister the results of his investigation of decisions of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board that have been the subject of a judicial review in the Federal Courts. The findings of the report will address a range of issues, including the obligation to give Veterans the benefit of the doubt.

February 15, 2012 2:52 PM