Building a bridge, one block at a time…, May 23, 2012

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Building a bridge, one block at a time…, May 23, 2012

Post by Teentitan on Thu 24 May 2012, 11:49

As I blogged in early May, many RCMP members and Veterans do not realize that I represent them. The Veterans Bill of Rights clearly applies to all clients of Veterans Affairs Canada, including members and former members of the RCMP. And given that I am the Ombudsman for clients of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC),
I consider it an important responsibility of my mandate to represent the RCMP Veteran community - including the over 9,000 clients of Veterans Affairs Canada who are former members of the RCMP. Not only that, but I have made special efforts since the start of my mandate to reach out and inform the 16,500 RCMP Veterans and 22,000 serving members of the RCMP of the VAC benefits and services that they may be eligible to receive.

There are well over a dozen Memoranda of Understanding between VAC and the RCMP that govern the coverage received by RCMP members and Veterans. Despite that, RCMP members and Veterans do not have access to many of the benefits and programs available to military Veterans. This is an area that I am intent on addressing during my mandate. Sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen, as well as members of the RCMP, do not question where and when they must serve – there should be no difference in the level of programs and services they are provided if they are injured in their service.

On Wednesday, May 9, 2012, I sat down with Bob Paulson, Commissioner of the RCMP for what, I am sure, will be the first of many meetings. I am excited to tell you that there was agreement around the table to create a multidisciplinary working group to focus on RCMP Veterans’ issues. In a separate meeting, Suzanne Tining, Deputy Minister of VAC readily agreed to the formation of this working group. It will be comprised of representatives of the RCMP, the RCMP Veterans’ Association, VAC and the Office, along with other stakeholders yet to be confirmed.

While this working group is still in its early infancy, I would imagine that members will begin their work together by clearly identifying the current suite of programs and benefits available to RCMP members and Veterans, with a view to identifying the gaps or areas of concern that may need to be examined. From there, a working mandate will be developed based on these findings.

As we closed our meeting, I took the opportunity to present Commissioner Paulson with a framed copy of the Veterans Bill of Rights. I look forward to our future meetings and to the implementation of the working group. This is still the first block in the bridge and we are still in the early days, but I will be sure to keep you updated as we move forward.

One Veteran!

Guy

http://www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/blog-blogue/post-eng.cfm?160
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Teentitan
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Registration date : 2008-09-19

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