Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by 6608 on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 15:51

Not sure if this persons comments and thoughts on last months ministers advisory group meeting was already posted somewhere, but here it is again.

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1011307165599547&id=244969555566649

"Brian McKenna here
Ok Folks, Its Briefing time.
I’m back from the Ministers Advisory group and Stakeholders meeting and I’ll take this opportunity to briefly outline for you the items that were discussed.
Mandate Letter: The main focus of both groups was the Mandate letter from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Veterans Affairs. While the topics seemed general in nature the department is now working on figuring out from the stakeholders what the specifics will be. The direction from government to the department is clear, but that direction comes from the Campaign and the department is now in the process of finding out what the different advocates specifically meant when they successfully lobbied the government to include those items in the platform. The department is also constrained by the budget, both in funding and in time. In order for an item to be deliverable to cabinet and actionable in the budget for FY 16/17 , there is less than a month to produce a draft and not much time more than that to have a real policy proposal moved into the budget. To summarize, which promises are happening this year, and what do they look like? There is also much attention being paid to which decisions are internal to the department and can be solved by VAC alone, and which need cabinet approval. Essentially tweaks can be done internally. Increase a benefit a bit, or hire a couple more staff, or open an office. But for legislation changes or significant capital expenditures, cabinet approval is required. Some of the items in the mandate letter will require cabinet approval for sure.
Advances since last meeting: Lots to report here and the effect on veterans and serving members is significant. First of all many application forms have been completely eliminated or amalgamated with other forms . These are all forms that the veteran themselves would be filling out, not internal office forms. As well, many that are still deemed to be required were drastically reduced in length. This is something we asked for in the summer , and the department agreed and I have to admit they have delivered. There has been changes to My VAC ACCOUNT, which is the online portal for Vets. Its better, mostly in how its simpler and has quicker access points for the frequently used sections.
Hiring of staff: Some progress has been noted although the complete level of staff hirings has not been achieved. That said, many are hired and undergoing training right now. Many of these are adjudicators which can speed up the processing of files and the case managers/Client service agents that actually deal with the veteran.
Service Dogs: The first planning sessions on how to address service dogs and gauge their use for mental health has begun.
Engagement of Case Managers: Previously, case managers from VAC could only engage with a veteran once the veteran had been released. In fact the only contact between the department and serving members was for the application for a disability reward. As of today, case managers are engaging pre release with some serving members. Further study is required to determine exact when the appropriate time to have this engagement is, and if its altered depending on the anticipated disposition of a serving member. To be specific, when we know a soldiers results from a medical review will be release, at what exact point and time does that soldier become entitled to case management service with VAC?
SISIP: There is discussion about the future role of SISIP as it pertains to the vocational retraining and income supplementation for newly released members and if SISIP creates a unnecessary duplication with the ELB and VACs rehab program. There is also discussion and lack of clarity as to whether a change in the ELB rates (a proposed rise to 90% of income from 75%) would also be replicated in SISIP. Much more to follow on this. Still a work in progress.
Treatment centres: There is a commitment in the Mandate Letter to open treatment centres nationally for mental illness. This is where the details are required. Will they be run by the military or VAC? Will they have clients other than military or vets? Will the practitioners be government or not? Will peer support be an integral and sustained portion of care? Will the practitioners of these centres be intimately aware of the military culture? There was a desire from some of the advocates to be involved in the planning of these centres, and as soon as possible. We expressed our desire to be involved in a mental health committee from the beginning so we can influence all aspects including where it is located, as opposed to being brought in after the key decisions have been made. It is my belief , as this is creating something that doesn’t previously exist, that this is a policy that would need to be placed before cabinet.
CFSA: This discussion was in regards to regular force members and certain reservists who possess pension contributions approaching the ten year mark. As you may know, ten years service is the point at which a reg force member or a qualified (pension qualified, not trade) reservist would receive some size of a pension if medically released as opposed to a return of contributions. There was discussion amongst the advocates and the department as to whether that 10 year point is serving us well or not for those medically released. No decision point reached.
Lump sum versus pension: This is the elephant in the room of the veterans community but I’m heartened to say it was not avoided or danced around. There was real genuine discussion at both meetings as to what the mandate letter was ordering and what the remedy would look like. No decision point was reached yet, but there was a general consensus that there is value to a pension for lifelong financial wellbeing, which contributes to mental well being. There was also an acceptance that there is value to receiving some money up front, especially for the morbidly wounded, as they will have instant and large costs. The consensus that was reached is that the solution would most likely require some form of amalgamation of the two concepts, or a hybrid solution. As well, it could require completely new legislation so if thats the case it will almost certainly require cabinet approval.
