How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

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How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Teentitan on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 10:56

Ottawa, ON - October 29, 2015



This text was authored by Guy Parent, Veterans Ombudsman, and originally published in the November 2015 issue of The Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health.

There is nothing more powerful than freeing the facts. Facts arrived at by rigorous research and evidence-based analysis generate and focus debate. They empower citizens and enhance citizen engagement with government. This combined effect cannot easily be ignored, and it creates the conditions needed to shape public policy.

My time as Veterans Ombudsman coincides with the birth of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR). In fact, the first event that I attended after becoming Veterans Ombudsman on November 11, 2010, was the inaugural Military and Veteran Health Research Forum in Kingston, Ontario, hosted by Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada. At the end of the Forum, the idea of CIMVHR was born. Under the leadership of Dr. Alice Aiken and Dr. Stephanie Belanger in 2010–2011, Forum members quickly began to engage academic research resources across Canada to fill in the national research gaps in relation to the health of Canadian military personnel, Veterans, and their families.

Around the same time, my team and I at the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman (OVO) decided to adopt a two-step approach to address systemic issues of unfairness to Veterans and their families. The first step involved the research, collection, and publication of a review of the data and information available with respect to a particular systemic issue – including information that is often challenging for someone outside of government to obtain. The second step was the release of a report with recommendations securely anchored by research and evidence-based analysis.

This approach was grounded in the belief that only the facts can cut through the suppositions that often divide Veterans and their families, Veterans’ organizations, other stakeholders, and Veterans Affairs Canada. By initially providing all stakeholders with the same information in a review that the OVO used as its starting point to conduct its analysis and formulate its recommendations in a report, we hoped to educate and create an environment for informed debate. Then, when the report was published, the focus would shift to the analysis and recommendations for improvement because the data had already been presented and discussed.

We first put this model into practice in 2012 in preparation for the parliamentary review of the New Veterans Charter. Before releasing Improving the New Veterans Charter: The Parliamentary Review, we began an extensive research and consultation effort, knowing that we had to present facts to help the various stakeholders find common ground. After the publication of our review in spring 2013, it quickly became the foundation for all analysis and discussion on the subject.

The review was followed in August 2013 by our report Investing in Veterans’ Vocational Training and Improving the New Veterans Charter: The Report in October 2013 with evidence-based recommendations that addressed shortcomings in three New Veterans Charter program areas: financial support, vocational rehabilitation and assistance, and family support. Also, for the first time, our recommendations were supported by an actuarial analysis that compared financial benefits between the Pension Act and the New Veterans Charter and pinpointed exactly how the charter was failing Veterans.

Our efforts and the determination of the Veterans’ community as a whole to have the New Veterans Charter opened up for parliamentary review in its entirety resulted in Government of Canada action in fall 2013 and a full review of the Charter began by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. By making our research public and tying our recommendations to solid evidence-based analysis, we were able to shape public policy.

Three years after we started, the government made substantive changes to the New Veterans Charter that addressed many of our concerns with the adequacy, sufficiency, and accessibility of benefits. Although I am not suggesting that the results are solely because of the work of the OVO – because many other stakeholders were pursuing the same goal – I believe that our work focused the debate and created common ground to allow many voices to work together collaboratively. When stakeholders had the facts and analysis in their hands, they began to develop one shared message, and the discourse began to change. The debate moved from what needed to be done to how the change should be made. No one was quibbling about the facts. (For more details on my experience, please read My Five Years as Veterans Ombudsman: Narrowing the Gap for Veterans and Their Families.)

Today, CIMVHR’s pan-Canadian network of academic partners is in a unique and influential position to have a real and positive effect on the lives of Veterans and their families. The challenge is to conduct more Canadian research and evidence-based analysis on issues of concern for military members, Veterans, and their families. Unfortunately, we often see the results of foreign research and analysis indiscriminately being considered applicable to Canada, but we need to understand the Canadian context to find Canadian solutions for Canadian problems.

In the next three years, my office will be pursuing several initiatives in which research and evidence-based analysis is needed to inform our work. These will include Veterans’ health care needs, Veterans’ family support, Royal Canadian Mounted Police programs and benefits, non-economic compensation for pain and suffering, transition from military to civilian life, and Veteran-centric service delivery. We are more than willing to share our research and evidence-based analysis with you and hope that you are open to a reciprocal relationship of knowledge sharing with us.

From my perspective, CIMVHR has a vital leadership role to play in freeing the facts. It is important that Canada continues to increase its stock of knowledge on Veterans and their families and go beyond to produce new knowledge. In addition, we need to deepen our understanding of the full spectrum of Veterans’ issues to better identify their interrelationships. We can lay the groundwork for the future by building strong, sustainable relationships now.

The importance of our investment in Veterans should never be underestimated. It was one of the main driving forces that re-energized and rebuilt Canadian society after World War II. Many of the social benefits that we take for granted today were influenced by Canadian Veterans’ benefits, including universal health care, vocational retraining, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation housing programs, business development loans, publicly funded legal aid, income support for the needy, and home care. In fact, today, investing in Veterans continues to be a most valuable investment that affects the socio-economic fabric of our workforce and our communities. The more Veterans can transfer their leadership abilities and military-acquired skill sets into civilian occupations and life, the better off we are as a country.

