|By Marketwired .||
|July 10, 2014 01:41 PM EDT||
OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 07/10/14 -- Canada's Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent today released his analysis of the House of Commons Standing Committee Report and recommendations on the New Veterans Charter, The New Veterans Charter: Moving Forward. His analysis is contained in a letter to Committee Chair Greg Kerr (attached).
"I am pleased that the Committee took up most of my recommendations and put forward that the Veterans Bill of Rights be included in the New Veterans Charter and in the Pension Act and that the Charter be liberally construed and clearly recognize the obligation of the Government of Canada and all Canadians to its Veterans and their families," said Mr. Parent.
In particular, he commended the Committee for achieving all-party support on its recommendations and for recognizing that 'tinkering around the corners' of the New Veterans Charter is not good enough anymore. "Substantive changes are needed to address the deficiencies in Veterans' benefits and services for those who have been injured or become ill through their service to Canada," he said. "A plan is just a plan until it is put into action."
While in agreement with the majority of the Committee's recommendations, he cautioned that the wording of some is too ambiguous and could result in multi-interpretations that may be quite inconsistent with the original intent of the Committee. He also expressed concern about recommendation 4 - Earnings Loss Benefit - and recommendation 9 - Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability program - stating that he cannot support them in the present form and offered his analysis of their shortcomings.
The Committee's Report was published within weeks of the June 2014 release of two other Reports also addressing Veterans' transition issues - the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence's Report Caring for Canada's Ill and Injured Military Personnel and the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs' Report The Transition to Civilian Life of Veterans. "This leaves little doubt in my mind that parliamentarians are sending a very strong message to the Government of Canada that the current shortcomings in Veterans' support need immediate attention," added Mr. Parent.
The Veterans Ombudsman met yesterday with the Hon. Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, his staff and senior Veterans Affairs Canada officials. He briefed them on his analysis of the Committee's Report, as per his letter to the Committee Chair.
"My office is now actively engaged with the Minister and Veterans Affairs Canada to move these changes forward in a timely manner," said Mr. Parent. "As Veterans Ombudsman and Special Advisor to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, I pledge my readiness to do whatever is necessary to achieve this goal. To me, it is a matter of fairness to our Veterans and their families."
July 10, 2014 Mr. Greg Kerr, Chair House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street House of Commons Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Re: Office of the Veterans Ombudsman Analysis of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs Report: "The New Veterans Charter: Moving Forward"
I would like to compliment the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs for its Report: The New Veterans Charter: Moving Forward. The Report's recommendations are generally consistent with those contained in my October 2013 Report, Improving the New Veterans Charter and Actuarial Analysis, which put forward evidenced-based recommendations that addressed shortcomings in three New Veterans Charter program areas: financial, vocational rehabilitation and assistance, and family support.
I commend the Committee for taking the important step of making a recommendation to incorporate the Veterans Bill of Rights into both the New Veterans Charter and the Pension Act; and for promoting that the Charter be liberally construed. I am also particularly impressed by the all-party support for the recommendations. This signifies to me that Committee Members listened carefully to the many stakeholders who testified before them since the hearings began last fall. They also took into account the many reports and recommendations previously published on the New Veterans Charter since 2006, and recognized, in their final deliberations leading up to the publication of their Report, that 'tinkering around the corners' of the New Veterans Charter is not good enough anymore. Substantive change is needed to address the deficiencies in Veterans' benefits and services for those who have been injured or become ill through their service to Canada.
Considering that the Committee's Report was published within weeks of the June 2014 release of two other Reports also addressing Veterans' transition issues - the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence's Report Caring for Canada's Ill and Injured Military Personnel and the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs' Report The Transition to Civilian Life of Veterans - there is little doubt in my mind that parliamentarians are sending a very strong message to the Government of Canada that the current shortcomings in Veterans' support need immediate attention.
While I am in agreement with the majority of the Committee's recommendations, I caution that the wording of some is too ambiguous and could result in multi-interpretations that may be quite inconsistent with the original intent of the Committee. Therefore, I request more clarity concerning the definition of the term "families", and would like to draw your attention to the limitation of the term "seriously disabled Veterans" as defined in the Committee's Report. In addition, I am particularly concerned about recommendations 4 and 9 and cannot support them in the present form.
This addresses the complex issue of the Earnings Loss Benefit and states that "the earnings loss benefit be non-taxable and set at 85% of net income, up to a net income threshold of $70,000, that it be adjusted annually to the consumer price index, and that for veterans who participate in a rehabilitation program, the disability award be paid once the program is completed".
As per my October 2013 Report, I support providing the Earnings Loss Benefit to eligible Veterans at a rate that allows them to maintain their net pre-release salary during transition from service in the Canadian Armed Forces to a civilian job for those who can return to work, or until age 65 for those who can no longer work. There should be no reduction in net income as a result of receiving an Earnings Loss Benefit.
If the Committee's intent was to ensure that a Veteran's pre-release standard of living is not reduced during transition to civilian life or until age 65, then the use of the words "net", "non-taxable" and "threshold" (Is the $70,000 a maximum or does this refer to the limit of the tax exemption?) requires clarity. A restrictive interpretation will most probably adversely affect Veterans and reduce their income. I do not believe that this was the goal of the recommendation.
