Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
The most common ones that you see often. There's the stamp.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I have the stamp, denial by design, language use, and stigmatization from this language. Are there any other practices you have in mind that you want to share today, right now?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I have one last comment for you. I don't know if, in your research, you have looked at autochthone Canadian veterans. We have had some of those groups at our committee. They have a whole other way of dealing with those mental issues, through their communities. I don't know if you saw that in your research, if you looked at it.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you for joining us this morning. It is an honour to have you with us here at the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. All the more so because, if I am not mistaken, this is the first time that we have with us both Canadian Armed Forces personnel and a number of representatives from Veterans Affairs Canada.
We have so many questions to ask you that it is difficult to decide where to start. I would specifically like to talk to Ms. Douglas, Ms. Pellerin, and Mr. Cormier.
I am sure you are aware that a number of veterans have come here in recent months; they have had many complaints about the programs and services provided by your department. They have mentioned benefits, red tape and other problems.
Transition interviews have been held for two years. I myself was released from the Canadian Armed Forces a few months ago, and I had my transition interview by telephone the day before yesterday. It was a very interesting experience. I found it was very well done.
I have noticed that most veterans who have come to tell us about their concerns and their complaints about the treatment they have received were released more than two years ago.
Can you share with us your data, if you have any, about veterans who have been released in the last two years and who have gone through transition interviews? Have the interviews made a difference? Have they improved the situation for veterans?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I am sorry to interrupt you. I understand the end goal of the transition interview, but I'll be more specific. Have you been receiving fewer complaints since you have been doing these kinds of transition interviews? We want to know if this transition interview is actually stopping a lot of the problems.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much.
Ms. Langlois, you are responsible for the joint personnel support unit. Someone told me that there were not enough senior military personnel, officers, in that unit.
Has that problem been solved?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay. Yes, of course.
Mr. Eldaoud, I would like to go back to the medical reports, the CF 98 form, and the surgeon general.
I have also met with Ombudsman Walbourne. I understand that you really want to protect the doctors' privilege to provide a diagnosis. Their role is to provide care, not to be part of the decision to grant benefits or not. However, your ombudsman seems to tell us that, despite that, we have to do things differently.
At the moment, when the surgeon general makes a diagnosis, even though he is very aware that a knee injury happened in Kandahar on such-and-such a date, for example, he does not put that on the CF 98 form, the medical report. Am I right on that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Welcome, Mr. Ombudsman, Ms. Hynes. I am very pleased that you are appearing before the committee this morning. Thank you for the exceptional work you are doing.
Mr. Ombudsman, you mentioned integrated personnel support centres, or IPSCs. Were you talking about non-military personnel? Did I understand what you said correctly?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Some veterans have said that there are not enough senior military people. In those integrated personnel support centres, there were a lot of people in the ranks, but not many officers. I have been told that the lack of senior military people indirectly leads to suicides, in the sense that there are not enough superiors to take direct charge of the soldiers and to supervise them closely. An officer cannot really observe who among his troops is not doing well when he has to handle 50 people rather than 30, which is the normal number for a lieutenant, for example.
Are you aware of those problems? If so, what have you told the army so that they can rectify the situation?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You have mentioned your service delivery model a number of times. In you text, you talk about a “fundamental change”. You have listed a number of aspects of that fundamental change, but could you also tell us about other aspects of the fundamental change that you may not have had the opportunity to tell us about until now. I assume that you have a specific list of the fundamental changes that are needed.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I have a more general question. It may not be related to your official role, but it concerns you nonetheless.
I have heard that the federal government should set money aside in the event of future conflicts. This goes beyond the Department of National Defence. It seems that funds are already available to meet the increasing demand for services over a certain length of time, such as we have with Afghanistan at the moment.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Ombudsman, Ms. Hynes. when soldiers with a minimum of 10 years of service leave the Canadian Armed Forces, they get a record of service card. According to my information, they do not get a record of service card if they have not served for 10 years.