There was discussion over a Veterans ID card, which was also discussed in the summer. A couple of key points were made. There currently is a NDI 75, which is a veterans card. However, it is only issued to those with ten years service and carries no imbedded information other than whats written on it. There is currently a CFone card, but it is largely unrecognized by the public and vendors, carries no picture ID, and does not identify the holder as being honourably discharged which some countries want to know if they are giving you special consideration due to veteran status. So, ideally the new card would carry some information but not enough to break identify theft or privacy concerns, identify the carrier by picture as being honourably discharged and be available to veterans regardless of time served. So with that in mind, its still on the drawing board.
Jobs: There seemed to be a consensus that this is not being handled as well as it could be. There is an acceptance that veterans need a purpose in life and a job is one of the best forms of that, particularly amongst men who define themselves by what they do. Unfortunately up to and including now, the only real answer has been to punt to the private sector and hope well meaning charities like Helmets to Hardhats, or Canada Company song others deliver. There needs to be a cohesive plan owned by the government of Canada that the civilian sector compliments rather than relies on. No progress of substance on this file. What was positive was there seems to be genuine appreciation and action on the belief that one of the best places for a veteran to work is veterans affairs. There are a number job openings coming and some on the books now that list military service as a requirement to the job and this is excellent news. There is also a work in progress called “Before you go” which could be called a reservists version of a SCAN seminar.
VRAB: This was the most disappointing part of the conferences. Every question about the VRAB is met with a statement to the effect of the impartiality of the VRAB and the abyss of connection between VAC and the VRAB. Perhaps some of that is warranted but with complete independence can come a lack of accountability. Currently the VRAB has adjudicators who have no military experience at all judging the validity of a military event. Currently they are overturning the findings of multiple medical doctors even though they themselves are not medical professionals and they draw conclusions that are not in any way supportable in the civilian courts or in modern medicine, even if the statements themselves come from government doctors such as MOs. Many claims are denied because the VRAB establishes a brief reprieve of symptoms. Essentially , the age old tale we told soldiers of filling out their Cf 98s and trust they will be honoured if your injury resurfaces is not being fulfilled. Currently, if the VRAB identifies a period where your symptoms went away, they use that as a means of denying a claim even if the pathology and proof of incident are completely reported and established by multiple witnesses and professionals. The only connection between VAC and the VRAB is through the minister, which means veterans advocates are robbed of contact or influence of this establishment while working with VAC. Their is lots of agreement that after the lump sum, this is the second most disappointing and failing aspect of the modern veteran experience.
Terminology: There was an agreement amongst the advocates about the term CLIENT and how that affects the relationship between the veteran and vac as a benefits administrator and a care adjudicator. Many felt that this term held a connotation reflective of how an insurance company would handle a patient rather than how a veteran expects to be treated by his/her government.
Spouses / Caregivers: There was a lot of discussion about the impact of benefits and their delivery upon spouses. The first place this is discussed is in the lump sum disability award. Under the pension act , when a veteran died, portions of their pension would continue to be delivered to the spouse and the children. That disappeared with the Lump Sum. As well, the government used to have an attendants allowance, which was far more generous and reflective of sacrifice than the current caregivers relief benefit that was delivered in the last round of improvements. Between those times, no benefit existed.
PIA: There was brief discussion about the PIA and how it may improve but not concrete discussions happened on this file.
There was some discussion on the new critical injury benefit and how so few veterans, even those with high disability ratings, were failing to qualify for this benefit. Along with that, for those so extremely wounded they are being accepted, a one time award of 70,000$ is not significant enough to compensate their degree of loss.
Overall Approach: The tone of this session of meetings was constructive and we are mostly likely going to reengage the meetings in the spring. There was an acknowledgement that one of the greatest struggle of wounded veterans is the loss of identity that comes from release from the Canadian Forces. Perhaps the single most important part of the whole process was the address from the deputy minister that acknowledged the work being done by all the different veterans groups out there. There was an acknowledgement that those groups have been successful in getting their desires for the veterans community into the discussion. But the key point which I wholeheartedly support is the requirement for a return to civility amongst the groups, essentially a ceasefire. This is of particular concern in the online forum as senders regret could be avoided by not sending aggressive attacking statements online in the first place.
Feel free to post any comments or questions, positive or negative but keep it civil or I won’t respond."



