ARCHIVED - Message from the Ombudsman (November 21, 2012)

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Ombudsman Releases Follow-up Report into the Treatment of Injured Reservists

I am very pleased to release today our latest special report into the medical care of Canadian Forces Reservists who become ill or injured while serving in Canada.

The report, entitled Reserved Care: A Follow Up into the Treatment of Injured Reservists, reviews the progress of 12 recommendations made by our office in 2008 to help ensure Reservists have proper access to medical care and administrative support.

While we were disappointed to learn that only four of 12 recommendations have been fully actioned in the past four years, a further six recommendations have been partially implemented. Two have not been addressed at all.

Of particular note, no change has been made to the Accidental Dismemberment Insurance Plan, which maintains an unfair disparity as some Reservists are still not entitled to the same compensation as their counterparts for exactly the same dismemberment. I have called for a ministerial intervention in order to correct this grave unfairness.

On a positive note, the Canadian Forces has made a significant improvement with the implementation of recommended measures to ensure that all Reservist members of the Canadian Forces now have electronic medical files accessible anywhere within the Canadian Forces medical system.

However, Reservists are still not subject to periodic health assessments and routine immunizations. Although there is a limited trial underway, inconsistent medical screening standards applied to the Reserve Force poses two problems – a risk to the medical well-being of reservists, and the potential inability to deploy medically-fit Reservists on domestic operations (floods, ice storms, etc.) because they lack the appropriate medical screening.

While the Department of National Defence released an interim guidance in 2009 which clarified the entitlement to medical care for Reservists, our office has found that the guidance is not widely known by Reservists, the Reservist Chain of Command or the Canadian Forces medical system. The policy needs to be formalized and disseminated throughout the entire Canadian Forces.

The 12 recommendations were the culmination of an extensive special report to the Minister of National Defence released in April 2008. The report drew upon the inputs of some 389 people – most of whom were Reservists.

Related Links:

November 21, 2012 - National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman Releases Follow-up Report into the Treatment of Injured Reservists

November 21, 2012 – Ombudsman Special Report: Reserved Care: A Follow Up into the Treatment of Injured Reservists

April 2008 – Ombudsman Special Report: Reserved Care: An Investigation into the Treatment of Injured Reservists

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