Should they not receive the card regardless of the number of years they have served?
What is your opinion?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Do you think it would be desirable to eventually include a
a smart chip
on the veteran's card
where you would find some health information and so on?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I know that under the previous government steps were being taken to start this process of 2.0 or 3.0 cards. Do you know if there's something going on right now in DND or VAC concerning that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
My next question is on a completely different topic.
The Royal Canadian Legion is a group recognized by an act of Parliament; it has a special place in the veterans' world. A lot of groups in Quebec City, where I was elected, have told me that they do not have access to the facilities on CFB Valcartier—such as the parade ground, the gym or the officers' mess—if they want to hold events.
People from Wounded Warriors, for example, have asked me to write a letter of support, asking the Valcartier base commander to allow them to use the facilities, on the same basis as the Royal Canadian Legion.
Is that situation a problem for you?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I understand.
In 2009, during my army basic training course, which was being held at Saint-Hubert, near Montreal, we were visited by the Canadian Armed Forces ombudsman. He told us about our rights as Canadians. He explained to us that we had basic rights, even though we were in an institution that controlled us.
When you visit recruits during their courses, if that still happens, do you tell them about the existence of the Department of Veterans Affairs and about the services and benefits they may be able to receive at some stage?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Certainly, when recruits start a course, they are so bombarded with information that they will surely forget about the existence of Veterans Affairs Canada. I know that they get packages of information that they quickly throw into a closet. Perhaps you already do this, but it would be good to include an information sheet on Veterans Affairs Canada. Perhaps it will end up in someone's closet too, but that's another story.
Since I only have nine seconds, I'll keep it for the next round, because I want to talk about universality of service, which is a big topic.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
As to universality of service, a key concept of our Canadian forces, I am supportive of this concept, and I understand the angles. We're not a proletarian army; we're a professional army. Each soldier needs to be able to engage in combat and not just drive a car or whatever.
Is it true, though, that universality of service is a problem in that it creates other problems for veterans?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Gentlemen, thank you for being here this morning. It is very much appreciated.
Thank you for your military service.
Mr. Gaillard, I just wanted to clarify that the RCMP veterans who have access to VAC benefits, programs, and services are the RCMP veterans who have physical or mental injuries. Is it only them? I mean, your normal retirement pension is another story; it's not from the VAC ministry.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That's very interesting. You're answering my second question about whether or not the RCMP is included in the post-2006 new charter. They're not.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I guess the goal was that the invalidité Pension Act would disappear, but it won't disappear because of the RCMP's injured veterans. That's what I understand.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay. Thank you very much.
Mr. Blackwolf or Mr. Burke, you talked about the fact that Veterans Affairs Canada could have an ISO requirement. Could you expand on this thought, please?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Do you think there might be a top-down internal culture in the ministry of denying as much as possible for—
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
As Mr. Jenkins was saying, at the end of your speech you were asking us whether the goal was to save money. I think that yes, of course it is.
I think this has created a big problem in the VAC since we're trying to give help and services to men and women in uniform. We say we honour them; we say they honour the country and serve this nation, but then just like everyone else, they have to enter into this mode of constraint, this money requirement, and everything.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Welcome, Mr. Jarmyn. I am happy to meet you.
It seems to me that the challenges that come before your board are only for the refusal of benefits. Is that the case?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
In those two cases, for the maximum and minimum benefits that a veteran could receive, what are the most common challenges? Based on your observations over the years, what types of benefits have been most often denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs or, at least, the type of benefit that has caused the most problems to veterans?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Why are those six types of benefits denied most often by the department? Is it because it is difficult to prove the injury? How do you explain the fact that those are the types of challenges that keep coming back before your board?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
My question is along the same lines as the others.
At the end of the year, do you submit reports to the Department of Veterans Affairs to advise the department of the benefits that your board most frequently denies regarding a given problem?
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