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Veterans' Right to Know Reasons for Decisions: A Matter of Procedural Fairness

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Re: Veterans' Right to Know Reasons for Decisions: A Matter of Procedural Fairness

Post by Teentitan on Mon 20 Feb 2012, 21:39

Veterans' Right to Know Reasons for Decisions: A Matter of Procedural Fairness - by Guy Parent

Today, I released a report entitled Veterans' Right to Know Reasons for Decisions: A Matter of Procedural Fairness. This report examined the adequacy of information provided by Veterans Affairs Canada in their decision letters to Veterans who apply for disability pensions or disability awards.

Since the Office opened in 2008, many of the complaints we have received related to decisions made by Veterans Affairs Canada with respect to disability pensions and awards. In helping these Veterans, we noted that the letters that they received were vague, unclear or not understandable, which made it very difficult for the Office to help Veterans. As a result, the Office undertook a review of a statistically valid sample of letters sent by the Department between 2001 and 2010. While some letters contained information regarding relevant legislation or references to supporting material, not a single letter provided the applicant with an adequate explanation for the decision taken. Providing information to support a decision is fundamentally different than providing a reason for a decision, a distinction that seems not to be understood by the Department.

The findings of this report confirmed our concerns and should not be news to Veterans Affairs Canada. The failure to provide reasons for decisions is an issue that was first brought to the Departmentís attention by the Auditor General of Canada in 1998.

In the Canadian system of parliamentary democracy and responsible government, the government has a duty to explain its policies and decisions. Veterans need assurances that their applications for disability benefits have been fully and fairly considered. A detailed decision letter is the essential source of that information.

Veterans have a right to know why and how decisions are made. The letters concern monetary entitlements that have a direct impact on Veteransí quality of life. It troubles me to think that many Veterans may be discouraged from pursuing their applications further because the response letter does not reveal the rationale for the decision. It is equally unacceptable for Veterans to exercise their appeal rights without having been provided with a clear explanation of the decision.

Veterans, like all Canadians, have a right to procedural fairness from public decision-makers. The obligation to provide adequate reasons for decisions that affect them has been well established in administrative law in Canada and abroad. It is even more important to fulfill that obligation when it is an explicit legal requirement, as is the case with assessment decisions made by Veterans Affairs Canada. I urge Veterans Affairs Canada to implement the four recommendations contained in the report.

The full report is available online at www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca. This report is the first of a series of reports that will be published over the course of the year on issues of procedural fairness.

http://www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/blog-blogue/post-eng.cfm?151
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Teentitan
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Veterans' Right to Know Reasons for Decisions: A Matter of Procedural Fairness

Post by Teentitan on Mon 20 Feb 2012, 16:51

Here is the links to the English and French Ombudsman Report on How Decisions Are Made and the lack of explanation in denial of application/review/appeal in plain english/french. Just click on the PDF to read the full report.

English:

http://www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/reports-rapports/reason-raison-eng.cfm


Francais:

http://www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/reports-rapports/reason-raison-fra.cfm
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Teentitan
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Number of posts : 3293
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