Response from MND: Service Delivery Model Follow-Up Jan 2018

Jan 18 2018

 

Mr. Gary Walbourne
Ombudsman
Office of the National Defence and
Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman
100 Metcalfe Street, 12th floor
Ottawa ON  K1P 5M1

 

Dear Mr. Walbourne,

Thank you for your letter of November 17, 2017, in which you have requested an update on our progress with regard to three of the recommendations from your report, Simplifying the Service Delivery Model for Medically Releasing Members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

With regard to your recommendations on ensuring benefits are in place before members transition to post-military life, two key initiates are currently ongoing to help address what is at the core of the issue.

Specifically, a Treasury Board led Policy Tiger Team (PTT) made up of representatives from Treasury Board, Finance, the Privy Council Office, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has been stood up since April 2017. The PTT is actively engaged in finding solutions to strengthen the partnership and to close the seam between VAC and the CAF, concurrently harmonizing and reducing the complexity between our respective benefits and services, and overhauling service delivery. Ongoing PTT convergence efforts include: early intervention and education, improving the continuity of care, and developing a joint process to ensure departing members receive their benefits and services in a timely manner. Concurrent with the above PTT effort, a joint VAC-CAF Seamless Transition Task Force is specifically engaged in improving the transition process. The Task Force is reviewing the numerous transition programs and services, mapping the processes and procedures, and adjusting, where necessary, to ensure clear accountabilities and a seamless experience for CAF members.

Moreover, a great deal of effort has been invested in the review of the release of administration procedures and processes. In the next year, dedicated personnel will continue to plan and trial the implementation of these processes and procedures.

With regard to your recommendation on establishing a Concierge Service for all medically releasing members, I can assure you that the CAF is already providing such services.

Members with complex cases receive formal support through the formulation and prompt amendment, if required, of their respective integrated plan (ITP)/ In addition, they may be provided up to three years of transition support by the CAF, following a medical assessment and administrative review. This extended support allows those who need it the most to achiever a successful transition.

Some processes and procedures leading to ITPs have recently been streamlined to improve our responsiveness to members’ needs. It is also our intention to further formalize and simplify the guidance received by releasing members with less complex cases.

During summer 2017, the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) was allocated more staff to reduce the staff to client ration in its support centers across Canada, making services provided to our members even more responsive and personalized. We are also planning to allocate more positions to JPSU by the end of summer 2018.

Concurrently, Canada’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE), was released in June of 2017. As a result, the CAF Transition Group (CAF TG) will be created with the goal of ensuring members experience successful transitions. All military personnel will use the services of this group, where professional staff will provide assistance to members to formulate and execute a sound personalized transition plan. VAC and the CAF are currently working diligently to establish this integrated capability.

With regard to your recommendation to develop a secure web portal, many tools already exist or are in the process of being further developed and improved.

The secure web portal, “My VAC Account,” is the online portal for benefits after release. All CAF members, but more specifically medically releasing members, are being actively encouraged to open a My VAC account, while still in service.

Finally, an on-line tool names MNET, a Military to Civilian Occupation translator, has recently been launched. MNET data is based on the CAF Job Based Specifications and Employment and Social Development Canada list of civilian occupations. In future phases, MNET will also be capable of translating soft skills and give pre-accreditation for military education and training.

This, in combination with the soon to be launched Benefits Browser, developed by your office, will help members in their transition. We recognize more online tools need to be developed in the future, so that all members, regardless of where they physically reside, has access to services and information that will empower them in their transition planning. 

Please be assured that we are working diligently to implement the numerous changes necessary to provide the best possible services to our CAF members and their families.

I truly appreciate your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

 

The Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP
Minister of National Defence

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