The proposed recommendation in my October 2013 report, Improving the New Veterans Charter and Actuarial Analysis, concerning the Earning Loss Benefit is that it should be increased from the current 75 percent to 90 percent of the Veteran's gross pre-release salary. This is similar to how other schemes calculate income replacement. As I noted at the time, such an increase of the Earnings Loss Benefit to 90 percent of pre-release gross salary would provide a Veteran with 100 percent of his or her net pre-release salary because while he/she is in receipt of the income support benefit, they no longer contribute to Employment Insurance, the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan, and Canadian Forces superannuation. The current wording of Recommendation 4 does not achieve this goal.
Furthermore, the latter part of the recommendation concerning the Disability Award payment upon program completion is confusing. The Disability Award compensates for pain and suffering and is not related to the rehabilitation program. Its purpose is to provide immediate compensation for pain and suffering and should not be held back until a rehabilitation program is completed. Such action would disadvantage Veterans needing a longer rehabilitation period and create unfairness. Therefore, the Disability Award should not be withheld as recommended in the Committee's Report.
This Recommendation states that "the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability program be provided only to veterans medically released for a disability not related to military service, that all veterans released for service-related medical reasons benefit from the programs offered under the New Veterans Charter, and that the Canadian Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada work together as quickly as possible to eliminate overlap between Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) programs and those provided by Veterans Affairs Canada."
Currently, service relationship is not considered when determining whether a Canadian Armed Forces' member is medically released (only that the member has medical employment limitations that makes them unable to meet the obligatory Universality of Service requirements). Therefore, this recommendation will require a new process to determine service relationship at time of release. Also, the recommendation could affect the provision of vocational rehabilitation to the spouses of Veterans who are unable to complete a vocational rehabilitation program because SISIP does not provide this benefit. Finally, it is also unclear whether the Committee is recommending that Veterans Affairs Canada continue to provide medical and psychosocial rehabilitation to the Veteran who is medically released for a non-service related injury or illness; if not, this could affect the successful completion of the vocational rehabilitation plan under the SISIP LTD program. Furthermore, I recommend that an independent review of the dual SISIP Financial Services and Veterans Affairs Canada income support and vocational rehabilitation programs be initiated to determine their effectiveness.
At the end of the day, what is really important for Veterans and their families is that real and timely action is taken by the Government of Canada to address the pressing deficiencies in the support currently provided to Veterans and their families.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated at the launch of the New Veterans Charter on April 6, 2006: "In future, when our servicemen and women leave our military family, they can rest assured the Government will help them and their families' transition to civilian life. Our troops' commitment and service to Canada entitles them to the very best treatment possible. This Charter is but a first step towards according Canadian veterans the respect and support they deserve."
I have already met and briefed the Hon. Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs on my analysis of the Committee's report, along with his staff and senior Veterans Affairs Canada officials. The Office of the Veterans Ombudsman is now actively engaged and working with both the Minister and the Department to move this forward.
Although clarifications are needed to the Committee Report, as suggested above, I believe that Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence have now a broad enough spectrum of evidence-based analysis and recommendations to start taking decisive action to address what is unfair with the current suite of New Veterans Charter programs and services. Also, as I mentioned to the Committee in my testimony, my Office will be publishing a report on the Permanent Impairment Allowance in mid-August that is complementary to my previous reports on the New Veterans Charter and will provide additional research, analysis and recommendations on supporting severely impaired Veterans.
I realize that work will be needed regarding cost implications and implementation rollout (including policy and program changes/approach, timing and sequencing). But, if action is taken to re-integrate Veterans successfully into civilian life and help them achieve what every Canadian strives for - a good job, financial independence, a reasonable quality of personal and family life, along with the best possible health - it will pay dividends not only to Veterans and their families, but to all Canadians. For those whose medical condition or illness does not allow them to return to work, it would ensure that they receive the support they need to live their lives with financial security and dignity.
In conclusion, I thank the Committee for its diligent work. While I support the majority of the recommendations put forward by the Committee, I will closely monitor their implementation because a plan is just a plan until it is put into action. Furthermore, as Veterans Ombudsman and Special Advisor to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, I pledge my readiness to do whatever is necessary to help the Committee and Veterans Affairs Canada move forward substantive changes to ensure that the needs of Veterans and their families are met.
I would be pleased to discuss my comments further with you.
Media Relations Advisor
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Jan. 20, 2017 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,434
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
Jan. 20, 2017 05:15 PM EST Reads: 3,525
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, will explore the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and will give a real live, hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He will examine three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. This is a hands-on session that will require participants to bring their own laptops, and we will provide the rest.
Jan. 20, 2017 05:15 PM EST Reads: 4,937
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Jan. 20, 2017 05:15 PM EST Reads: 3,799
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, will highlight the current challenges of these transformative technologies and share strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” will outline the latest trends and developm...
Jan. 20, 2017 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,070
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 20, 2017 03:00 PM EST Reads: 1,638
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
Jan. 20, 2017 02:30 PM EST Reads: 1,113
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
Jan. 20, 2017 02:15 PM EST Reads: 589
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Jan. 20, 2017 01:30 PM EST Reads: 3,588
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Jan. 20, 2017 01:30 PM EST Reads: 5,726
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Jan. 20, 2017 01:30 PM EST Reads: 5,232
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Jan. 20, 2017 01:00 PM EST Reads: 2,574
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Jan. 20, 2017 12:30 PM EST Reads: 3,185
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Jan. 20, 2017 12:30 PM EST Reads: 4,345
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
Jan. 20, 2017 12:30 PM EST Reads: 1,649