News

Mandate Letters - 'Deliverology' goes public' - by Randy Stowell

In a few weeks, a second report will attempt to link the government's priorities and actions with metrics that track real-world progress and change. Since coming to office in the fall of 2015, the Liberals have dwelled on a school of thought known as "deliverology <>" — an approach, developed by an advisor <> to Tony Blair's Labour government in the United Kingdom, that aims to prioritize the delivery of policy and the measuring of results. "A lot of energy is placed on announcements — oh, we're investing $20 million in this project. And the follow-up a year later or two years later — to say, well, X number of people have had their lives affected positively by that investment — isn't always part of the operations or philosophies of government," Justin Trudeau said in May 2016 <>, in response to a question about the government's management philosophy. In theory, that would be a useful approach. A "results and delivery" unit has been established in the Privy Council Office and each government department now has a chief results and delivery officer, as well as a chief data officer. With that second report, "deliverology" will go public. Data might be presented on things like child poverty, housing, retirement security, access to broadband internet or boil-water advisories on Indigenous communities.
"The goal is to put as much information out there and data out there as possible, with clarity around goals," said a senior government

CBC link Trudeau's Liberals check their to-do list

100th anniversary of PasschendaeleAt the 100th anniversary of Passchendaele, poppies were being placed on the vets graves by school children, members of the military and of course politicians in remembrance. Pictured below is Jarrott Holtzhauer reading the Act of remembrance at a ceremony at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa with the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence in attendance. The second reader is Jean-Pierre Poirier, also one of our members


This and another photo is available on our Flickr account

Ministers Mandate Letter Commitment ResultFrom: Randy Stowell
 
The public release of Ministers Mandate letters was a new event and there is now a an effort to track results [a political effort that some journalists are asking questions about?]. In any event this  is a start and does add some level of accountability and transparency. Should give the journalists lots to read and reflect upon. Do not see any mention of “Lifetime Annuities/Pensions”?
 
The Prime Ministers office this morning went live on the Mandate Letter Commitment Results. You may have to copy and paste the link in the email title into your browser.
 
Type in "Minister of Veterans Affairs" into the search bar and it will show all those related to VAC.
 
This will serve as a means of tracking the Governments progress against the Ministerial mandate letters.

1. Create two centres of excellence in Veterans Care. (underway - on track )
2. Help injured Veterans by re-establishing life long pensions etc. ( underway - on track )
3. Expand access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance to better support Veterans. ( completed - fully met )
4. Provide injured Veterans with 90% of their pre-release salary and index this benefit to inflation. ( completed - fully met )
5. Create a Veterans Education Benefit. ( underway - on track )
6. Improve career and vocational assistance for Veterans. ( underway - on track )
7. Deliver a higher standard of service and care, and ensure that a “One Veteran, One Standard” approach is up held. ( underway - on track )
8. Support families who are providing care and support to Veterans living with physical and/or mental health issues. ( underway - on track )
9. End the time limit for surviving spouses applying for vocational rehabilitation and assistance services. ( underway - on track )
10. Increase the Veteran’s survivors pension from 50% to 70 %. ( underway - on track )
11. Ensure that surviving spouses of Veterans receive appropriate benefits by eliminating the marriage after 60 claw back. ( underway - on track )
12. Double funding to the Last Post Fund. ( completed - fully met )
13. Reduce complexity and strengthen partnership between National Defence and VAC. ( underway - on track )
14. Help Veterans gain skills to successfully transition to the civilian workforce. ( additional commitment )
15. Implement the Caregiver Recognition Benefit paid directly to Veteran’s caregiver. ( additional commitment )
16. Implement the New Veterans Emergency Fund and Veterans and Family Well-Being Fund. ( additional commitment )
17. Streamline the suite of benefits, improve transparency and communications, and improve the experiences of Veterans as their needs change throughout their lives.                  (additional commitment )
18. Increase the Value of the Disability Award to $360,000.00 ( completed - fully met )
19. Develop a coordinated national action plan on post-traumatic stress disorder. ( underway - on track )
20. Develop a suicide prevention strategy for CAF personnel, and Veterans. ( completed - fully met )

link to Mandate Letter Tracker

Jack Shapka, our Chair Provs and Territories, laying a wreath on behalf of NVOC at the Comox Battle of Britain Ceremony

Lancaster bomber KB882 now at Trenton to be restored

by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

The restoration of Lancaster bomber KB882 can now begin.

The aircraft’s fuselage, engines and propellers arrived at the National Air Force Museum at 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., on Wednesday. The RCAF reports that the wing structures arrived earlier. The aircraft was transported by flatbed truck from Edmundston, New Brunswick.

Ownership of Lancaster bomber KB882 was recently transferred from the City of Edmundston, where it had been a local landmark, to the National Air Force Museum of Canada.

Technicians from the RCAF’s Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) and the National Air Force Museum of Canada dismantled the aircraft.

KB882 symbolizes the more than 50,000 Canadians who served in Bomber Command during the Second World War and the nearly 10,000 who lost their lives, according to the RCAF.

In addition, the aircraft represents the roles that were also conducted by Lancasters during the postwar period; those include contribution to the RCAF’s Arctic patrol activities and aerial photographic work as Canada charted its wilderness.

At Trenton, the aircraft will be restored to her post-war Mark 10 AR (area reconnaissance) configuration with the aid of donations and volunteer efforts. Restoration is expected to take five to seven years. The RCAF has April 1, 2024, as the target date for its unveiling. That will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the service.

