Letter to Minister of National Defence: Determination of Attribution to Service for medically releasing members

18 May 2016

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP
Minister of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
101 Colonel By Drive
13th Floor, North Tower
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K2

 

Dear Minister Sajjan:

Please find enclosed a positional paper on the Determination of Attribution to Service for medically releasing members.  I am making one recommendation:

We recommend that the CAF determine whether an illness or injury is caused or aggravated by that member’s military service and that the CAF’s determination be presumed by VAC to be sufficient evidence to support an application for benefits.

In respect to both yours and the Associate Minister’s mandate letters regarding transitioning members, this recommendation, if accepted, is a game changer.  By allowing the time currently spent on adjudication to be focused on the future needs of the transitioning member, it will also provide the opportunity to have in place all required, prior to release, for the member to have the best chance of success. 

The determining of attribution to service is currently being done for Reserve Force members and could quickly be adopted for Regular Force members.  Adjudication for still serving and late presenters will still be required at Veterans Affairs Canada but the time currently spent on releasing members adjudication could be refocused towards the future and not spent awaiting a decision.

This report is submitted to you pursuant to paragraph 38(1)(b) of the Ministerial Directives respecting the Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces.  As is standard practice, we will be publishing the report no sooner than 28 days from the date of this letter. As in the past, we will advise your Office of the exact date that we intend to publish. 

I look forward to your response to our recommendation.  

Sincerely,

 

Gary Walbourne
Ombudsman

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