Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Vice-Chair.
Mr. Walbourne and Ms. Hynes, it's very good to see you here.
I would like to start with the joint personnel support unit. This is directly in your branch, as the ombudsman of DND.
Am I wrong or right that there are two end results possible with JPSU? You either rehabilitate through the services or you get out of the army. My understanding is that we keep it as an unknown end, for the most part. It's not clear from the beginning. But should there be a diagnosis right at the beginning that this member will most probably never come back and thus we should engage right away in filling in the forms and getting ready for the release? That way, as soon as the two years end, the benefits would start coming in and the services would start right away.
I might be wrong, but it seems to me like there's an unknown waiting time.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay. Did you ever hear any comments on the VAC and the DND staff? Do they work closely together? How is the relationship? Do you have anything to say about that in the JPSU?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Do you think the JPSU should not be on the base? As Madam Lockhart said, it was a problem for many in the military to go to the base.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
What's the percentage of army recruits in a year who will eventually be medically released? Do you have any numbers on that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I'm not sure if it's part of your mandate, but do you believe we should invest more in service delivery or in benefits? The $3.7-billion retroactive for disability awards could have been used for service delivery, processing or enhancing that service delivery window. What's your opinion?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I've read your brief many times, and you talked to me about it a little, but I still have a hard time understanding why the medical corps has an ethical problem with putting on paper that the injuries are related to the service.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Bungay, Mr. Garsch, Mr. Estabrooks and Mr. Doucette, thank you for being here.
We, as committee members, are fully aware of the courage it takes to come here and share with us your personal stories, so thank you very much for taking the energy to do this. For us, you're very precious as witnesses today because I think you all are doing something right now in life that puts you in contact with a lot of veterans each day, every day, so I have some general questions that I would like all of you to answer, one after the other. Maybe we can start each time with Mr. Doucette.
Because you hear veterans every single day of your life and hear their problems and concerns, can you please tell me what, according to you—because here we're studying service delivery, so sometimes we have to ask specific questions on that—is the number-one problem with service delivery, that is to say, from what you've heard?
Monsieur Doucette, please.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Bungay, would you say that the delay-and-deny response is based on reality, or that it's more perception?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Would you say it's based on a problematic administrative process, or on some intentional workings?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Garsch, what is the number-one problem with service delivery?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Bungay, if I correctly understood, you said there are two problems with the JPSU. First, it's on the base. Second, they are closed-minded; for example, they don't accept your services.
Now the question is for everyone, starting with Monsieur Doucette, please. What's wrong with JPSU, besides those two things?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Estabrooks, what would you add that is wrong with the JPSU?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you all for being here with us today.
To the Veterans Transition Network, I visited your installation in Vancouver when I was there last May.
I am very pleased that representatives from the Maison de la Vigile came to meet with the committee. I live near the Maison de la Vigile in Quebec City and I can say that you are doing a great job. Thank you very much.
We may have to interrupt you sometimes because we have a number of questions for you. Do not be taken aback by that.
Inevitably, you work with veterans very often. In fact, you work with them every day and I imagine that many of them express their discontent, rightly or wrongly, with case managers and with the way the Department of Veterans Affairs operates.
What do you think of the administrative process and the organizational practices of Veterans Affairs Canada? What is your relationship with case managers? How do you see the department’s way of operating? Are the administrative processes followed properly? Are there things that need to be replaced?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You say that veterans talk to you. I am not blaming the department but, very often, veterans complain to the committee that their relationships with the department are quite horrible. Those are usually complicated cases.
What are the comments you most often hear from veterans about the problems they are experiencing, about the documents they have to complete and, in some cases, about the transition steps they need to take?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Are you and your colleagues prepared to help veterans to fill in forms or do paperwork?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Along those lines, do you believe that it would be a good idea for the department to fill in forms for veterans or, conversely, do you believe that it is good to leave that task to them, even those with sometimes complex mental health issues?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Your document points out that veterans’ family members do not necessarily have easy access to the department’s case managers. This committee has, on several occasions, come across that problem of family members’ lack of access to case managers. Does that complaint come up often?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Speaking of La Vigile’s services, at what point do you feel that they really should be available on a broad scale? Clearly, there is a need. Is the department having discussions with you about possibly expanding your services?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Can a member of the family call you to say that someone needs your services, for example?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to thank the three witnesses with us here today.
Wearing a uniform in Montreal is not easy, but it is not as difficult in Quebec City.
My first question is for Ms. Spinks.
Your institute deals not only with veterans' families, is that correct?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
In families other than veterans' families, have you seen the same kind of symptoms and crises as in veterans' families?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much but, unfortunately, due to time constraints, I have to move on to my second question.
When you talk to veterans' families, what are the three recurring problems they face with respect to service delivery?
You may also wish to provide your answers in writing and by email.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
Ms. Lowther, you said you are constantly dealing with veterans in crisis. What type of crisis do you see most often?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
We always hear about the delay-and-deny culture inside VAC, and that happens wherever I go to meet veterans, in whatever province. Is this based on a false impression? Is it based on incomprehension on the part of our veterans in terms of how the system is working? Is it because of their PTSD? According to you, is it true that in some cases there is a delay-and-deny culture?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Ms. Lowther, when you said that policy proposals are above your pay grade, it's not true. Policy proposal belongs to all Canadians, so if you have some, there's an email and there's a clerk here.
Colonel Mann, I will have to move along very quickly, unfortunately.
Even if the culture of denial at Veterans Affairs is a myth, it seems that the trust has been broken.
Do you think the members of our committee are influenced by the people they meet who are in complex situations, people who are in a state of panic or crisis? Do you think the vast majority of veterans believe in that myth?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Hello, Mr. Saez. I am very pleased to have you with us today.
A few months ago, I attended a Veterans' Review and Appeal Board hearing. I was impressed by the passion shown by the lawyer defending the veteran's case. Quite clearly, their heart is in the right place.
Your office was created in 1971. I would like to know how many lawyers you had on staff at that time.
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