When KB882 is on display for public viewing, the National Air Force Museum of Canada will be the only museum in the world to have in its collection a fully restored Handley Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster, the RCAF noted.

Built by Victory Aircraft Ltd. in Malton, Ont., KB882 flew several combat missions over Europe before returning to Canada in 1945. In 1952, the aircraft underwent a major overhaul and conversion to area reconnaissance. Assigned to the photo-reconnaissance role with 408 Squadron at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, in Ottawa, in 1953, KB882 proved instrumental in the mapping and charting of Canada’s Arctic. The aircraft was also used as an electronic and photographic intelligence gathering platform during the Cold War.

Shortly after retirement in 1964, KB882 was sold to the City of Edmundston where it has been displayed at the Edmundston Airport.

Link to the original article with many pictures

The Care and Support Advisory Group Ombudsman’s Report on Long Term CareLinks

Continuum of Care: A Journey from Home to Long Term Care pdf report  website

Continuum de soins :Des soins à domicile aux soins de longue durée pdf  website

CAF/VAC JOINT SUICIDE PREVENTION STRATEGYThis strategy outlines who is identified and cared for. It provides the Principles, Mission, the shared Strategy, and Unique Actions to be taken. It talks about communicating, engaging and educating, building and support, connecting and strengthening through CF families and communities, timely access, and promoting well being. It explains the action being taken by both the CAF AND VAC, and it provides the framework for CAF/VAC action to prevent suicides.

Eng:

Fra:
https://www.canada.ca/fr/ministere-defense-nationale/organisation/rapports-publications/fac-acc-strategie-prevention-suicide.html

VAC Mandate letter (new and the old one) Link to New mandate



National Capital Regions, Military Family Resource Centre  25 September 2017.

Members of the NVOC Board had a tour of the resource centre and they also had their monthly meeting. From left to right the names of the people in the photo are: Caroline Chor (Interim FWS Manager), Heather Cudmore-McCarthy (Welcome and Information Services Coordinator),Jorrott Holtzhauer, Robyn Curry (Deputy Director), Ted Bransfield, Randy Stowell, Wayne Douglas, and Ken Richardson.

Medically unfit for deployment? We'll try to employ you elsewhere, says Canada's top generalThe Canadian military is redesigning itself to make room for troops who may not be "deployable,“ but are still ”employable," the country's top general said.

The remarks by Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of the defence staff, represent a social and cultural sea change for an institution that has been accused of discarding injured members who, in some cases, have begged to continue serving.

Since the release of the Liberal government's new defence policy last spring, Vance has telegraphed that he wants to improve the career prospects of the wounded and that he was open to being more flexible.

Indeed, the often-touted policy itself stipulated that wounded troops would be allowed to remain in uniform "on a case-by-case basis."

But Vance went a step further in his comments at the end of a marathon news conference last week related to the government's suicide-prevention strategy.

"We are in the process of redesigning the force structure of the Armed Forces," he said, noting that post-traumatic stress should not be barrier to serving your country.

"Give someone purpose. And more importantly, remove the automatic-ness, if that's a word, of leaving the Armed Forces simply because you come forward and manifest with a mental health challenge. We have lots of people inside the Armed Forces who are — have — are suffering mental illness, and they carry on."

The universality of service rule

What must be recognized, he said, is "that there are parts of the Armed Forces that we could consider employable but not part of that deployability chain," he said.

The military has long operated under what's known as the universality of service rule, which requires members to be fit and ready to go into the field, at home or overseas, at a moment's notice.

Those who are injured, physically or mentally, are given three years to recover and return to full duty. If they're unable to do so, they are forced out under a medical release.

This became a significant issue in the aftermath of the Afghan war with as many 1,700 troops a year, many of them with post-traumatic stress, being released in a medical category.

The former Conservative government, which insisted in 2013 that troops were not being summarily hustled out the door, faced a barrage of criticism from disaffected soldiers and a public backlash.

Even in the face of a public and political backlash, the universality of service rule remained sacrosanct, and Vance's predecessors refused to budge.

'A broken system'

Preserving the standard is something the current defence chief said he intends to do, but building in flexibility is now a major priority.   

"We must be deployable. We are an armed forces, after all," said Vance. "We have to be able to do what we've got to do. But we also have to think in terms of the value of the individual is not just deployability."

The comments were greeted cautiously by former soldiers, including one who has long campaigned for the military to find alternative positions for wounded combat troops.

Retired corporal Glen Kirkland, who survived a Taliban roadside bomb attack that killed three of his comrades, said he will wait to see how it unfolds.

At the moment, "it is really a broken system," he told CBC News. "And the government is so used to using Band-Aid fixes, it needs to be re-evaluated and start from scratch."

Canada's Battlefield - http://battlefields.ca/The site belongs to Norm Christie, a local battlefield (and more) historian.  The site offers much more than battlefield tours, with links to books, mostly reprints of old out of print journals, histories and diaries, links to videos that Norm has produced for TV series, often seen around Remembrance Week and the tours themselves.  Read more

Operation RENAISSANCE IRMA is the CAF mission to support Hurricane Irma and Maria relief in the Caribbean in support of Global Affairs Canada.

Maritime Task Force

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) St. John’s and its CH-124 Sea King helicopter detachment are helping with relief efforts in Dominica, where it transited after Hurricane Maria. Its crew is on land clearing debris and conducting repairs. The Sea King is delivering water and supplies and transporting personnel. It also conducted four medical evacuations shortly after it arrived.

Before transiting to Dominica, HMCS St. John’s was helping with relief efforts in the Turks and Caicos. There it removed debris, restored  power and water sources, scouted the area, delivered water to locals, and assessed underwater damage.

 

Air Task Force

Two CC-130J Hercules aircraft based out of Barbados are providing airlift support to partner nations. At the request of Jamaica, one of these aircraft is moving the Jamaican Defence Force’s Disaster Assistance Response Team and equipment to Dominica.

At the request of the United States, a CC-177 Globemaster is providing airlift support to American relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

A CP-140 Aurora was also deployed on this operation. Based out of Barbados, it was tasked with capturing imagery of affected areas. Partner nations used this imagery to assess and respond to the aftermath of the hurricanes. The Aurora returned to Canada once it had completed its mission.

Previously, a CC-177 Globemaster supported France by transporting equipment and supplies from Bordeaux to Guadeloupe. As arranged by GAC, on its return flight it flew 66 evacuees and two service dogs from St. Maarten and the Turks and Caicos to Toronto.

Previously, a CC-130J Hercules flew humanitarian supplies from Mississauga to the British Virgin Islands. As arranged by GAC, on its return flight it transported Canadians citizens and government officials to Toronto.

 

Land Task Force

The CAF has also established a liaison and reconnaissance team in Barbados. Its role is to facilitate CAF support to partners in the region.

 

Mission context

In early September 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean. Hurricane Maria followed a few weeks later. These large-scale storms have caused widespread damage and a need for humanitarian aid and relief, including aid workers, fresh water and supplies.


Operation RENAISSANCE IRMA

Image gallery

image1, image2, image3, image4, image5, image6, image7, image8, image9, image10


Who, What, Why: Which countries wear poppies?

BBC new link- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15637074

Message from NVOC president -Randy Stowell

Obama did an upgrade on Nucs...this is a very dangerous situation and I am sorely vexed...
 
  Einstein once said that after a nuclear war the living will envy the dead.....he also said that WW III would be fought with nuclear weapons. WW IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
[ a quote made by our Patron – General Manson at an Ottawa-Gatineau Unit meeting this spring]
 
Executive Summary [August 2017]
The United States maintains an arsenal of about 1,650 <https://fas.org/issues/nuclear-weapons/status-world-nuclear-forces/> strategic nuclear warheads deployed on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), and Strategic Bombers and some 180 tactical nuclear weapons at bomber bases in five European countries. The Departments of Defense and Energy requested approximately $26.8 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 to maintain and upgrade these systems and their supporting infrastructure, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). CBO estimates that nuclear forces will cost $400 billion <https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/52401-nuclearcosts.pdf> between FY 2015 and FY 2024.
An analysis <https://www.armscontrol.org/issue-briefs/2017-08/trillion-half-dollar-triad> by the Arms Control Association of  <https://www.armscontrol.org/issue-briefs/2017-08/trillion-half-dollar-triad>U.S. government budget data projects the total cost over the next 30 years at between $1.25 trillion and $1.46 trillion in then-year dollars, meaning it includes price increases due to inflation.
 
 
COMMENTS:
Important also to recall the President Trump on the campaign trail did not know what the US Military  nuclear “Triad” was.....
 
Note :A nuclear triad refers to the nuclear weapons delivery <> of a strategic nuclear arsenal <> which consists of three components: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles <> (ICBMs), strategic bombers <>, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles <> (SLBMs). The purpose of having a three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation's nuclear forces in a first-strike <> attack; this, in turn, ensures a credible threat of a second strike <>, and thus increases a nation's nuclear deterrence <>. TRIAD powers are the US of A; China; Russia and India.
 
CURIOUS. India completed its nuclear triad with the commissioning of INS Arihant <> in August 2016. INS Arihant is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine armed with 12 K-15 missiles <> with a range of 750 km, which will later be upgraded to K-4 missiles with an extended range of 3500 km.. India maintains a no first use <> nuclear policy and has been developing a nuclear triad capability as a part of its credible minimum deterrence <> doctrine. India's nuclear-weapons program <> possesses surface-to-surface <> missiles such as the Agni III <> and Agni IV <>. In addition, the 5,000–8000 km range Agni-V <> ICBM was also successfully tested and entered  service this year ..India has nuclear-capable fighter aircraft. . Land and air strike capabilities are under the control ofStrategic Forces Command <> which is a part of Nuclear Command Authority <>.

Bill C-27 --An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985

Are you retired ?
And you getting a pension?
Have you heard of Bill getting 3rd Reading on our Pension Plan
Well our pension basic  is going to change - now Govt is going to tie our pensions - as private sector pensions - to the "market"
Where the hell has the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.been on this - educating , advocating, letting pensioners know
Also have not a clue how this affects DND pensioners - presume - repeat presume - the same (I know what they say about "presuming" )
I found our about it 5 minutes ago from a neighbor.
Pass on info plse

Bill C-27 link

General Manson, presented Matt Carson with the Sovereigns Medal. Also attending the presentation was Jane Torrance, a Town Councillor of Almonte

Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers awarded to Doug BruntonAt the North Grenville council meeting on Monday, Aug. 28, Mayor David Gordon awarded Doug Brunton with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

“It is with great honour that I present the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to Doug Brunton,” said Gordon. “The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes the exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians from across the country and celebrates a wide range of volunteering contributions. As an official honour created by the crown, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers is part of the Canadian honour system. This program has incorporated and replaced the Governor General’s Caring Canadian award, which was created in 1995. The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recognizes living Canadians who have made a significant, sustained, and unpaid contribution to their community in Canada or abroad. As we all know, Doug has served his community through various organizations including the North Grenville Community Hospice, the local Police Services Board, and the board of directors of the Ferguson Forest Centre. He has also helped improve the lives and promote the memory of veterans of the Royal Canadian Legion and the NATO Veterans Organization of Canada. Before I give out this award, Doug would like to say something.”

“Thank you, your worship,” Brunton said. “First of all, thank you very much for this presentation. I’d much rather be here, in North Grenville, than in Rideau Hall, so thank you very much.”
Brunton took a minute to recognize the members of his family who were in attendance, including his wife, daughters, and grandchildren. “In front of you, ladies and gentlemen, you’ll see my fellow comrades and members of the NATO Veterans Organization of Canada,” said Brunton. “I want to thank them for their support here this evening. These gentlemen are all veterans, and they’re all former members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Thank you very much for being here tonight.”

Gordon awarded Brunton with the medal, a certificate, and a pen. “Congratulations,” said Gordon. “This man definitely deserves what he’s getting tonight.”

Legion warns public about fraudulent website and Facebook ads

Aug 16, 2017

The Royal Canadian Legion warns members of the public of a fraudulent website that is misrepresenting themselves as the Legion. The website, displaying the Legion logo and VETS Canada logo plus information from the Legion’s national website, features an online ‘Legion Shop’ which sells Poppy items protected under trademark.

Listed as www.legionca.com, this website was widely promoted using Facebook ads, even going so far as to create a bogus Facebook page to draw in supporters. The website is operating illegally and deceiving people into thinking they are supporting the Legion and Veterans through their purchases. Sites such as this may also be used to steal money and personal information with every transaction.

The Legion has reported the website and Facebook pages to the authorities and has taken steps to have the website, Facebook page and ads removed. We encourage anyone who purchased items through the website to contact their financial institution to ensure their credit card and personal information are secure.

Although their motivations are not known, the Legion is shocked and disgusted that our trademarks and goodwill have been used to mislead Canadians and to profit from their support for Veterans.

Canadians are fiercely proud of our Veterans, and the Legion is grateful for their support. We encourage everyone to honour and support Canada’s Veterans by shopping at the Legion’s Poppy Store where proceeds from sales support Legion programs for Veterans.

Did you know you can show your support year-round by becoming a member of the Legion? You don’t have to be a Veteran to join and make a difference!

Federal Court of Appeal Clarifies Test for Veterans’ Entitlement to Disability Pension Benefit

In the recent decision Anne Cole v Attorney General of Canada (2015 FCA 119, Ryer J.A., concurring reasons by Gauthier J.A.), the Federal Court of Appeal clarified part of the test for establishing a veteran's entitlement to a disability pension. The case also confirmed that entitlement decisions of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (the "VRAB") that engage discrete points of law are to be reviewed by the courts on the less deferential correctness standard. Paragraph 21(2)(a) of the Pension Act states that for military service in peace time, if a veteran suffers a "disability resulting from an injury or disease or an aggravation thereof that arose out of or was directly connected with such military service, a pension shall, on application, be awarded…" Where there are both military and non-military direct causes of a condition, we know now that a veteran need only show that the military service factors were a significant, not primary, cause in order to satisfy that portion of the test for entitlement. 

This decision holds significant precedential value for the VRAB and Federal Court, as there were differing approaches being taken at both levels. It will also be particularly helpful for veterans making applications in relation to mental health illnesses as the causes of these illnesses are rarely one-dimensional and straightforward. Read more

CBC Report on Veterans Appeal Board

Veterans may appeal for benefits again after temporary adjudicators denied them

Read more

Board Member positions - Notice of Opportunity

As you may know, the Veterans Review and Appeal Board recently welcomed seven new and six returning Members appointed by the Governor in Council, including four Canadian Armed Forces Veterans, three RCMP Veterans, and seven women.
We continue to accept applications from candidates with military or other relevant experience
who meet the selection criteria and are interested in serving on the Board. Applications must be made online via the advertised process before the closing date of July 31, 2017.

To this end, I would appreciate your support in circulating this link broadly within your organization and the Veterans’ community.

Yours truly, 

Tom Jarmyn, CD

Chair / Président
Veterans Review and Appeal Board


Helping Veterans find good, well-paying jobs

News Release

From Employment and Social Development Canada

Veterans Review and Appeal Board - Spring Update

Thomas Jarmyn, the chairman of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, attended an NVOC Board Meeting last fall. He took questions and outlined his hopes for the future development of the Review Board. The information that has been provided should give our members some information about the Veterans Review Board, how it functions, and what it hopes to accomplish in the near future.

As we move into a new fiscal year, I would like to update you on a few items the Board is working on to provide Veterans and their families with a fair and timely appeal process for disability benefits.