When you consider the role that Veterans’ benefits played after World War II in “dramatically expanding the country’s academic infrastructure,” as noted by Peter Neary, PhD, Chair of the Veterans Affairs Canada Canadian Forces Advisory Council in the publication The Origins and Evolution of Veterans Benefits in Canada 1914-2004, what better way to commemorate the sacrifice of our Veterans than to conduct the research and analysis needed to improve the health, quality of life and care of Veterans and their families.

So I say to you, go for it and continue to free the facts!

http://www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/eng/blog/post/298
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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Guest on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 11:46

Teen when I read this I see bla bla bla and research do you know what that means to most of us their wasting more money. some buddy else is getting paid to study veterans while veterans are not we have been telling these daft "p" the problem for the past ten years. put a veteran in there suffering osi and the problem will be fixed by the end of the day. The over educated are just that over educated and not qualified to fix our problem because they over analyze everything.

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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Teentitan on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 11:57

wild thing I understand what you are saying but unfortunately that is not the way Government works because it would be to logical and would cause a lot of layoffs for civil servants. Not just the OVO but all of government!

You have to remember bureaucrats wrote the NVC so the only way to change/improve is to do these reports.

Reports is the only thing bureaucrats understand. Facts and numbers. Commone sense and human emotions are an absolute non-starter with them.
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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Guest on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 12:07

Yes and while they do that veterans are having a hard time feeding their family's and undeserving people are receiving 100's of thousands a year in salary's that could be helping these men and women and they wonder why we get mad.

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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Guest on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 12:12

teen said

Reports is the only thing bureaucrats understand. Facts and numbers. Commone sense and human emotions are an absolute non-starter with them.

and this is true very true .

but id like to add there is something to be said for seeing what obviously needs to be done right from the get go and just doing it .

wright the legislation pass the legislation implement the legislation telling the bureaucrats to catch the frack up and we will send you a report if and when we feel like it .

and im hoping this is what we will see transpire sooner than later .

propat

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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Guest on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 12:17

true wildthig for a lot of the obvious problems and solutions anyway even the complicated ones where a report or even multiple reports already exist.

propat

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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Teentitan on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 12:39

If you look at the blog from a different angle, yes he talks about reports but Parent brought a very important group into the conversation.....CIMVHR

Canadian Institute of Military Veteran Health Reseach

This is a world wide group of Universities and it is rolling fast and getting some "cred".

One of the most complicated ways to get to the bureaucrats attention to act is health issues. If only a couple of universities address an issue and write a report the bureaucrats just throw it to the side. But make it a world wide university study report.....the bureaucrats can't ignore it and they feel the pressure to act.

The OVO has written about CIMVHR it would be really great to see the Military Ombudsamn, Gary Walbourne, write a blog about CIMVHR.
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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Guest on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 12:44

that's true teen . but sometimes different GOC departments still ignore reports even if they are their own internal reports .

just posted an example .

propat

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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Riddick on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 15:03

With all the bean counters out there one would think that someone would have a light come on and say.....hey.....if we stop fighting the vets and spending hundreds of thousands in legal fees fighting them (even though the veterans are right) and if we stop spending millions on advertising and millions on redundant surveys and save huge money by getting rid of VRAB (and save millions on VRAB staff that is not required and office space and everything else that it costs to run the place) and be pro active and give them the soldiers the right tools before they leave this country and the needed compassion when they return........they just might figure out they could come out ahead!

Just my opinion of course....

Riddick
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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by bigrex on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 15:14

The problem is, that Governments, not just ours, can and have cherry picked reports and studies, to justify their own personal agendas. After all, for every report that is positive towards the subject matter, there are ones that come to completely opposite conclusions, based on the prejudices and beliefs of those writing the report. And then there is how those reports are interpreted. Just look at the Australian report about hearing loss among Veterans. They found that hearing loss among Veterans was significantly higher in later life, because of the noise that they are subject to during a military career, and that all veterans suffering from hearing loss should be pensioned for it, regardless of how old they are when the loss is discovered. Canada accepted the report, and adopted the same principles, in part. But under our regulations, they will award for hearing loss at any age, but only as long as there was hearing loss noted on the release medical, and then they reduce the payout by blaming factors outside of the military, like age, for some or most of the hearing loss.
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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Guest on Mon 02 Nov 2015, 15:32

Why is it so easy for us to see the problems, and why is it the government continues to waste tax payers dollars. Riddick I hope this prime minister not being a lawyer see's the excess fat and trims it like trimming a steak.

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Re: How research and evidence-based analysis can shape Veterans’ public policy

Post by Dannypaj on Thu 05 Nov 2015, 08:22

Horrible! Horrible! Horrible!

Dropping my dependent off at a school today a young boy looks up and asks me if I am in the military, I replied I am not, but I used to be.
Medically released when not ready and now they are wondering why there is suicides. Crock of Sh!T, they know bloody well what is happening.
GOC, It is called neglecting and abandoning a soldier! If I was to neglect my duties or abandoned my post, the consequences would be fines and jail time.
GOC you have neglected and abandoned these men and women.
I know what it is like to be neglected and abandoned by GOC (I have the paper work).
I have been living with the shame of being medically released, it sucks.   Now years later I am going over the paperwork and emails and with a more mature mind I am seeing how cruel of a process it was to be medically released.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/call-to-regularly-examine-canadian-veterans-suicides-has-gone-ignored/article27113181/
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