The Veterans Review and Appeal Board has followed through on its promise to begin changes in response to a report from the Veterans Ombudsman that reviewed cases appealed to federal courts.
After reviewing 140 VRAB decisions reviewed by the Federal Court of Appeal in 2011, the ombudsman reported consistent errors in exercising benefit of the doubt, narrowly interpreting evidence, failing to accept credible uncontradicted evidence, not providing veterans with sufficient reason for board decisions and errors in fact and law.
VRAB has since implemented a plan to improve services, using federal court reversals to guide changes.
The board has also established a task force with Veterans Affairs Canada and the Bureau of Pensions Advocates to review and discuss trends from court decisions, and is itself working to improve the way it responds to veterans, particularly in using plain language.
Although the ombudsman called for publication of all board decisions, the board argued costs are prohibitive. However, it has begun publishing noteworthy decisions on the VRAB website.
It has also added links to the Federal Court website and added information about decision-making on its own website.
Veterans can read about the changes here.