 Hearings and Decisions

In 2016-17, the Board continued to provide applicants with timely access to hearings and decisions. As soon as representatives told us their cases were ready, we were able to schedule, hear and decide 97% of Reviews and 96% of Appeals within 12 weeks – one month faster than our service commitment of 16 weeks. Within this timeframe, we issued 87% of Review decisions and 88% of Appeal decisions within our 6-week service standard (which measures the time from hearing to decision). More workload statistics will be available in our 2016-17 Annual Report to be released later this summer.

 Briefing of new Chief of Military Personnel

In March, the Board was very pleased to host Lieutenant-General C.A. Lamarre, the new Chief of Military Personnel, for a briefing and tour of our operations in Charlottetown. We appreciated the time he spent with us and his engagement in learning about the appeal process. It remains the Board’s priority to raise awareness of appeal rights among serving personnel, and to underline how important it is for them to document events in service and to seek treatment for injuries.

 Departmental Plan

I encourage you to read the Board’s first Departmental Plan, a new simplified report that replaces the Report on Plans and Priorities to provide parliamentarians and Canadians with information about our work and goals for the upcoming year. Our plan for 2017-18 outlines new and ongoing initiatives that will help us provide Veterans and their families with excellent service while ensuring they receive all the benefits they are entitled to under law.

 Reducing Our Reliance on Paper

The Board continues to conduct pilots to test new procedures that will reduce our reliance on paper and eliminate the mailing of documents between our operations in Charlottetown and hearing locations across Canada. This, in turn, will allow us to process Veterans’ files more efficiently and faster. As part of this initiative, we are also working on giving Veterans access to their hearing documentation (known as the Statement of Case) through their My VAC Account. This way, Veterans will no longer have to rely on their representative to provide them with a copy.

 Spotlight on Plain Language and Communications

We continue to make plain language writing a priority, so that our decisions and communications are clear and easy to understand. In 2016-17, the Board updated its information brochure for applicants and will be sending you copies for your use later this Spring/Summer.

 Another exciting project we completed in the last quarter of 2017 was the production of four informational videos which will be published on our website shortly. The main video explains who we are and what we do, and portrays a Review hearing – so that applicants know what to expect ahead of time. The other three address the Appeal hearing, evidence requirements, and decision-making. These videos will be an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the Board.

 Publishing Decisions

We continue to publish our decisions online to fulfill our obligations under the open court principle, so that Veterans can see how the Board applies the law in cases similar to their own. There are now more than 6,000 decisions available, which are searchable by key word. Please help us to promote this important resource among your members.

 Membership Notes

As you know, Board members who hear and decide cases for Veterans are appointed by the Governor in Council (GIC) on recommendation from the Minister of Veterans Affairs. Interested Canadians were invited to apply on a selection process for new members through the GIC website last November. Since then, the Board has been working with the Privy Council Office to finalize the process.

 There is also an anticipatory member selection process underway, to help us fulfill our membership needs into the future. The deadline for applications is July 31, 2017, with more information on the Governor in Council Appointments website. Please share this link with your members to help us get the word out about these opportunities.

 

 

If you have any questions or concerns about the Board, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am always interested in talking to you, or in meeting with you here in Charlottetown or in your location. Feel free to share this update with your members, and encourage them to follow us on Twitter for regular information about the Board’s activities.

Canadian Forces to facilitate transition to civilian life

GLORIA GALLOWAY - The Globe and Mail - Apr. 12, 2017

The Chief of the Defence Staff is planning to create a branch of human-resource professionals within the military that would be dedicated to helping retiring soldiers, sailors and aviators step more easily into civilian life.

One of the most difficult problems facing the Canadian Forces in recent years has been the uneven, and often jarring, process for discharging personnel.

That is especially true for members of the military who are forced out of their jobs as a result of a service-related injury and sometimes have to wait unreasonable amounts of time for the benefits that will cover their basic expenses. But even uninjured veterans, reservists in particular, have waited months for their first pension cheques. And the psychological impact of taking off a uniform for the last time can be severe.

General Jonathan Vance told a Senate committee on Wednesday he has plans to make the transition out of the military more seamless.

His plans include the re-establishment of a defunct branch of the Armed Forces called the personnel administration branch and the eventual disbandment of the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU), which was created during the war in Afghanistan to deal with the needs of ill and injured soldiers and now performs many of the discharge functions.

“We will change our approach from that which is provided by the current JPSU and staff an organization that will exist across the country and provide expertise and direct support to those members who are retiring, regardless of what the reason is for why they are retiring,” Gen. Vance told the senators.

The intent is to put the job of transition into the hands of trained human-resource experts and to ensure that no member leaves the forces without all of their paperwork completed, the general said. In fact, he later told reporters, he would like no member of the military to leave the forces until their first pension cheque is ready to be mailed.

The time it takes to process a military pension improved last year when the public service took over the job. Now, 96 per cent of all retiring members of the Canadian Armed Forces who complete their paperwork on time are getting their cheques within a month, Gen. Vance said.

He said while the new branch would initially be involved with the transition, it could later expand to perform other human resources functions.

But much more could be done to make the retirement process easier and to improve the lives of veterans, he said. “It’s a truism that if you leave well, content, satisfied, looking back on your career, then you will provide more of a positive reinforcement to those who wish to join,” Gen. Vance said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr in their mandate letters to create a “seamless transition” from the military to Veterans Affairs.

And both the Military ombudsman and the Veterans Affairs ombudsman have said this must be a priority.

