December 7, 2023, Ottawa, ON – Today, the Office of the Veterans Ombud (OVO) released its publication Spotlight 2023: Progress Update on OVO Recommendations to VAC. As of March 31, 2023, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) has fully or partially implemented 70 percent or 55 of the OVO’s 79 recommendations – a slight improvement over last year.
The recommendations made by the OVO address systemic gaps and barriers to fair access by Veterans and their families for VAC services and benefits.
For the third consecutive year, the Veterans Ombud is calling on the government to provide access to mental health treatment benefits for family members of CAF Veterans in their own right.
The Veterans Ombud noted that while the majority of Veterans’ families are resilient, every family “is unique in their dynamics…. We now understand how difficult it is to deal with mental health issues if you don’t have access to support and professional mental health services.”
We are encouraged that VAC has successfully closed the wait time inequity for female Veterans waiting for disability benefit decisions, and we recognize the progress made towards our recommendation to implement a peer support program for Veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma.
However, we remain concerned about outstanding recommendations and believe there is still considerable progress to be made. To read the full publication click here.
- The OVO has been reporting on VAC’s implementation of its recommendations since 2017.
- Some of the recommendations the OVO has made to VAC date back to 2009.
- For the first time since the OVO began this yearly reporting, it asked VAC whether it accepted each of the partially or not implemented recommendations.
- In fiscal year 2022-2023, the OVO released two reports with seven new recommendations.
For media inquiries, please contact: