Response from the Minister of National Defence re: Simplifying the Service Delivery Model for Medically Releasing Members

Mr. Gary Walbourne
Ombudsman
Office of the National Defence and
Canadian Forces Ombudsman
100 Metcalfe, 12th Floor
Ottawa ON K1P 5M1

 

Dear Mr. Walbourne:

Thank you for your letter of August 12, 2016, with which you enclosed a copy of your report titled Simplifying the Service Delivery Model for Medically Releasing Members.  Your input on these matters is valued, and I appreciate your recommendations.

I note in the report that the review is based on the assumption that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will determine whether an illness or injury is attributable to or aggravated by a member’s military service and that the determination be accepted by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) as sufficient evidence to support an application for benefits.  On this issue, my position remains as communicated in my letter to you dated August 2, 2016.

With regard to your first recommendation, although VAC is well established and has the resources to fulfill this task, the desired outcome is expected to be achieved through improvements to the enhanced transition services, which are already underway.  The Department of National Defence’s commitment to working with VAC to improve the process for releasing members is steadfast.  I am pleased to inform you that the implementing directive for a combined CAF/VAC transition process was signed on July 27, 2016, and is currently being actioned by the CAF.  Please rest assured that we are actively working on ensuring a “seamless” transition for CAF members who are releasing from the CAF, whether ill, injured or leaving for other reasons.

Regarding your second recommendation, there is great merit in the idea of a “concierge” service that will provide transitioning CAF members the ability to get through the transition process with ease and the CAF is actively exploring this idea with VAC.  To date, the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) has been providing many of these services.  The JPSU is currently working on its strategy on how best to support its clients.  Many initiatives are ongoing within the CAF and VAC to ensure that transitioning members are well taken care of, well informed, and well prepared for their transition.

For the last recommendation, there is also merit in the idea of a secure web portal.  The CAF is actively exploring this idea.

Thank you again for sending me a copy of your report.  I appreciate your continued support of our men and women in uniform and their families.

Yours sincerely,

 

The Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP

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