What the Veterans Hiring Act Means for Medically Releasing Members

The transition to civilian life can be a confusing time for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members. Choosing a new career can be daunting for someone who has never held a civilian job, especially if they have been ill or injured. With this in mind, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defence and the Public Service Commission are working together to bring changes to the Public Service Employment Act.

In May 2014, the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced that changes would be coming to the Public Service Employment Act. One benefit of these changes is that veterans, who are medically released due to a service-related injury or illness, as determined by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), will become the top statutory priority and shall be considered before organizations initiate an appointment process.  In other words, they will be considered for the job and, if they meet the qualifications for the position, they will be appointed before all others.

Veterans have five years from their final date of release from the CAF, or from the date of VAC’s favourable determination, whichever is later, to activate their statutory priority entitlement. The entitlement period for those whose illness or injury has been deemed attributable to service will last five years from the date they are deemed to be fit to return to work, or from the date that VAC made a favourable determination, whichever is later. The releasing CAF member can initiate the paperwork with a DND Human Resources (Civilian) (DND HR-Civ) office as early as two weeks prior to their final release date but they cannot be considered as a priority person until their final paid day of service has passed.

Currently, veterans who were released as a result of an illness or injury do have regulatory priority, but not top priority. This will not change until the Veterans Hiring Act (VHA), comes into force on July 1, 2015.

The benefit of the VHA will be retroactively applied to those former members whose priority entitlement was active in the Priority Information Management System on or after April 1, 2012. In May 2015, part of this group, those whose priority entitlement had already expired, was contacted by the Public Service Commission.  Anyone receiving this e-mail should respond and, should they wish to do so, provide their consent to provide their personal information to VAC, have their regulatory priority entitlement extended for an additional five years and to apply for statutory priority. Delays in doing so after the VHA comes into force will impact the entitlement period given to the former member.

If you are a member who is in the process of releasing (or are thinking of releasing) due to an illness or injury sustained during service and you are interested in applying for priority entitlement, until the changes come into effect, your first point of contact should be the DND Director of Casualty Support Management (DCSM) at 1(800) 883-6094 or DCSM-DGSB@forces.gc.ca.

The VHA has yet to come into force. The proposed regulations were published on June 3, 2015. You can find them here. We will continue to update our information as it becomes available.

For more official information on the VHA, please contact Veterans Affairs Canada at 1-866-522-2122 (toll free).

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