Response from CDS on Revised BOI Report February 2015

16 February 2015

Mr Gary Walbourne
DND CAF Ombudsman
100 Metcalfe Street, 12th floor
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5M1

Dear Mr. Walbourne,

Thank you for your Report, Boards of Inquiry – Families in Focus. The work contained in that report reflects the professionalism and objectivity of your team members and the results will assist us in our goal of continuing to improve the BOI process and other CAF processes.

I share your concern that the needs of military families following the death or serious injury of a CAF member, particularly the desire for information about the circumstances in which the incident occurred, need to be better met. We need to determine how the CAF can appropriately address those needs.

As you observe in your report, the human dimension sometimes gets lost in the BOI process as this process is designed for fact gather and not for family engagement. The Board of Inquiry mechanisms, while appropriate for their express purpose, are simply insufficient for those families who seek answers while navigating the loss or serious injury of a loved one.

I am concerned that attempting to use the Board of Inquiry process as a means of satisfying a family’s information needs could reduce the effectiveness of these Boards to achieve their fact-finding purpose, and will likely fall short of family expectations.

It would be beneficial, in assessing how the CAF may better respond to a family’s desire for information, to consider that it might be addressed more effectively as an aspect of other forms of CAF engagement which may occur in the wake of serious injury or death (e.g. support from the unit, the Chaplain, the Director of Casualty Support Management), rather than focusing solely on how it might be satisfied within the Board of inquiry process.

As a result, I concur with your recommendation to identify the information needs and families and ensure effective methods of communication and liaison with them, and I accept your offer to provide a member of your team to help us do so. In this way, together we will determine whether these needs could be served more effectively and appropriately by the BOI process or within the broader CAF engagement with military families which occurs after a death or serious injury.

As such, I propose our joint team address your recommendation in the following two stages:

  • As a first step, identify the most appropriate and effective means by which the CAF may be able to meet the information needs of families following a death or serious injury, whether through the Board of Inquiry or other processes; and,
  • After analyzing the results, develop a strategy to implement those measures.

Again I would like to thank you for the professional and objective manner in which your team members conducted their work.


T. J. Lawson

cc. Deputy Minister

Date modified: