Minister Updates Ombudsman on Concerns of Military Families

JUL 28 2011 

Mr. Pierre Daigle
Ombudsman for the Department of
National Defence and the Canadian Forces
100 Metcalfe Street, 12th floor
Ottawa ON K1P 5M1

Dear Mr. Daigle,

I am pleased to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on specific files that your office has been following and on Department of National Defence initiatives to improve the board of inquiry (BOI) process for suicides.

Corporal Stuart Langridge

The BOI report has been forwarded to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) for review and approval. I have been advised that the Fynes family may take legal action against the Department.

Master Corporal Mark Allen

The Summary Investigation has been finalized and the file is closed. Mrs. Allen was debriefed by Chief of the Air Staff personnel on May 31, 2011, and she was initially unhappy that certain portions of the report were not disclosed. Additional documentation was provided.

Corporal Stephen Gibson

The BOI has been finalized and the file is closed. Chief of the Land Staff (CLS) personnel debriefed the family on December 13, 2010, and provided them with a severed version of the report. The family was given the opportunity to review it and return with questions. In addition, several portions of testimony were provided to the family. The family has indicated that they are satisfied with the information provided to them.

Officer Cadet Joe Grozelle

The BOI has been finalized and the file is closed. The family has received a copy of the severed report. The final meeting with the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) was held on May 19, 2011. The family was not pleased that police services have closed the file and will likely continue to ask that the OPP and the coroner reopen the case.

Bombardier Jérémie Ouellet

The Board presented the final report to the Convening Authority on June 20, 2011. The President of the BOI informally briefed the family on June 9, 2011. Bombardier Ouellet’s sister does not agree with the Board’s conclusions and wants to write to the Convening Authority and the CDS to voice her displeasure. She has advised the President of the BOI that she has written to me seeking additional documentation. The sister has also threatened to go to the media. Finally, the President of the Board believes that the family may take legal action against the Canadian Forces.

Chief Warrant Officer Joel Sorbie

The BOI has been finalized and the file is closed. Mrs. Sorbie was briefed on January 28, 2011, and provided with a severed version of the report. She has indicated that she is pleased with the information provided to her.

In my letter of December 2, 2010, I described several initiatives undertaken by Chief Review Services (CRS) in an effort to improve the BOI process for Canadian Forces suicides. I am pleased to report that many of these initiatives have been implemented. CRS advised your staff that we have issued a Canadian Forces General Order (CANFORGEN) providing direction to the Canadian Forces on the revised procedures. I am confident that these initiatives will significantly reduce the time required to complete a BOI for suicides. CRS will continue to keep your office informed on these matters.

I trust this information is of assistance, and thank you for your concern for the well-being of Canadian Forces member and their families.


Peter MacKay

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