Ombudsman Releases 2016-2017 Annual Report

Ombudsman Message | November 24, 2017

As Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, my focus has always been to ensure fair treatment and seek positive change for the Defence community. This past fiscal year, we continued that focus by reaching out to our constituents where they live and work.

Our outreach team travelled across the country educating the Defence community about the services we provide and listening to their concerns.

We continued to implement fresh and innovative ways to provide information and engage with constituents. On our website, you can now reach one of our intake officers through Live Chat and our Online Booking Tool. In November 2016, we added Facebook to our social media.

The number of contacts to our Office increased in 2016-17 with the majority of new cases related to benefits, releases, requests for information, medical issues, harassment and postings. In total, our Office handled 2,400 cases and closed 2,166 (including new cases, cases re-opened and cases carried over from previous fiscal years).

We also released five investigative and two special reports, including a submission to the Minister of National Defence recommending a legislated mandate for this Office. With legislation, the Ombudsman for National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces would report directly to Parliament. This would solidify the Office as an independent voice for fairness.  

For the Government of Canada’s Defence Policy Review, we submitted an analysis to the Minister of National Defence outlining the personal challenges facing the Defence community. I was pleased to see our recommendations included in the final report—specifically, holding the member until benefits are in place, and creating a concierge service as a single point of contact for members and their families.

Priorities for my Office remain, our reporting and governance structure, a continued focus on the Reserves with a review of the Canadian Rangers organization, and simplifying the transition process for ill and injured military personnel and their families.

For more information on the work carried out by my Office this past fiscal year, I invite you to read the full annual report. 


Gary Walbourne

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