Canadian Veterans Advocacy

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New announcement: Government Supports Private Member’s Bill Addressing Vandalism to War Memorials

Veterans Affairs
News Release
October 31, 2012

Harper Government Supports Private Member's Bill Addressing Vandalism to War Memorials

Ottawa - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, reiterated today that the Harper Government will support Private Member's Bill C-217: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (mischief relating to war memorials).

"As we near Veterans' Week, a time when Canadians pause to honour and remember Canada's Veterans and their contributions around the world, it is timely that we also take swift and serious action regarding the far too frequent occurrences of vandalism to war monuments," said Minister Blaney. "Our Government is proud to support this important bill which will see necessary changes to the Criminal Code demonstrating that Canadians will not tolerate such senseless acts of disrespect."

This bill would make it an offence under the Criminal Code to commit mischief to any property, building or structure, including a war memorial or cenotaph, that primarily serve as a monument in honour of persons who were killed or died as a consequence of war. The bill further proposes mandatory minimum penalties that would be the same whether the Crown proceeds by indictment or by way of summary
conviction: a $1,000 fine for the first offence, 14-days imprisonment for a second offence, and 30-days imprisonment for a third and subsequent offence.

Bill C-217 was first introduced in the House of Commons by David Tilson, Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, on June 15, 2011.

"It is of the utmost importance that C-217 be enacted. It protects the dignity of the war memorials and cenotaphs in our communities where we honour our war dead and pay tribute to the service of our men and women in uniform," said MP Tilson. "Bill C-217 will help remind Canadians that soldiers' sacrifices will never be forgotten or go unappreciated."

C-217 will be voted on at third reading tonight and if passed, it will move to the Senate for review. An online version of Bill C-217 is available at

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Media inquiries:
Janice Summerby
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada

Jean-Christophe de le Rue
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New announcement: Equitas Notice of Civil Claim Attorney General of Canada

Information Repository Link:;board=120.0

PDF Document:

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Sunday, October 28, 2012



This thesis examines how military members and veterans with Operational Stress Injuries are treated by Canadian justice systems. It suggests a correlation between mental injuries sustained on operations by military personnel and propensities for military and societal misconduct. By comparing civilian and military processes with American justice counterparts, a plan to improve the existing Canadian legal landscape is proposed. Using an analysis of the underlying philosophy and purpose of military justice, a problem solving diversionary court is recommended, along with legislative and policy amendments. The use of a consent-based "Treatment Standing Court Martial" would place military justice officials parallel to civilian justice alternative measures programs, and in a better position to break the cycle of recidivism among veterans by addressing root causes. Education to reduce stigma along with military-civilian partnerships are also advocated to enhance the detection of mental illness and to foster early treatment for military personnel and veterans. The overall goals of the work include: reducing recidivism, improving operational efficiency and taking care of military members, veterans and their families.

by J. Jason Samson Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Laws

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


1200-1 (CO JPSU)

23 October 2012

Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Registered Canadian Forces (CF) personnel:

A CANFORGEN signed by Rear-Admiral Andrew Smith, Chief Military Personnel, was released September 26, 2012, which explained the way ahead for TAP. In part, it said:

"As part of our ongoing commitment to assist the men and women of the Canadian Forces in their transition to civilian life, effective immediately the Director Casualty Support Management/Joint Personnel Support Unit (DCSM/JPSU) Transition Assistance Program (TAP) website will be replaced by the Canada Company military employment transition program website, available at

Canada Company, in partnership with the CF, is pleased to offer web-based employment transition services to occupation qualified and honourably released members. This partnership allows industry to benefit from the unique training, skills and employment experiences of former military members, while assisting releasing military personnel secure meaningful employment in the private sector."

It should be noted that military Intranet and military Internet computers (such as GPNet or NCRNet) are unable to access the Canada Company website at this time. Access to the website is unaffected on non-DND computers.

For those of you still active in your job search, I encourage you to visit Do not hesitate to contact your nearest Base/Wing Personnel Selection Officer for further assistance, as required. If you have any comments or questions, please contact


G.J. Blais
Commanding Officer
Joint Personnel Support Unit


1200-1 (Comdt UISP)

Le 23 octobre 2012

Membres des Forces canadiennes (FC) inscrits au Programme d'aide à la transition (PAT).

Un CANFORGEN signé par le contre-amiral Andrew Smith, chef du personnel militaire a été promulgué le 26 septembre 2012 qui explique l'avenir du PAT. En partie le message dit :

(Dans le cadre de notre engagement continu à venir en aide aux hommes et aux femmes des Forces canadiennes qui font la transition vers la vie civile, à compter de maintenant le site Web du Programme d'aide à la transition (PAT) de l'Unité Interarmées de Soutien du Personnel/Directeur – Gestion du soutien aux blessés (UISP/D GEST SB) sera remplacé par le site Web du Programme de transition en matière d'emploi pour les militaires de la Compagnie Canada, à l'adresse suivante

La Compagnie Canada en partenariat avec les FC, est heureuse d'offrir des services Web de transition en matière d'emploi aux militaires qui ont été libérés honorablement et sont qualifiés pour exercer leur profession. Ce partenariat permet a l'industrie de bénéficier de la formation, des compétences et des expériences de travail uniques des anciens militaires, tout en aidant le personnel militaire libéré à trouver un emploi intéressant dans le secteur privé.)

Veuillez prendre note que l'intranet militaire et les ordinateurs militaires branchés à internet (par exemple GP net ou RNC-net) sont incapables d'accéder au site Web de la Compagnie Canada. L'accès au site n'est pas affecté sur les ordinateurs non-MND.

Pour ceux qui sont toujours à la recherche active d'un emploi, je vous encourage à visiter . N'hésitez pas à contacter le personnel de votre Base/Escadron votre officier de sélection du personnel si nécessaire. Si vous avez des questions ou des commentaires à formuler, n'hésitez pas à communiquer avec le CSIP le plus prêt ou envoyer un courriel à

Veuillez agréer, Mesdames, Messieurs, mes salutations distingués.

G.J. Blais
Unité Interarmées de soutien au personnel

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New announcement: Journaliste de Québec voudrais parler a un exmilitaire transition a la vie civil


Une journaliste de Québec (Telejournal Quebec) voudrais parler un un ex-militaire qui a subis une perte d'un ou des membre(s) pour avoir son opinion sur la transition a la vie civils. SVP envoyer mois votre histoire, message privee) et je la transmette a cette journaliste qui feras son choix parmi les personne qui aurons répondue.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

New announcement: DND bills soldier suffering from PTSD a bill for 2 days of sick leave

Defence department bills soldier suffering from PTSD a bill for two days of sick leave

By David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen October 22, 2012 8:21 PM

Read more:

The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97 for two extra days of sick leave he took in 2006, along with a threat of taking him to court if he doesn't pay up by Nov. 15.

The letter for retired master corporal Kevin Clark arrived Monday at his father's home near Oromocto, New Brunswick. Clark had been there for two weeks taking care of his mother who is in hospital.

The Canadian Forces Ombudsman recently determined that Clark, a combat veteran, had been mistreated by DND officials and officers after he was forced from his job counseling soldiers with post-traumatic stress. After a five-year investigation Ombudsman Pierre Daigle recommended the Canadian Forces and DND apologize and help Clark, who himself suffers from PTSD. DND and the Canadian Forces have refused.

The new development in Clark's story comes as Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Steven Blaney, Minister of Veteran's Affairs, joined military leaders in Ottawa to praise how they treat soldiers with mental health issues.

"All of us, every Canadian Forces' officer, soldier, sailor, airman and airwoman, have a duty to make sure those facing mental health challenges get the help they need," General Walter Natynczyk said in a statement.

Clark said he was taken aback by the DND letter. "Right now I'm trying to find a nursing home to put my mother in," he explained. "Talk about getting kicked when you're down."

Clark tried twice on Monday to call the DND official who mailed the letter but he only got voice mail. The Citizen also phoned the official whose name is on the letter but also received voicemail.

In an email Monday sent in response to the Citizen's questions about this latest development, the Defence Department stated "senior leadership is hearing about this allegation for the first time. We take it seriously and we are investigating."

Clark said he would pay the DND the money because he can't take the risk his credit rating will be adversely affected. "I've built up my credit rating to a good standing so I can't afford for them to destroy it," he added.

In two separate reports, Daigle determined that managers from the Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) program, the organization whose job is to help soldiers suffering from mental-health issues, unfairly treated Clark and another soldier, both of whom are who are dealing with PTSD.

In a letter sent several months ago, Rear Admiral Andrew Smith, chief of military personnel, informed Daigle that the Canadian Forces rejected the findings and that the ombudsman had no jurisdiction to even look into the complaints from the two combat veterans.

Clark, who developed PTSD after coming to the aid of a fellow soldier shot by a Bosnian sniper in 1994, isn't surprised by the reaction from the Canadian Forces. The former master corporal, who joined the military at 18, says such dismissive attitudes towards stress disorders are common in the Canadian Forces.

