Response from Minister of National Defence concerning the Ombudsman’s Priority Hiring Report

 27 January 2015

Mr Gary Walbourne
Ombudsman for the Department of
National Defence and the Canadian Forces
100 Metcalfe Street, 12th floor
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5M1

Dear Mr. Walbourne:

Thank you very much for your report entitled Priority Hiring for Releasing Members.

The underlying argument that it is important that the “attributable to service” decision be made in a timely manner is acknowledged and agreed. The fundamental assumptions of your analysis are supported: that is, that releasing CAF member should not be disadvantaged; that the entry point be as uncomplicated and expeditious as possible; and, that the administrative mechanisms put into place be both efficient and cost effective. These assumptions dovetail with ongoing efforts to streamline all interdepartmental efforts aimed at the transition of CAF members to civilian life and, if needed, to VAC for management of veterans’ benefits and services.

Fundamental to the ongoing efforts, however, is to ensure that we do not replicate within the CAF, mechanisms that already exist within VAC and that will continue to be needed by VAC to serve veterans. CAF benefits are not impacted by service attributability, therefore the CAF should not assume a new responsibility to make this determination. It would be neither efficient nor effective.

In my view, the solution to the concern you have raised is an increased embedding of VAC within DND/CAF processes. This would address the fundamental issue at the heart of your report – the delays caused by a lack of timely access by VAC to CAF member information. By including VAC personnel in CAF processes, VAC will be able to become involved in the management of individual transitions at a much earlier point in the transition process. It will accordingly be possible to make decisions regarding eligibility for priority hiring well before an individual’s release from the CAF.

As both VAC and DND/CAF finalize the details on this increased embedding, we will be sure to keep your office informed.

Thank you again for your continued support of all our men and women in uniform and their families.

Yours truly,

Hon. Rob Nicholson, PC, QC, MP

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