That could mean allowing injured military personnel who no longer meet the universality of service rule, which requires them to be ready to deploy anywhere at any time, to stay in uniform longer, Gen. Vance said.

At the moment, they have three years from the date they are told they must leave the forces to the date they must be out the door. But some people with reduced physical capacity can, on a temporary basis, still do some of the jobs in the Armed Forces that need to be done, Gen. Vance said. “So I am looking into that.”

At the same time, he said, those members also must be fully aware that their primary mission is to prepare for the transition and to take part in any rehabilitation and acquire any skills or education they will need to succeed as civilians.

“Many of our policies underpinning how we manage our people are decades old or they have their basis ideas in decades-old ideas about modern human-resource management and personnel management in an armed forces. They are out of date,” Gen. Vance said.

“We need to take a more individualized and customized approach to someone’s transition.

To Perley Rideau Staff, Volunteers, Residents, Family and Friends,I am writing to inform you that today Veterans Affairs Canada issued a media
release announcing the creation of a 25-bed program at Perley Rideau to
provide long-term beds for Veterans who were not previously covered for
long-term care.
As you are aware, we have advocated for this change for a long time to
address the natural decline in War Service Overseas Veterans who now call
Perley Rideau home.
This specialized unit -- as designated by the province -- emerges from a
partnership between the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, the
Champlain Local Health Integration Network, Veterans Affairs Canada and The
Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre. Thanks goes out to our partners
and stakeholders, including the Royal Canadian Legion and the Perley Rideau
Foundation, for promoting the expansion of long-term care to more of
Canada’s Veterans.
This unique designation was earned as a result of decades of outstanding
care and the creation of a stimulating social environment provided by the
entire Perley Rideau Community. It is a privilege to serve our Veterans and
you show it in your actions each day.
To qualify for this new unit, the definition of "Veteran" has been greatly
expanded and covers more of the Veterans who served in the Second World War
and Korean War along with Veterans who wore the uniform after the Korean
War.
War Service Overseas Veterans will not be bumped in this process. This unit
will have its own distinct waiting list that will be managed by CCAC.
This is terrific news for Canada's Veterans and a success for all parties
involved and we plan to formally thank everyone later this year.
I am proud to say that some of these new Veterans have already moved into
the Perley Rideau including one Veteran who was a long-serving volunteer and
served as the chair of the Perley Rideau Foundation.
CBC TV, radio and print will share our story today and I hope we will
attract additional media attention in the days ahead.
I want to let everyone know that this good news doesn't mean we will be
taking a step back to the days when the 250 Veterans were young and the
average stay was measured in years. This news only reinforces our commitment
to make the necessary changes so that Perley Rideau is seen as an innovative
care provider to seniors and Veterans in the Ottawa region and that we are
indispensable to the health system.
I thank everyone for your support and patience during these times of change
and I look forward to formally celebrating this new unit at an event in the
cafeteria later this spring.
We will add a new page to the homepage of our website (perleyrideau.ca)
‎providing information to Veterans and their families specific to this news
and I invite all of you to share this terrific news.
Have a great day,
Akos Hoffer, CEO, The Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre

Veterans Information Session Veterans, the RCMP and their families are invited to attend a free veterans' benefits and VRAB Information Session.
 Seating is limited. Register here now: 
      https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/veterans-affairs-benefits-vrab-information-session-tickets-32801174195?aff=es2

Canada's NATO BrigadeHarold A. Skaarup's website opens on 4CMBG with a lot of photos, crests and pics/bios of commanders.  The right hand side of the site provides links to a number of other photo collections of interest to those who like military kit.

Link : http://silverhawkauthor.com/4-canadian-mechanized-brigade-group-canadian-forces-europe_366.html

Government of Canada Increases Financial Support for Veterans

The link below was released by Veterans Affair Canada March 16.

If you received a disability cash award since 2006 I strongly recommend you read all the material in the release.

This is a result of the 2016 election promises made by the Liberal Government.

https://www.canada.ca/en/veterans-affairs-canada/news/2017/03/government_of_canadaincreasesfinancialsupportforveterans.html

The Veterans Transition NetworkThe Veterans Transition Network, is currently hosting a series of sessions aimed at guiding veterans with Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) through the transition process by focusing on counselling and peer support.

Though the organization is national, this current series of sessions, entitled the Men’s Manitoba Veterans Transition Program, is being held in Manitoba. This session, and others like it, are held across the country, several times throughout the year.

The program is a ten-day retreat with four to six veteran participants. The current session is being held on the weekends of Feb. 17, March 3 and March 10.

The retreat is led by two clinicians who are experienced in working with the military and trauma populations. They then receive additional training from VTN. These clinicians are supplemented by two paraprofessionals, veterans who have previously gone through the program.

At its core, the program is aimed at providing peer support and counselling.

“We really want to be a military peer-to-peer program, as well, because those that have been there know most about it. So, having that support system is really important to us,” said Jenna Bind, Operations Coordinator Western Canada, VTN.

The retreat gives the veterans a chance to speak about their shared experiences and the traumatic events that have shaped them.

“Because they're working with other veterans, and they have that support network, they are able to open up quite quickly on these weekends; sometimes, more so than in some longer term counselling where they're alone or working with someone not specialized in working with military population,” added Bind.

The veterans are given tools and taught strategies on communication, especially in the civilian world, goal setting for the future and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)/OSI management techniques.