Ombudsman staff privately acknowledge the 47-year-old Clark has been put through the ringer by the Canadian Forces. When officers originally found out he was suffering from PTSD they tried to boot the soldier out of the military, even though he had just two months to go before he could collect his pension for 20-years of service. They backed off on that and Clark found his way into OSISS as a counselor to help fellow soldiers dealing with PTSD, eventually working out of offices on Coventry Road.

Clark and the other soldier complained to Daigle they were forced from their jobs after a series of run-ins with OSISS management. The stress from that further aggravated Clark's PTSD and he eventually took 30 days sick leave.

OSISS responded by clawing back his pay, Daigle noted. The stress created by the events at OSISS led to a significant deterioration of Clark's health and financial situation, his report added.

The two extra days of sick leave that the DND wants to be paid for is from that period.

Clark acknowledges his time at OSISS aggravated his PTSD and sent him into a spiral of depression. After being forced out of the organization he withdrew from society.

The standoff between Daigle and the senior military leadership found its way into the Commons several weeks ago. But Defence Minister Peter MacKay brushed aside concerns the government was trying to undercut the role of the ombudsman, saying that he, as minister, could be relied on to stand up for the country's soldiers.

MacKay, however, also warned Daigle not to advocate on behalf of soldiers.

A number of soldiers suffering from PTSD have come forward to complain about their treatment by the military. In May, one father went as far as to kidnap his son from Canadian Forces Base Petawawa and admit the Afghan war veteran into a civilian treatment facility after the military failed to deal with the soldier's problems.

Both Smith and Natynczyk declined to be interviewed. But in an emailed statement last week, DND noted, "We have had and continue to have positive discussions with the Ombudsman Office with regards to the case of Mr. Clark and the observations they raised. Due to the fact this case is not fully resolved and because of privacy concerns, it would be inappropriate for the Canadian Forces to comment further at this point."

The email stated the government "is committed to providing ill and injured veterans and members of the Canadian Forces with the care and support they need as they transition to civilian life." In an email, MacKay's spokesman Jay Paxton also added "positive discussions" concerning Clark were ongoing. "I'll note Minister MacKay has made the care of ill and injured personnel his number one priority and he has instructed officials to ensure the necessary resources are in place to provide the appropriate care for those who are in need," added Paxton.

Clark said the only communication he has had with the Canadian Forces in years was the letter that arrived Monday demanding the money.

An official with Daigle's office says discussions are ongoing with DND but added the ombudsman has no intention of backing away from his recommendations.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

New announcement: Letter from the National President for the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees

October 18, 2012

Good day Mr. Moore,

My name is Yvan Thauvette. I am the National President for the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees. With Veterans week fast approaching I think that it's important that I share some information with you.

Please understand that the Union is supportive of Veterans Affairs Canada in the transformation of the department to enable Veterans to better access and receive their benefits. Unfortunately, this initiative is not only hampered, but crippled because of the 2012 budget cuts announcement. As the department is already cut to the bone, there is no way that they will be able to make further reductions without negatively impacting client service delivery.

Job Cuts to Veterans Affairs

The department wants to reduce their workforce by 800 positions by the end of 2015. They intend to close 9 District Offices. The VAC ADM, Keith Hillier, announced that Senior Management is embarking on an "aggressive workforce management initiative" in the coming months. The number of reductions (full time employees) is targeted at 780. So far, just over 130 jobs have been eliminated – the worst is yet to come. At the present time, no top management positions at the EX levels have been eliminated.

The average case load for a Client Service Agent (CSA) was at 800. After budget cuts, the average case load for a CSA has now increased to an average of 1200 to 1400 files each. In some offices where surplus employees left the department, the average is as high as 3600. It's impossible for them to keep up with this case load. We are very worried with what's next. The employer is working on reducing the number of Case Managers as well. The impact could be huge.

Our members are finding that the emotional fallout from the process has been immense and staff is still reeling from the impacts. I want you to know that VAC has been asked by Treasury Board to reduce their workforce. What the government is not telling you is that in fact the money is distributed differently. Instead of allowing VAC to use more staff, they are contracting out part of the work our members are performing, and this is not in your best interest and it is not cost effective for tax payers.

Contracting Out
Last January, the department contracted out general calls to Service Canada who then sub- contracted that back to a private company called Quantum. These general calls from veterans were previously answered by our experienced analysts from the department call centres. In the beginning, 85% of the calls going through Service Canada were transferred back to our Call Centres because their staff was not able to answer the clients' questions. That has since been reduced to 60% because their voice mail message was changed, but I don't see why those numbers would go down.

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The private company doesn't know our programs and the services we deliver. Most of the time, they give the wrong information and we have proof of that. That also means that you and I are paying for the same service twice. How will they be able to handle your private information if that private company has access to your change of address, notification of death and direct deposit? Those questions weren't answered by the department when we asked the question. They are still working on it was their answer.
Can we rely on the Minister's announcement when he said: "We are pursuing the highest standards in privacy protection so that all Veterans can be confident their personal information is safe and their rights are being fully respected."
The department also contracted some of our members' work to a private company, Medavie Blue Cross. The cost of that contract was over a $100M in 2002. Because the department is giving them additional work, it will most likely double in 2012/2013. The department wants veterans to be seen as any other regular citizen from now on. They only want veterans to receive their benefits from an insurance company. We believe that there are no measures that have been put in place to ensure quality services from the private company.

Impacts on Veterans

While, Prime Minister Harper and Minister Blaney have smilingly assured Canadians that Veterans will see less red tape and now have over 600 service locations across Canada, sadly, this is far from the truth.

In fact, what follows is a prime example of what doesn't work: Recently a 92 year old Veteran client attended the Service Canada Office in Kelowna where our VAC office is co-housed. The Veteran stood in line with his walker for 40 minutes to be told by Service Canada that he can no longer access the VAC staff in the same building. He was led to a computer terminal and given brief instructions on how to apply for benefits. At 92 years old, it's no surprise that this gentleman wasn't able to comprehend what the agent was telling him and requested that she assist him. She apologized and advised the client that she is not authorized to assist in this manner. This War Veteran then returned to his vehicle and made the lengthy commute back to his home where he called the toll free number and started his enquiry all over again. The story doesn't tell me if he received a reply from Veterans Affairs or Service Canada. How appalling that our War Veterans and our elderly are being treated so poorly.

It won't be any different with the younger Veterans in the near future. Who will you rely on if you have concerns or questions about your own file if there is very few staff left within the department? It's great to have access to a computer, but Veterans deserve a live body to guide them through the systems and tell them what type of benefits they are entitled to receive.

District Offices Closure

If you look at the numbers, how can the department close 9 District Offices without having an impact on services? Those offices are located in Sydney, Corner Brook, Charlottetown, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Brandon, Saskatoon, Kelowna and Prince George. According to the department's numbers, those offices deal on an average with 2800 to 4200 clients, including veterans, spouses, and RCMP. This department is slamming the door on Veterans.

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The government promised Veterans a department and high quality services. From the examples provided, it is quite apparent that the Department of Veterans Affairs is currently struggling to fulfill their mandate. After the remaining 600 positions are eliminated, the service and benefits to veterans will not be improved as promised, but rather diminished with larger caseloads and less assistance to access programs. The department's mandate will be near impossible to maintain.

Our members are under enormous pressure. They have too much respect to let go of the quality and the quantity of services they delivered to our veterans in the past.

A Veteran is a Veteran is a Veteran. You all need to be served like the heroes of our nation.

Please feel free to contact me or any of my National Executive on any questions or concerns you may have. Our web site address is

In Solidarity,

Yvan Thauvette
National President
Union of Veterans Affairs Employees
233 Gilmour Street Suite 703
Ottawa, Ontario

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New announcement: Veterans Among Us 2012 - Video 1 (OurDuty)

You served your country with distinction. You stood on guard for years. You showed exceptional courage. You mitigated disasters. You protected peace. You gave exemplary service and brought credit to Canada. You are a veteran.

This November, to mark the beginning and end of the Month of Remembrance, the citizens of Canada invite you to participate in Veterans Among Us. On the 1st and 30th, wear your medals with pride as your go about your day. You know what you did; let your community know. Celebrate your achievements.

Honours and awards are presented on behalf of all Canadians to recognize those people who have demonstrated excellence, courage or exceptional dedication to service in ways that bring special credit to this country. Too often, these are worn only in memorial of the fallen. This year, celebrate your service as well!

On November 1st and 30th, wear your medals with pride. Show all of Canada what you achieved.

More details and to join in, please visit:

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New announcement: Situation report. October 17, 2012

Situation report. October 17, 2012

Be advised that the Canadians Veterans Advocacy has been engaged on a variety of levels both with Veterans Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defense, Minister Blaney's 0ffice and parliamentarians from both opposition parties. There has also been substantial dialogue with Wayne Johnson of Wounded Warriors re mental heath, Richard Blackwolf, Canadians Aboriginal Veterans and Serving members Association, Yvan Thauvette, president, Union of Veterans Affairs Employees and the presidents of a recently formed alliance between the Canadian Veterans Advocacy, CAVUNP, the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association and the NATO Veterans Association.

Canadians Veterans Alliance. Last month, the presidents/ reps from four stakeholder veterans organizations met in Ottawa at the National War Museum to discuss issues that are common to our organizations advocacy mandates and form a united front wherein our message would be heard, not ignored, by the government. Although preliminary, certain issues were identified, including the Lump Sum Award, the Widows, VIP and reform to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. The LSA and Widows were proposed by the CVA and I am very pleased to note that, after discussions, they were universally accepted. I am hopeful that CVA supporters will see this as a positive step forward and understand these issues are of a priority nature and alliances at the stakeholder level allows us to engage collectively on very important subjects. More to follow as the situation develops.

Vigil for Veterans - Thursday, November 8th, Parliament Hill, 1500 hours.

IMPORTANT NOTIFICATION! There has been a change in the timings due to conflict of interest issues for those wishing to attend/speak but have committed to local Remembrance Day events over the course of the R-Day weekend. Equally important for our objectives, Parliament will be sitting on Thursday and there will be an opportunity for attending veterans to speak to supportive Canadians and parliamentarians about the consequences of the New Veterans Charter and request their support for substantive reforms. The Budget Day/ D-Day Vigil format proved very successful and we shall follow the same principles by meeting beside the National War Memorial at the park benches near the Wellington and Elgin intersection between 1230-1315 and then move in an orderly fashion to front of the Peace Tower in time to meet the with parliamentarians prior to Question Period. There will be brief speeches followed by a special tribute rendition of Oh Canada wherein we shall, together, sing in honour of Canada's sons and daughters who have suffered the consequences of war and peace in our name.

On this day, we pay tribute to the living, to those who came home forever changed by war and forced to adapt to a new way of living for the rest of their lives. On this day, we pay tribute to the mothers and fathers who sent their children to war. On this day, we sing for the widows who have sacrificed their most treasured love, on this day, we sing for those who stood on guard for thee.

Lest we Forget.

To that end, we are looking for a professional singer to lead us and if you have had the dream, or know someone that does, of singing the National Anthem on Parliament Hill in front of a national audience, this may be your opportunity. Be advised that there will be documentary crews on site and that the event will be heavily promoted on our internet utube network. I am also confident that there will be substantial media representation, if you have a story, if you want to talk to somebody, this is your opportunity.
Veterans and their families living in the Ottawa region and beyond are encouraged to step up. Your attendance in these events is crucial to mission success on a variety of levels. And as always, bear in mind that the reforms the Canadians Veterans Advocacy are fighting for can only be attained through legislative change. We must adapt to the changing political situation, it is vital, regardless of personal political convictions, to attain the support of all parties, particularly if we fail to convince the current government prior to the next election and are potentially confronted with another minority government.

We cannot abandon this generation of Canada's sons and daughters as has our government has, not when they have sacrificed so much in this nation's name. We cannot not allow a national system to exist that compensates one veteran of catastrophic injuries with a lifetime award for pain and suffering and another, who sustained the very same horrific injuries in war, with a Chump Sum Award and a lifetime of uncertainty.

We must think of the mothers, father, sons and daughter who have sacrificed their loved ones bodies and minds to a war few understand or support. We must think of the widows and the substandard level of respect they have been accorded through the New Veterans Charter. We must think about the broken promises about reform of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, or the one made to the wounded at the height of the combat mission by General Hillier about retention within the Canadian Forces for those who have suffered serious, limb taking wounds yet are still capable of fulfilling a role within the military. WQe must think of the many who are struggling with inadequate mental health care, the suicides, the homeless veterans… and then my friends, take a deep breath and think, how would you feel if it was one of your son's, one of your daughters.
We need your voice! We need your support, if you can make it to Ottawa, your presence will make a profound difference in our quest for justice.

After the Vigil, we are also inviting veterans to join us in the galleries for Question Period during the last session prior to Remembrance Day. The CVA believes it is important that parliamentarians see our presence and understand that we, as a veterans community united under principle, have expectations for their support at all levels, particularly with degree of fatalities, mental and physical injuries that will forever enshrine this nation's commitment to the Afghanistan War once the last Canadian soldier leaves in 2014.

Ardent Dignity. I would have CVA supporters understand that this is a long term operation and this November's actions are preliminary based and focused on message. Accordingly, we are encouraging CVA supporters to engage in an awareness program in your communities during the Remembrance period. The fact that Remembrance Day falls on a Sunday this year will, hopefully, increase service attendance in your communities and provide an opportunity to speak with your mayor, local legion and veterans' association presidents about the need of preparing a Wounded Warrior Task Force capable of welcoming and assisting the wounded and their families once they are repatriated to our cities and towns.

There has been a very good response to date although, with such a vast nation and an unexpected level of apathy, it is clear that we have our work to.

What can you do? Communicate!!!!! It is that easy. Talk to your friends, reach out to your mayor and council, your local veterans associations asking for their help and leadership. When the opportunity arises, talk to your friends and family and solicit their support by sending our information to their friends. We are a grassroots organization, our ability to succeed in quests such as this is based on our ability to motivate Canadians to embrace our wounded warriors and disabled veterans and assure their quality of life once they return to our communities. We have time, there is a grace period of up to three years once the veterans is deemed incapable of passing the Universality of service standards. All things start with one step….

Veterans Affairs Canada Stakeholders meeting. The situation at VAC has changed significantly with changes from the Deputy Minister level down. Our Liaison officer these past two years has also been moved and I would take this moment to thank KM for the amazing degree of support she provided in assisting veterans with special needs and reference to ensuring we had accurate information about policies, clarifying so many issues and, most importantly, being patient and demonstrating true compassion to our veterans.

LGen Walter Semianiw will take command over the Stakeholders outreach programs. The general is still serving, I have spoken with him a couple of times but, frankly, am still in the assessment mode. There has been contact about the next meeting, however, I am very uncomfortable with the situation as it currently stands. At this point of time, the government is unwilling to provide a status report about the resolutions the stakeholders unanimously passed during the last session. Be advised that these resolutions were the culmination of five years of consultation and great public expense. I have asked repeatedly for the situation to be the first item on the agenda to no avail. The alliance members have pledged support and hopefully the remainder of the stakeholders will remain unified.

We shall see.

Remembrance Week schedule.

Nov 3rd - Legion House – National Consultations
Nov 4th – Meeting, President, UVAE
Nov 5th – Meetings MPs, Senate Remembrance ceremony, candlelight ceremony
Nov 6th – meetings DND Mental Health/ Speaker, fund raiser, Cornwall Airforce Club.
Nov 7th – meetings am, media re Vigil, rest
Nov 8th – National Press Conference, 1100 hrs. Vigil for Veterans 1330. Jubilee presentations, Question Period. Reception in PM.
Nov 9th. - Meetings am, Rest
Nov 10, - Meetings, National War Museum.
Nov 11 – National Memorial Service depending on pain levels, will either spend the night or return to Niagara Sunday evening.

Fundraising. I feel it is very important that those veterans who support our activities through financial donations see that there money is well spent and that Sylvain and I are very prudent when we are in Ottawa. Once again, the CVA command post will be set up at the Econolodge on Rideau. This is not exactly the Hilton, in fact, it is on the other end of the spectrum. The only other expenses are the gas, car and depending on what is cheapest for the task at hand, parking or a cab. Be advised that Sylvain and I pay for all of our own food, refreshments and incidentals and that our time is volunteer based. Be also advised that we are both seriously disabled and only ask for donations to support costs that we cannot afford on our pensions. We could use some help now as we will be spending nine days in Ottawa and the trip will undoubtedly leave myself and Sylvain absorbing additional costs. You can donate to the CVA warchest at our national website through a variety of venues.

Consultation issues.
Several issues are surfacing that I need your feedback on.
WW2 veterans – long term care, I have received several complaints from children who are having difficulty finding LTC facilities for veterans who served in WW2. If this is happening to you, please send me a brief description of the situation and the time /place you parent served.
Case Managers – Has your CM changed or position been eliminated with no replacement being provided?

Call in centres. Problems?

My VAC. Problems?

Closing of offices? Problems?

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New announcement: Veterans Affairs ends clawback of benefits for 2,500 families

Veterans Affairs ends clawback of benefits for 2,500 families

CBC News
Posted: Oct 10, 2012 9:53 AM ET
Last Updated: Oct 10, 2012 10:42 AM ET

Veterans Affairs is ending clawbacks of two income support benefits, a move the government says will result in more money in the pockets of veterans.

Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney announced Wednesday that effective immediately, veterans will no longer have the amount of their earnings loss benefit and their Canadian Forces Income Support benefit reduced because they're also receiving a disability pension.

The changes will cost the government $177.7 million over the next five years and are expected to affect an estimated 2,500 veterans and families.

"We are working hard to bring real help where and when it's needed most for Canada's heroes," Blaney said in a news release.

He also said the government is working on a similar change so that the war veterans allowance won't be clawed back.

Veterans have been complaining about the clawback of various benefits since a new Veterans Charter was introduced in 2006.

Wednesday's changes also come in the wake of a class-action lawsuit filed against the federal government that veterans successfully won in May.

Long-term disability benefits were being reduced by the amount of the monthly Veterans Affairs disability pension, and the court sided with the veterans who argued that was unfair.

When Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Blaney said they would not appeal the decision, they said they would move to make changes to other benefits so they weren't clawed back either.

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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.

Friday, October 5, 2012

New announcement: Supporting homeless and at-risk Canadian military veterans

Supporting homeless and at-risk Canadian military veterans

My name is Jim Lowther, CD, and the charity I founded and run, V.E.T.S. Canada (Veterans Emergency Transition Services), is competing for funding in the AVIVA Community Fund program:

We need your votes to qualify in the first round of the completion. You can vote once each day until October 15th.

Since early 2011, V.E.T.S. Canada has been reaching out to homeless and at-risk military veterans across Canada. In the past year and a half our "boots on the ground" outreach efforts have helped us identify and assist more than 30 homeless veterans in Halifax and throughout Nova Scotia alone. We have also helped veterans in other Canadian cities, including Barrie (ON), Winnipeg (MB), Edmonton (AB), and Surrey (BC) using our growing social network of ex-military volunteers.

Every week we discover more veterans who have slipped through the cracks; who have not made a successful transition from military life to civilian life. These veterans are living on the street or at-risk of being homeless, many are drifting, couch-surfing. They are unemployed and are trying to cope with mental and physical injuries related to their service without adequate health care and other needed community supports.

We need your help. Please show your support and vote for our proposal daily. We also ask that you share this email and the link with your friends and family. With your votes we can really help our brothers and sisters-in-arms.

Jim Lowther, CD
Founder and President
Veterans Emergency Transition Services (V.E.T.S. Canada)
Mobile (902) 483-2954

Father and Son: a V.E.T.S. Canada success story. Adrian, a veteran who suffers from service-related health problems, was on the verge of losing his home and being separated from his son when V.E.T.S. Canada reached out and helped him secure housing and more. Father and son remain together.

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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New announcement: Veteran recalls struggle with PTSD (Kevin Berry never met Greg Matters)

Veteran recalls struggle with PTSD (Kevin Berry never met Greg Matters)

October 1, 2012


Citizen staff

Kevin Berry never met Greg Matters or his family but still felt it was important to be Matters' funeral on Monday.

Berry is an veteran of the war in Afghanistan and is a member of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy group. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Berry understands what Matters was going through in the days leading up to his death earlier this month.

"The main focus of today for me was that we as a country have many veterans who are suffering as a result of their service to this country," Berry said. "And we lost a guy. We lost someone is the fight against PTSD. We lost a brother-in-arms, we lost a friend, we lost a comrade and the Matters' family is bearing the brunt of that today."

Matters, a veteran of the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, also had PTSD. He was shot by police after a 30-hour standoff in Pineview. An investigation into his death is underway.

Berry has seen too many friends and colleagues die as a result of PTSD. Just this week Alex Hogan, a man Berry served with, took his own life at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick.

Berry came up from Vancouver to attend the funeral, support the family and raise awareness for PTSD. He said many more soldiers and veterans are suffering from the disease and is hoping to help create an environment where they can get the treatment they need.

"The most difficult thing with PTSD is admitting there's a problem," he said, adding he's thankful get the treatment he required and to have a strong support network around him.

Berry said he felt the tone of the funeral was appropriate. People spoke of Greg's life, his commitment to service and how he was making progress in his battle with PTSD in the months leading up to his death.

"The focus was quite correctly kept on remembrance and celebration of life, versus assigning blame or anger regarding the circumstances of Greg's death," he said. "The investigation is going to unfold the way it is."

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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.


