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Federal restrictions hurting ombudsman's ability to help veterans: Report

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Myth
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How many reports does this make now, I wonder?


Federal restrictions hurting ombudsman's ability to help veterans: Report

A new report commissioned by Canada's veterans' ombudman's office says the watchdog's current limited authority and lack of independence from the government is hindering its ability to help those who have served in uniform.

OTTAWA — The veterans ombudsman's office is hoping a new report flagging problems with the watchdog's limited authority and lack of independence from the federal government will lead to improvements in its ability to help those who have served in uniform.

Commissioned by the ombudsman's office, the report represents the first real review of the watchdog's operations since it was created in 2007 as a place that disabled veterans could turn if they felt the federal government was treating them unfairly.

Many veterans have since complained that the office has failed to live up to those expectations, an assessment that the watchdog itself has echoed.

"We strive to do our best, with the tools currently at our disposal, but we can and want to do more to address fairness issues veterans and their families are experiencing," the ombudsman's office said in a statement following the report's release.

"An expanded mandate would make that possible. We could investigate more veterans’ complaints, sooner, and more efficiently, which would enable us to have a greater ability to impact equitable outcomes for veterans and their families."

The analysis was conducted by Ottawa management firm Goss Gilroy Inc. and found the ombudsman has made a difference when it comes to some systemic issues affecting veterans such as inadequate financial support for large segments of the community.

Yet the analysis was frank in its assessment of the federally mandated limits on the office's ability to investigate individual complaints, describing those restrictions as "key barriers" to the watchdog's ability to help many veterans in need.

"The ombudsman should have the power to look at any complaint and not be restricted (with some specific exceptions like legal opinions), particularly when the department fails to respond to the complainant's request for an internal review," the report said.

https://www.timescolonist.com/federal-restrictions-hurting-ombudsman-s-ability-to-help-veterans-report-1.24187533
 

TCM621

Sr. Member
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From the OVO. I assume that this is the same report.

The Office of the Veterans Ombudsman (OVO) welcomes the recommendations made through an independent internal Evaluation Report recently released by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). It offers a detailed review of the OVO’s operations, effectiveness and the relevance of our mandate.

The OVO has initiated an Action Plan and has begun responding to these recommendations and we are blending our response to it as part of our ongoing efforts to improve our service investigating fair outcomes for Veterans and their families.

The single most important finding from this report, for our office, is the need to review the OVO’s mandate. Since its beginning in 2007, the OVO has shone a bright spotlight on system wide issues impacting Veterans and their families, and have made a real difference in individual lives.  We strive to do our best, with the tools currently at our disposal, but we can and want to do more to address fairness issues Veterans and their families are experiencing.

An expanded mandate would make that possible.  We could investigate more Veterans’ complaints, sooner, and more efficiently which would enable us to have a greater ability to impact equitable outcomes for Veterans and their families.

The OVO is encouraged that VAC will conduct an assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency of VAC’s review/appeal and complaint resolution streams and processes in response to this report.  We look forward to fully participating in this process.

On our part, the OVO’s response to -date includes refocusing our resources to increase the number of Early Intervention Officers taking complaints and introducing specialized staff training. The office wants Veterans to know that we are here and how we can help them.  We started expanding the traditional reach of our communication activities through more pro-active social media campaigns and launched a quarterly newsletter to share more information around the outcomes of our work.

We will keep Veterans informed of our progress as we continue to address these recommendations.  The OVO thanks all who contributed to this report.  It’s findings come at a pivotal time in our history and benefit not only our organization but most importantly Veterans and their families seeking fairness.

For updates on the progress of our Action Plan, subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us on social media.

Click here to read the full report: https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/about-vac/publications-reports/reports/departmental-audit-evaluation/2020-evaluation-office-veterans-ombudsman
 
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