Un appel téléphonique, 600 vétérans, quatorze millions de dollars

Ottawa - le 2 novembre 2012

Les vétérans des Forces canadiennes et de la GRC consacrent leur carrière au service d’autrui, tant et si bien que faire passer les besoins des autres avant les leurs peut devenir une seconde nature. C’est une attitude qui est difficile à changer après qu’on a fini de porter l’uniforme.

Mon équipe et moi voyons souvent cette réalité. Nous entendons fréquemment parler de vétérans qui vivent une situation difficile ou qui pourraient bénéficier de notre aide. Parfois, un ami ou un membre de la famille nous téléphone au sujet d’un être cher qui s’est découragé au point d’abandonner sa demande d’avantages ou qui ne veut pas « déranger » le Bureau parce que sa plainte ou sa blessure « n’est pas si pire que ça ».

Un voyage de mille lieues commence toujours par un premier pas, et le chemin vers l’équité pour tous les vétérans commence par un simple appel téléphonique. Mon équipe, formée de bon nombre d’anciens membres des Forces canadiennes et de la GRC, ainsi que de fonctionnaires chevronnés, est là pour aider les vétérans, aussi insignifiant que leur problème puisse leur paraître. Chaque appel ou courriel que nous recevons permet à mon équipe d’aider les vétérans.

Bien qu’il puisse y avoir des problèmes que nous ne pouvons pas régler immédiatement, cela ne signifie pas pour autant qu’ils n’entraîneront pas des changements positifs. En effet, l’information sur les appels et les plaintes permet à mon équipe de cerner des tendances. Nous sommes ensuite armés des faits dont nous avons besoin pour encourager Anciens Combattants Canada à modifier des politiques et des processus injustes, ce qui améliore la situation de bien des vétérans à la fois.

Dans notre dernier rapport annuel, nous avons mis en lumière le cas d’un vétéran qui avait téléphoné au Bureau afin de se renseigner sur son admissibilité à l’allocation d’incapacité exceptionnelle, une allocation mensuelle pouvant atteindre 1 348,57 $ versée aux pensionnés qui souffrent d’une incapacité exceptionnelle. Mon Bureau a communiqué avec Anciens Combattants Canada afin de discuter de ce cas et a trouvé que la moitié
des 1 800 vétérans qui étaient potentiellement admissibles à l’allocation n’en avaient jamais été informés. Le Ministère a remédié rapidement à la situation en envoyant une lettre à ces vétérans. Ainsi, il a été établi que près de 600 vétérans étaient admissibles à l’allocation d’incapacité exceptionnelle. Ces vétérans ont touché des paiements rétroactifs totalisant 14 millions de dollars.

J’encourage fortement tous les vétérans et les autres clients d’Anciens Combattants Canada qui éprouvent des difficultés ou qui en ont éprouvées dans le passé à communiquer avec le Bureau, même si vous jugez que votre plainte est sans importance. Un appel peut avoir des résultats concrets; un petit geste peut aboutir à un changement important pour tous.

Une plainte peut être présentée par téléphone, par courrier ou par télécopieur à l'aide des renseignements fournis ici, ou soumise en-ligne en suivant les étapes décrites ici.

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Veuillez inclure vos commentaires ci-dessous. Nous vous rappelons que si vous souhaitez présenter une plainte concernant votre situation personnelle, vous devriez aller à la section Présenter une plainte.

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Commentaires

DeeDee said:

This is a note for broomball4, air4cechik and any other Veterans who are concerned about EIA retroactivity. My appeal was denied on the basis that the "effective date could NOT pre-date the date of application". My lawyer, Daniel Wallace of McInnes Cooper, was preparing the case to go to Federal Court. Last week, just days before the Attorney General was to submit his record & argument, the AG contacted my lawyer and "conceded" that the appeal panel had erred in law. The effective date CAN pre-date the date of application as long as you are a Class 1 pensioner and can prove you are suffering an exceptional incapacity that is a consequence of or caused in whole or in part by the condition the member is receiving a pension or a disability award under the Act. So for all "those left behind" in the 2011 EIA purge check into it. My case now goes back to VRAB for reconsideration by a different panel. I'm not certain that it falls under their newly implemented "fast track" program for cases that are sent back from Federal Court but I would certainly hope so. It has now been almost 5 years since I first heard and applied for EIA and I can tell you that "appeal fatigue" is putting this mildly. This matter should have been resolved long ago - when the 600 other cases were adjudicated within3 to 6 months back in 2011. The VRAB merry go round just keeps on spinning.