September 2012


Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) wishes to advise you that, effective October 1, 2012, the Health Related Travel Claim – Veteran form, which you are currently mailing to either the Winnipeg or Kirkland Lake offices, must be sent to the following address:

National Reimbursement Centre
Suite 120, 90 University Avenue
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 9S2

In the future we would like to communicate with you by e-mail. Please visit the Medavie Blue Cross website at and click on the Health Professionals link, then scroll down to the Update Your Contact Information link. Enter your information on the Provider Application page to send us your e-mail address or to update other contact information. Your e-mail address will be added to our electronic mailing list and will only be used to keep you up to date on important changes to programs and benefits (i.e. rates, frequencies, etc.).

Thank you for the ongoing care and service you provide to our Veterans

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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New announcement: NDP introduces bill to scrap oft-maligned veterans review and appeal board

NDP introduces bill to scrap oft-maligned veterans review and appeal board

By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press October 3, 2012 1:20 PM

OTTAWA - New Democrats have introduced a private member's bill to scrap an oft-maligned board where ex-soldiers can appeal the denial of benefits by the federal government.

MP Peter Stoffer, the party's veterans critic, says the review agency is the No. 1 problem facing individual veterans — and is seen as a place where they have to plead for what is rightfully theirs.

"The problem that many, many veterans face is when they appear before this politically appointed, non-accountable board is that they feel like they're begging for something," Stoffer said Wednesday.

"They feel they're coming cap in hand."

The Veterans Review and Appeal Board has been at the centre of complaints — even from one of its own members — that it disrespects and sometimes belittles veterans who appear before it.

Last winter, several former members of the military described how they'd faced snide, often disrespectful comments from board members who sat in judgment of their claims. The agency was also at the centre of a scandal, where one of its members said his private medical information was spread around to discredit him because he too often sided with veterans.

One ex-soldier, George Villeneuve, says two of his friends committed suicide after being turned down for help.

"A lot of people appearing before a board like that are already pretty ill and they don't have the strength to continue and that's their last resort," said Villeneuve, a 20-year veteran.

"And when they're being denied and turned back, what other resort do they have? Some of them do eventually commit suicide. I know of two personally."

Stoffer said he wouldn't go as far as directly blaming the review board for suicides, but he said he believes that some of the negative decisions have contributed to homelessness among young veterans who spiral out of control when they don't get support.

Villeneuve, who appeared with Stoffer on Parliament Hill, says his claim of post-traumatic stress was turned down at the first stage of the board's review process, even though he says he had all of the appropriate letters from doctors.

He was forced to bring his doctor to the appeal hearing in order to win his case.

The NDP says the board's $11-million annual budget could be plowed back into benefits for ex-soldiers, and that challenges to the initial applications for benefits can be handled through an internal peer-review process.

Earlier this week, the chairman of the review board was before a House of Commons committee defending his use of taxpayers' money for two trips to a lecture series in Britain — $7,285.97 that John Larlee repaid, even though he told MPs it was "worthwhile" and of benefit to him as head of the board.

A spokesman for Veteran Affairs Minister Steven Blaney accused the NDP of wanting to cut direct services to veterans by abolishing the board.

"We are one of the only countries in the world to provide this independent review mechanism for veterans and we are proud to be the only country that also pays the legal fees for veterans who choose to use this review process," Niklaus Schwenker said in an email.

"Our government is determined to protect this independent forum for veterans and we will continue to stand up for veterans by protecting and improving the important benefits they deserve."

Before coming to office, the Conservatives promised at their 2005 convention to disband the board and "replace the membership with qualified medical and military members who are capable of adjudicating appeals on an informed basis rather than a political basis."

They complained that under the Chretien Liberals the board had become a partisan dumping ground.

"The Veterans Review and Appeals Board has been discredited by political patronage," said the party's backgrounder from the 2005-06 election campaign.

The platform promised to "fix" the board.

Stoffer says his private member's bill has the support of veterans groups.

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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New announcement: Parliamentary Committee Should Investigate VRAB - Decisions – Motion from Libera

Parliamentary Committee Should Investigate Veterans Review and Appeal Board Decisions – Motion from Liberal MP

Notice of Motion from Liberal MP Sean Casey:

That, in light of the Federal Ombudsman recent report on operations and decisions rendered by the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) in which 60 percent of their rulings have had to be overturned by the Federal Court due to errors of fact and law, and in light of the suggestion by the Ombudsman that Veterans are not getting the benefit of the doubt during the appeal process, that the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, at the conclusion of its current study, undertake a review of the processes and activities of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) and, that the Committee report to the House any recommendations to improve the current appeal process or, to recommend any other changes deemed necessary.

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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.