A review of Veterans Affairs Canada's letters to former soldiers who have been denied disability benefits has revealed a pattern of providing information but no adequate explanation of how the decisions were made.
"All the letters examined failed a test of adequacy in the reasons given for the decisions," says the country's veterans ombudsman, Guy Parent, in a report released Monday.
He reviewed a random sample of 213 decision letters sent out between 2001 and 2010. While they mostly dealt with denial of benefits, the letters sometimes explained what benefits were granted.In short, no one can understand the reason for or, as is normally the case, the reason for denying a claim. In fact, Veterans Affairs and their unwieldy decisions make Sun Life Insurance look good.
Some things the average reader may not know, just to create something of a perspective.
I know Guy Parent personally. He is not taken to politically motivated action so everything he says is coming from the results of hard work and diligence on behalf of the people he serves - Canadian Forces veterans.
He's no slouch. Guy Parent is one tough individual. He is a retired Rescue Specialist from the RCAF and he doesn't suffer anyone swinging the lead. During my time in the Canadian Forces we were always the same rank and, for a reason I can never describe to myself, I always considered him my better.
Now, I'm going to disagree with him.
Parent said he doesn't think the department is deliberately trying to confuse former soldiers.Sorry, old friend, I don't buy that. It's deliberate. If it wasn't, there would be clear reasons in writing in every case. The purpose for avoiding the provision of reasons is to provide camouflage. They're either lazy or they're lying. Either way every case needs to be reviewed. The truth is, VAC says NO to every claim they can just to try and make the claimant disappear. It's easier to do that to a veteran than explain their reasons to the minister. If that is not the result of a ministerial order then the civil servants involved think it is.
In response, some minky working for the Minister of Veterans Affairs burped this out:
Interesting. And this veteran is calling bullshit.Cutting red tape and providing hassle-free services to our veterans is Minister Blaney's top priority. The minister welcomes the recommendations in the ombudsman's report and intends to act quickly.