Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent wants more transparency from the Veterans Review and Appeal Board and told the Senate subcommittee on veterans affairs recently that he’d like to see board decisions publicized.
Veterans can make better decisions about whether to proceed with their own appeals, he said, rating their own chances of success by comparing them with results of similar cases.
The Ombudsman and VRAB have been exchanging communication on this issue for some time. A 2010 letter from the board pointed out its obligations under the Privacy Act to Canadian Forces and R.C.M.P veterans. VRAB issues about 7,000 decisions a year.
Parent told senators he’s sure a way can be found to protect confidential personal information, yet communicate the substance of decisions in a way useful to veterans.
He also informed senators that while he can’t review individual VRAB decisions, he can look for systemic issues with the board, and has been doing so. He expects to report within weeks to the Minister of Veterans Affairs on Federal Court judicial reviews of board decisions. The report will analyze consistency of decisions, assessment of evidence and identify legal trends.
It may take up to 60 days after the minister receives the report for it to be made public.
A video recording of the Senate subcommittee meeting is on the Parliament of Canada website.