Letter to CDS requesting update on the status of Canadian Armed Forces' position on annotated release

 30 September 2015

General J.H. Vance
Chief of the Defence Staff
Department of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
Major General George R. Pearkes Building
13th Floor, South Tower
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K2
 

Dear General Vance:

I am seeking an update on the status of the Canadian Armed Forces’ position regarding the 2011 change in practice that no longer permits amendment to a release item after the effective date of release. I was assured in September 2014 that a new process was being developed to allow the latitude to change release items and that my office would be advised regarding the imminent closure of this issue. 

As you are aware, prior to 2011 the CAF would routinely change release items post release for members who were found to have had significant medical problems at the time of release but, for a number of reasons, released under a non-medical item.  In 2011, the practice of post-release amendment to reflect the most appropriate release item was discontinued in favour of a new practice of annotating the file. The consequence of this change was that benefits associated with a medical release, including long-term disability and vocational rehabilitation (SISIP), intended place of residence (IPR) and potential forgiveness of financial obligations, became unavailable to members whose files were “annotated” rather than amended to reflect the most appropriate release item.

The CAF, after intervention of my office, resolved several specific cases of unfairness resulting from this change in practice.  However, there are outstanding cases that have yet to be resolved. My office continues to receive complaints and remains concerned about systemic unfairness related to the process of releasing from the Canadian Armed Forces.

The 2011 change in practice has resulted in unfairness and is not reflective of the objective of assigning the most appropriate release item in a timely manner such that releasing members receive the benefits to which they are entitled. 

I would appreciate an update on the specific matter of annotation so that our organizations can work jointly to resolve the outstanding constituent files. 

Sincerely,

 

Gary Walbourne
Ombudsman

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