2 février 2013 11:14 AM

pxPVjBDPTq said:

An Update on case 08-4333 Payne vs. Shinseki, it appears the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims agreed with the Veteran and vacated the Department of Veteran Affairs December 2008 deicsion and remanded the case back to the Lincoln regional Office for further development to include all service medical records which the Court held to be the most relevant medical evidense in the file at the time of medical retirement. 19 years of fighting by the VA wiped out by the Court, and now it starts over again, hopefully it does not take another 19 years (could be dead by then).

9 décembre 2012 12:15 PM

Lorna Sutherland said:

I agree with a ministry for seniors because seniors have not only been of benefit to our country in the past but need to be considered for the future. More and more seniors are taking on responsibilities of helping with their own peer group, their children and grandchildren. They are doing so more and more because of social underpinnings of family breakdowns and the ongoing desire to help. Seniors want to be kept healthy longer not for selfish reasons but for survival ones. Seniors are valuable members of society and a ministry would ensure that there is no agism. Lack of health care and or social abuses.

9 décembre 2012 7:47 AM

Rudi said:

I am trying to be as respectful as possible, not to be ignorant and certainly not abusive in any way shape or form (as per your terms of us). I am hoping to get my point across to not only to the Office of the Veteran's Ombudsman but also to many of the Veterans who are hoping The Office will be able to right the wrongs in the system. I am trying really hard to figure out what the Veteran's Ombudsman and his Office is actually able to do. You state that you cannot intervene between DVA and a Veteran, you cannot advocate on behalf of a Veteran in the processes at DVA. You say that, and I quote "The Veteran's Ombudsman does, however, have the authority to review systemic issues related to the VRAB and make recommendations in that regard", however your office refuses to act on these systemic issues. If the Veteran's Ombudsman will not get involved when a soldier/Veteran is essentially sentenced to death without trial by judge and jury or without any wrongful act allegedly committed by the soldier/Veteran, then what is your job/purpose? If the Veteran's Ombudsman will not get involved in the systemic abuses by Veteran's Affairs regarding "repeated errors in law in decisions, reviews and appeals" then what actually is your job/purpose? Oh yeah, I get it -- it is another way to increase the bureaucracy and perpetuate jobs for bureaucrats. Never mind that we Veterans are the sole reason for your existence and that your job should be to take care of us when DVA and DND as well as the rest of the Canadian Government consistently walks away from those who they put on the pointy end of the stick. I have come to the conclusion that the Veteran's Ombudsman is just another exercise in shuck and jive - let's pull the wool over the Veteran's eyes and pretend that we are doing something when we really aren't. Illusion and confusion seem to work best for the system but certainly do not work for the Veteran and their families. After 20 years of fighting Veterans Affairs to get my pension, and to help other Veterans get their pensions, I had a real hope that the Ombudsman would be able to right some of the wrongs but I guess I was wearing rose coloured glasses - the same ones I was wearing when I signed on the dotted line and entrusted my future to DND. Maybe I am just stupid, but you know, I actually believed all that crap fed to us by the recruiters, our DI's and our instructors on our 3's courses. I really believed that we were doing something important - I still do. I really believed that the CF's ethos - "we take care of our own" was real, but like every other Veteran I now know that it was one of the biggest lies I have ever been told. Ranks right up there with "the CF knows what is best for you" and "if DND wanted you to have a family, we would have issued one to you"! We are not covered under the Canadian Code of Human Rights, we give that up by virtue of enlisting. We place our trust in DND/GOC and in the end DVA. And those 3 entities continually fail to provide that which they are contractually obligated to. Not only was DND duplicite under the old act with DVA in systematically denying Veteran's the pensions that they have every contractual right to, they were not only duplicite but intentionally worked to minimize the governments fiscal responsibility to our service people/Veterans with this new Veterans Charter. Why the Ombudsman is not raising a Constitutional challenge to reverse this travesty is beyond me. Why the Ombudsman is not helping Veterans bring a Class Action suit to repeal this new act is beyond me. This is a classic case of Systemic Abuses within DND/DVA and the GOC in regards to Veterans and the rights of Service people who are willing to give their lives for our country. If these amazing people willingly offer their life to ensure every citizen of this country can live in peace and safety, then do we not owe them at least that which they agreed to contractually? Is it not the Ombudsmans role to ensure that this actually occurs? If not, then why bother? I am simply disgusted that DND/DVA and GOC can do whatever they want to service people and are accountable to no one. This is not democracy this is totalitarianism and is a scourge on every Canadian.