Cheers
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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Trooper on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 16:50

Thanks 6608....

Looks like were in for a long haul of discussions before any significant action is going to take place...matching the increase of 90% from the ELB with SISIP should be a no-brainer with very little discussion....this should be a common sense decision.
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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Dannypaj on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 08:23

From The Honourable Minister's Facebook page
Kent Hehr
12 hrs ·
We are putting your views front & centre! Ask @Bill_Morneau all about our upcoming budget.
https://t.co/3U6dTfXc1O ‪#‎PBC16‬

Ask away.
1. I am willing to bet that they increase the ELB to 90% right off the get go, which to me is a know brainer (It is an easy increase of 15%, which some can use while they wait for a real solution.)  
2. And I am all so willing to bet that they hold off on the monthly disability pension until  the (POLITICIANS) bring forth our file before the house, so they can discuss it to death (while we die waiting).

And by the way my fellow Veterans, "MY" what I thought was a close friend (civilian) got mad at "ME" because his tax dollars goes towards "US" Veterans (an attack on me in particular) .  So, don't kid yourself the civilian population has no idea what it is like to live in a constant state of war, nor what it is like to have served their country (like I have read somewhere, we who have served have found meaning to our lives knowing that we have done what we could in our own individual capacity to make the world a better and safer place, opposed to a civilian who will never experience serving their country as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
So, you can probably imagine the low blow to my self-esteem for that hit from a civilian who has no clue.
Although medically released I still have served and to be treated like this is a deeper reflection of our Canadian society.  They care about soldiers defending their freedoms, but yet they  "politicians" don't care about veterans who have served and returned wounded.
Maybe I am wrong and unlike the system of VAC, I can admit fault.
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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Dannypaj on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 08:52

See that avatar on the side there, yes that is me (in my teens) and that is how we Canadian Soldiers (while at sea) keep the enemy at bay.  
Canadians should never take a second of their freedom for granted, for there are always women and men standing on guard for them across the globe.
Veterans should never be a political hot button topic, but when the buttons are pushed?
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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Guest on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 09:20

I thought you were getting water from a well, lol, but I agree with you wholeheartedly . Were you a bosun ? Deck department?

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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Dannypaj on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 09:59

Yes sir, Navrat.
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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by teentitan on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:13

Ask your questions on Twitter! Sorry but this is a dick move. You ask and get an answer in 280 characters.

Guess a real info session is too much for them to do.

Very disappointed in this, very disappointed.
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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Brasidas on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:40

The swift action on the refugee front shows how quickly the government can work. Veterans will always be on the back burner, given the excuse that it has to be done right.

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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by teentitan on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:47

Well the evidence is definitely in the posting by the fantastic digger 6608.

This is going to be a bumpy 4 years and I just hope they have "real" veterans on the panel. Not just vet orgs because trust me they all have an agenda, trust me been around them too many times.

So it's time to beat the drums and get input from the people who are going to survive off this latest incarnation. Not people who 'think' we need this over that.

But hey if you can express your concern in 140 characters or less then get at with Monreau or Hehr's twitter feed....he says with contempt and eye's rolling
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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Rifleman on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 12:15

Twitter my ass they know what has to be done get at it and stop fracking around this is utter bull shyte time to make things right

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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Guest on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 12:38

Backbone of any Naval vessel! Bravo Zulu to the deck department!

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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Slaket on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 12:42

Something as important as Veterans and they want to get it right so it will take time...
But have no fear you can drop the MVA a tweet.. Did we not recently have a MVA that did not want to talk directly to Vet's.. Late for meetings...or just ignorant..Yup we DID...the key word being *did* Minister Hehr.

The air is starting to smell of the same old shit pile of the past.

I was so proud to wear my uniform for 30 years but am ashamed of the way we are treated when no longer seen of any value..

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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by czerv on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 13:33

As I said previously, the mantra is "we will study it for four years and, shortly before election, we will promise you, tha when you re-elect us: we will implement some of the studied issues."
We always support our Veterans and we decide what is good for you.


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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Trooper on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 15:35

So let me get this straight..."The direction from government to the department is clear, but that direction comes from the Campaign and the department is now in the process of finding out what the different advocates specifically meant when they successfully lobbied the government to include those items in the platform".

Well..well..well..it means exactly what the platform promises said !

To many chiefs an not enough Indians...so the promises were made without fully understanding them ?
Or is it the MVA has ordered the promises to be implemented an the department which has been ordered to do this is reaching out to learn exactly what is meant by those promises ?

Like some of you have said it's fine to say their working on it an it is complex an their learning but where do they draw the line in this , an find individuals who understand the promises in letting them make the implementations.
I also agree with some here in saying this could go on forever leaving us all no further ahead.
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Re: Kent Hehr pledges to fix “overlooked” and “bungled” treatment of vets

Post by Dannypaj on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 15:51

KENT HEHR to speak on Friday

Let's see what he has to say on Friday I guess

http://www.660news.com/2016/01/11/kent-hehr-to-speak-this-friday-in-calgary/
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