Opinion Letter about the 2018 Report Card
Ottawa, ON - August 1, 2018
10 Years of Recommendations – Is the Government Making Sufficient Progress?
By Guy Parent, Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman
I believe that Canadians want Veterans and their families to be treated well and accorded the utmost respect. After all, these are the men and women who selflessly take up the mantle to protect our way of life and, if need be, are ready to lay down theirs to ensure our peace and security.
It is very hard for government to dismiss facts when the facts presented to them are clear, well-researched and based on evidence. That is an important part of what my Office delivers to the Government of Canada and the Veterans’ community.
Yesterday I released my 2018 Report Card on the government’s response to 10 years of recommendations made by my Office. These evidence-based recommendations are aimed at improving services and support for Veterans and their families. Their origin can be traced to the numerous reports that my Office has released over that time span.
Since 2008, 64 recommendations have been made of which 46 or 72% have been implemented or partially implemented, leaving 18 still to be addressed. Going forward, in my opinion, the most important recommendations that need to be implemented are:
- Ensuring that the reimbursement of treatment expenses under the Veterans Well-being Act is retroactive to the date of the original application, as it is under the Pension Act.
- Amending the Veterans Well-being Act to permit a single Canadian Armed Forces member with no dependent children to designate a family member to apply for and receive the Death Benefit.
- Providing the same access to the Treasury Board Pensioner Dental Service Plan as provided by VAC under the Public Service Health Care Plan.
In conclusion, while I agree that some progress has been made, much remains to be done. Particularly with the fast approach of the April 1, 2019 Pension for Life implementation date, my Office will continue to engage with the government to ensure that Pension for Life meets the needs of Veterans and their families. At the same time, we will sustain our overall monitoring of the government’s progress on implementing outstanding recommendations.
I encourage you to read my 2018 Report Card.
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