14 novembre 2012 3:59 PM

DeeDee said:

Great work!! The only problem I have is that unfortunately I was first advised on 14 May 2008 and ended up at VRAB. I did not receive a letter in 2011 like the hundreds of others because I had been getting EIA for 3 years. When I went to DVA I was told I had no choice but to proceed to the appeal level. I did this and the basis of the appeal was retroactivity. I became a Class 1 pensioner on 12 December 2001 and there was an Area Counsellor Client-Centred Assessment, dated 19 November 2001 plus several Doctor's. Surgeon's, Psychiatrist's and Cardiologist's reports on my file. I assumed that after starting the ball rolling on this top secret EIA I would surely be treated the same as the other 600 who were not told when they became Class 1 pensioners. Well you know what happens when you ass u me something. The answer was "NO" and the appeal panel actually went as far, in their decision letter, to say "It is difficult to establish that the Department failed to advise her of her eligibility to apply for the EIA as there is no time frame in the policy for advising a Class 1 pensioner of their eligibility to apply." So, the fact that the Department failed to advise hundreds of Veterans of their eligibility WHEN they became Class 1 pensioners wouldn't support the fact that I wasn't?? How do you prove something that didn't happen - didn't happen and where in God's name is the benefit of the doubt that VRAB SHALL give??? If I seem somewhat upset it is only because I am. I was extremely fortunate to secure pro bono legal services from Daniel Wallace and McInnes Cooper - Yes the SISIP class action suit lawyers!! Now it is off to Federal Court - another year of waiting and paperwork that could have been avoided. To quote Ron Griffis, National President of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping, "The current process creates a level of anger, distrust and frustration that is completely avoidable." As I am sure you are aware I have already contacted your office and there appears to be nothing that can be done in my caes!! I note on the blog an entry from another Veteran in circumstances similar to mine and would be interested in what you are able to do for him. It would suggest that there may be a considerable number of Veterans caught in the same vortex and not being treated fairly. What happened to "One Veteran One Service"?

8 novembre 2012 5:43 PM

broomball4 said:

J'ai commence a recevoir une perte de revenu en juin dernier et on commence a me donner ma pension d'invalidite que depuis le 01 octobre aucun retroactif. Je ne comprend pas pourquoi, nous venons de gagner un recours collectifs devant la cour alors pourquoi de pas nous retourner au debut. En plus que le systeme de remboursement de voyagement est extremement long. Les temps sont difficile. SVP aider nous.

8 novembre 2012 10:31 AM

Bureau de l'ombudsman des vétérans

Veuillez communiquer avec le Bureau de l'ombudsman des vétérans au 1-877-330-4343 (sans frais) au sujet de votre cas.

8 novembre 2012 3:10 PM

air4cechik said:

Retroactive to what. I just found out about this benefit and was only given retro to the time I applied for the allowance. I appreciate the extra income as I am on a disability and money is tight.

2 novembre 2012 7:04 PM

Bureau de l'ombudsman des vétérans

Veuillez communiquer avec le Bureau de l'ombudsman des vétérans au 1-877-330-4343 (sans frais) au sujet de votre cas.

5 novembre 2012 11:50 AM