Letter from MND: Update on 1974 Valcartier Cadets Grenade Incident

April 4, 2018

 

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

 

Dear Mr. Walbourne:

I am writing in response to the request you made to the office of the Commander, National Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers Support Group (Natl CJCR Sp Gp) for follow-up information to your report entitled An Investigation into 1974 Valcartier Cadets Grenade Incident. Following the announcement in 2017 of a comprehensive program of financial recognition and health care support for the victims, you requested additional information with respect to the implementation of the recommendation in the report. 

I sincerely appreciate your ongoing support of our women and men in uniform and their families. Listed below is the current status of the recommendations from your previously released report. 

Recommendation # 1- Health Care. We recommend that, under the authority of the Minister of National Defence, the Department of National Defence immediately offer assessments to those who claim to have been adversely or permanently affected by this incident to determine the physical and psychological care required and, based on these assessments, fund a reasonable care plan.

Q: How many Cadets and non-professional first responders were identified and contacted by the Department?

A: 155 have been identified and 146 have been contacted.

Q:  And, over what timeframe?

A: From November 1, 2015 to present. 

Q: How many individuals claimed to have been adversely or permanently affected by this incident? And, how many were offered an assessment?

A: Initial contact with clients and medical assessments being sent out started on November 1, 2015. The Valcartier Grenade Incident Program (VGIP) medical section has received 130 eligible names to participate in the medical program. All clients were contacted by phone by the nurse case manager to assess the following: 

  • Does the client have a primary care provider? (family physician)
  • Confirmation of demographics and information of prior Canadian Armed Forces (CAF service, current medical needs
  • Are they willing to participate in the program and willing to receive the medical package?
  • Language preferences for documents to be sent to them (French/English).
  • Does the client have any immediate needs for counselling, i.e., the Canadian Forces Member Assistant Programme (CFMAP)? The number was provided along with information on who they should contact if in crisis, i.e. family doctor, walk-in clinic, or ER.
  • Provide information regarding the process to complete and sign forms/documents in order to review the initial medial assessment and identify the treatment plan by the primary care provider so that a file may be opened to authorize funding for health services and support.  

Q: How many of those assessed required a care plan?

A: From the 130 eligible individuals, 93 have returned the proper documentation to Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS). Out of those, CFHS has 71 individuals that are accessing health care services.

Q: And, what was the delay between the assessment of the individual and the date a care plan was put in place?

A: Delays may be due to incomplete medical assessments; some clients not wanting to follow the process for completing medical packages; availability of health care providers, e.g. psychologists in local communities (clients may be place on a waiting list to be seen); accessibility of services in the client’s local area; requirement for health care providers to be registered in Medavie Blue Cross in order to get paid (registration may take up to two weeks). In addition, staffing resources are based on priority of the clients’ medical needs; provincial health care systems are all different and may be more difficult to navigate depending on the file and the client’s current medical needs; and, finally, clients may not be ready to access care once the plan is identified.  

Q: What was the delay between the time the care plan was approved and the time it was implemented?   

A: Each file is different and depends on the above information. Clients in crisis and who require immediate care are referred to the ER, walk-in clinic, their primary care provider (family doctor), or CFMAP. Follow-up of comprehensive health care requires consultation with the primary care provider with referrals to specialists. Health care services are funded, authorized, and coordinated through the provincial health care system, nurse case manager, community resources, and the plan administrator (Medavie Blue Cross).

Q: Is there any other information that may be useful or that you would like to share with us on this recommendation?

A: Mr. Doug Clary (senior investigator) from the Ombudsman’s office has been involved in reviewing any complaints in regards to the medical process. The VGIP medical section is a completely new program and has been implemented as it is rolling out to assist the clients. This initiative necessitated new processes for funding, coordinating care, and teaching everyone involved as this has never been done in the past. These clients are not Veterans Affairs Canada clients or CAF members and are currently the responsibility of the provincial health care system.

Recommendation # 2- Financial Compensation. Following the full assessment and definition of the long-term needs of the affected individuals, we recommended that the Department of National Defence, under the direction of the Minister, award them an immediate and reasonable financial compensation in line with jurisprudence in similar situations.

Q: Of those individuals deemed to have been adversely affected, or permanently affected, how many of them have been awarded the universal benevolent payment of $42,000?

A: 143 victims and survivors.   

Q: Can you confirm whether all six estates applied for the additional benevolent payment of $58,000?

A: Yes, all six estates have applied for the additional benevolent payment.

Q: How many were awarded the payment?

A: All six estates have received the additional benevolent payment. 

Q: How many affected individuals applied for the individual benevolent payment?

A: We have received seven applications to date (three are currently being processed).

Q: How many were awarded the payment?

A: Four were awarded the payment.

Q: What were the individual amount(s)?

A: Three payments of $48,000 and one of $108,000.

Q: How many were awarded the maximum amount of #310,000?

A: None to date.

Q: What is the total amount of all compensation granted to date?

A: $6,774,000.00. This amount includes universal and individualized benevolent payment.

Q: Is there any other information that may be useful or that you would like to share with us on this recommendation?

A: There are still six eligible cadets, two non-professional first responders, and one estate of a cadet that has deceased since 1974 that have not yet been located. We are still looking for them.

Your recommendations will continue to be implemented by the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure all victims of the incident are treated with respect and dignity, and get the financial recognition and health care support as per the Government’s announcement in 2017.

Yours sincerely,

 

The Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, MP

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