The sessions are broken up by several weeks in between to allow the participants time to practice the learned skills and come back and discuss their experiences.

The organization has been looking to expand in Manitoba for some time now. So far, VTN has held three programs in Manitoba over the last few years, mostly expanding through word-of-mouth. Those who have attended, attest to the impact the program can make.

“One of the veterans that I talked to, he’s a paraprofessional now, what it [the program] did for him, [was that] he was able to take something that happened to him, that was really hard, and it’s still there, but he was able to kind of put it on a shelf, and he can look at it now and say: ‘those things happened, and they were terrible, but I accept it. I accept where I was in it.’ And he can look at it now without making him feel anxiety, without making him feel depressed, without making him have that emotional response that makes him closed off to the world,” explained Bind.

VTN covers the cost of transportation, lodging, and food for its participants.

“We really want to have it accessible to everybody. We don’t want someone’s location or financial situation to prevent them from our attending our programs,” noted Bind.

According to Bind, the attendees of these retreats often form life changing relationships, an experience all veterans should have.

“We all deserve to have a high quality of life, and we all have baggage and things we are carrying, especially in the military; but when you transition out of the military your support systems and network around you are often lost a fair bit, and it can be hard to regain that and kind of find your footing. So, whether you just have a bit some anxiety or are facing some challenging issues a program like this can really bring you into the fold of a group of people that really understand what you're going through and give you that support,” said Bind.

The next Men’s Manitoba Veterans Transition Program is scheduled for sometime in June.

VTN holds similar retreats across the country. To see the dates for upcoming events check out the schedule on the VTN website .

For more information about Manitoba’s programs email west@vtncanada.org

There has been progress ... but is it enough?

Ottawa, ON - February 27, 2017

My goal is to ensure fairness for Veterans. We make recommendations, informed by evidence, to improve the quality of life for Veterans and their families. Today I have posted a status update, on all the recommendations made by my Office since its inception. To date, we have made 57 recommendations and, of these, the Government has fully or partially implemented 37, leaving 20 still to be addressed.

The Government is making progress addressing Veterans’ issues. For example, some of the announcements in Budget 2016—increasing the Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB) to 90 percent of pre-release salary and increasing the Disability Award to $360 K—will have an impact on the lives of many Veterans and their families.

But is it enough? No, more still needs to be done.

I encourage you to look at the full status update on my recommendations.

Budget 2017 is an excellent opportunity for the Government to take additional action. Let’s keep a watchful eye on it. I know I will.

Guy

Will Budget 2017 Help Veterans?

This text was authored by Guy Parent, Veterans Ombudsman, and originally published in The Hill Times on Monday, February 20, 2017.

A year ago in The Hill Times, I challenged the status quo to “go beyond today’s ideas and shape tomorrow by clearly defining Veterans’ outcomes – the end results that we want to achieve – and figure out the steps needed to attain optimal results for Veterans and their families.”  

A year later, with Budget 2017 on the horizon, have we made progress and begun to clearly define the results that we want to achieve for Veterans and their families?   

I believe that Budget 2016 improvements are making a positive difference in the lives of Veterans and their families. But, I also believe that there is still much to do.

To add perspective to this viewpoint, I recently conducted a review of the Government’s response to the recommendations made by my Office since its inception.

Out of the 57 recommendations that were developed in collaboration with Veterans’ advocates and organizations, 37 have been fully or partially implemented and 20 are waiting to be addressed. Six of the items in the Minister of Veterans Affairs’ Mandate Letter are based on my recommendations, and three of these were addressed in Budget 2016 – increasing the Earnings Loss Benefit to 90 percent and the Disability Award to $360,000, as well as changes to the Last Post Fund.

There are still outstanding recommendations that would make a significant impact on the lives of Veterans and their families should they be implemented:

  • Retroactive reimbursement of treatment benefits for Veterans, covered under the New Veterans Charter, while they are waiting for a decision from Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC);
  • Adequate compensation for primary caregivers of seriously disabled Veterans;
  • The overlap between SISIP and VAC income support and rehabilitation programs creates unnecessary confusion and needs to be addressed; and
  • The implementation of a Veterans ID card. (I hear about this from Veterans at my outreach events and town halls. After five years, VAC is only now exploring options.)

I would also like to see action on:

  • Closing the seam for our serving members as they transition from military to civilian life;
  • Reducing the complexity of VAC programs and services;
  • Improving VAC’s service delivery approach; and
  • Increasing the financial well-being of Veterans so that they have enough money to meet their needs if they can’t work because of their service, and if they can work, to adequately compensate for their pain and suffering. 

So, when it comes to Budget 2017, I hope it will address several of the outstanding recommendations that came from the collective work effort of the Veterans’ community over the past several years.

My fellow Veterans and I know that there will be many competing priorities for funds in the upcoming Budget. Veterans have earned Canadians’ respect and gratitude for their service – including putting their lives on the line for Canada – and deserve the best care and support that we can give. We will be watching to see if Budget 2017 ensures better results for Veterans and their families.

Guy Parent
Veterans Ombudsman

http://ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/blog/post/343

Letters of Support for 150th medal

From : Don Ethell, Col (ret) OC, OMM, KStJ, AOE, MSC, CD
Former Lieutennt Governor of Alberta (2010-2015)

Dear MPs et al

I write to you to express my displeasure and disappointment in the alleged decision by the Minister of Culture, Madam Melanie Joly who apparently has stated that there will be no issue of a 150 medal honouring our 150th anniversary.

 I find that decision – by a relatively newly elected MP, and junior Minister to make such an autocratic decision without any consultation with Canadians – to be appalling.  We Canadians, including many, many veterans and serving members have been justifiably proud of these medals, including the 100th and 125th) – and think Canadians should be so recognized for the 150th.

 I’m also advised that allegedly the Cdn Mint no longer produces medals, apparently due to cost savings, and as such if a medal was authorized that it would have to be produced ‘off-shore”.  Once again, this information is incorrect as we have an outstanding Foundry in Gatineau PQ (owner Joe Drouin, a retired Sgt-Major from the R22eR (Van Doos).  Joe has produced many-a-medal and serves as the epitome of excellence.  Additionally there is another Foundry in Edmonton which could produce medals and replicas.

 I solicit your support in contacting your Federal colleagues in an effort to change Madam Joly’s appalling edict.

 Further, to me it is very surprising that neither the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Kent Hehr, nor the Minister of Defence the Honourable Harjit Sarjjan, OMM, MSC, CD have expressed their displeasure of Madam Joly’s announcement– at least publicly.  They are supposed to represent us.

 Please advise

 I remain your obedient servant,

 Don Ethell, Col (ret) OC, OMM, KStJ, AOE, MSC, CD

--------------------------

From: Dave W. Palmer, CD, KStG

Subject: Re: I solicit your support in contacting your Federal colleagues in an effort to change Madam Joly’s appalling edict.

     I wholeheartedly concur with Colonel Ethell's position on the Canada 150 Medal and the fact that it was well underway to becoming a medal until after the election in the fall of 2015 and it was abruptly cancelled! That is like cancelling tradition and the opportunity to honour thousands of Canadians, most who have had significant roles in building this nation and many who will not be with us in another 25 years when Canada celebrates its 175th anniversary. What a golden opportunity to leave many Canadian families with a lasting legacy to be handed down from generation to generation to have family medals that show the importance and significance the Canada 150-Medal would illustrate for those that have contributed in many ways to this great nation and to the many thousands of veterans who have done what most Canadians will never do, and that is to volunteer to serve.

     I am sure that the Former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, retired Colonel Don Ethell, OC, OMM, KStJ, AOE, MSC, CD,  can most definitely appreciate the frustrations of thousands and thousands of Canadians and veterans who for a decade have dreamed of being formerly acknowledged and honoured for volunteerism as were their ancestors. In recent years as many of you know our Commonwealth allies, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand have all issued honours for their veterans going retroactive some 60 or more years to 1945, but not Canada.

     Our veterans, many who at one time or another may have even served longer than their ancestors of yester-century, but still have not a single medal to wear for their conviction to volunteer. These long established traditions to recognize and honour worthy acts and decisions to volunteer a portion of one's life in service to their nation are hardly routine. Yet that is what responses to the efforts to get our veterans a volunteer medal are being indicated, and this is a slight to our ancestors who did received a volunteer medal . . .  more or less saying their volunteerism was routine and unworthy. Volunteerism by our veterans of yesteryear, yesterday and today is no less significant than that of our ancestors and is is wrong to say it is. 

Warmest and sincerest regards, God Bless our veterans and our troops and their families.

I support the Canada 150-Medal and have always fought for the revival of the Canadian Military Volunteer Service Medal (CMVSM) for our veterans and our troops.

Yours too in remembrance of those that volunteer to serve,

Dave W. Palmer, CD, KStG

 

Mandatory Registration for Vimy 100th Commemorative Ceremony in France

As you know, April 9, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Government of Canada will mark this anniversary and commemorate the sacrifices of the First World War with a ceremony on April 9, 2017 at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France as well as at events across Canada.

Safety and security are paramount to this ceremony, therefore registration is mandatory. If you do not register in advance, you will be denied access to the site. Registration ends on February 28, 2017 or earlier if capacity has been reached.

 If you plan to attend the ceremony in France, we encourage you to register without delay. Attendees will need to provide a printed copy of their official e-ticket and government-issued identification, such as passport or drivers license, on the day of the event.

 Accommodations in the area are already heavily booked. We strongly recommend that you reserve your accommodations as soon as possible.

For planning purposes, there will be site restrictions between April 1 and 10, 2017 at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial due to event preparations. Visitors should note that the site will be closed April 6 to April 9. The site will reopen on April 10 at 9:00 am with restricted access.

To register, please follow the instructions found at: Vimy 100 Registration. If you have questions about the registration process, please email VAC.Vimy2017.ACC@vac-acc.gc.ca or call 1-866-522-2122.

For more information about the commemorative events, please visit Canada.ca/vimy-100 regularly as information will be updated as it becomes available.

For information about traveling to France, please visit Global Affairs Canada's Travel Advice and Advisories page for France.

 We will do our best to keep you information about events happening across Canada.



Direct Deposit Payment Statement for their Canadian Armed Forces Pensions. 

Veterans have just recently received their Direct Deposit Payment Statement for their Canadian Armed Forces Pensions. In at least two cases, under the PSHCP-RSSFP box an error has been recorded. On my statement it reads $9.64 instead of $96.40. If you use your health care premium as a deduction for income tax, you will have to contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre at PO Box 9500, Matane QC. G4W 0H3, to have them correct this statement. 


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