Government of Canada
Veterans Review and Appeal Board. www.vrab-tacra.gc.ca

Common menu bar links

Veterans Review and Appeal Board response to report from office of Veterans Ombudsman

ACTION PLAN

The Veterans Review and Appeal Board is committed to providing Canada's Veterans, members of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP, and their families with a fair and effective appeal process for disability benefits.

In accepting recommendations by the Veterans Ombudsman, the Board welcomes the opportunity to build on our ongoing efforts to improve the appeal program for applicants.

Our response to the recommendations is to implement the following Action Plan within the next 30 days. Progress on these items will be updated on the VRAB Web site.

RECOMMENDATION VRAB ACTION
#1.

That the Veterans Review and Appeal Board report to Parliament on its performance using the percentage of Federal Court decisions that uphold Board decisions as an indicator of fairness in the redress process, and on remedial measures to attain the 100 per cent target.
  • Continue to conduct hearings and make decisions in accordance with Federal Court guidance and directions on procedural issues and the evolution of the law

  • Will use Federal Court decisions as one performance indicator

  • Will use additional performance indicators to ensure fair hearings and quality decisions, as previously committed to in 2012-2013 Report on Plans and Priorities

  • Will continue to report on performance publicly and to Parliament through the annual Departmental Performance Report
#2.

That the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, Veterans Affairs Canada and the Bureau of Pensions Advocates establish a formal mechanism to review each Federal Court decision rendered in favour of the Veteran or another applicant, for the purpose of remedial action to procedures and adjudication practices.
  • Establish a task force with VAC for this purpose

  • Will review all Federal Court decisions for constructive commentary on the practices and procedures underpinning fairness and interpretation of the law
#3.

That the Veterans Review and Appeal Board provide reasons for its decisions that clearly demonstrate that its obligation to liberally construe the legislation has been met, as well as its obligations under section 39 of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board Act to draw every reasonable inference in favour of applicants, to accept credible uncontradicted evidence and to give applicants the benefit of evidentiary presumptions (benefit of the doubt).
  • Will launch a review of our decision format to identify ways to better communicate reasons to Veterans

  • Will ensure Veterans receive clear decisions in plain language

  • Will implement these measures by end of 2012
#4.

That the Minister of Veterans Affairs ensure that the Veterans Review and Appeal Board is sufficiently resourced so that the Board may publish all of its decisions on its Web site and all Federal Court judgments pertaining to Board decisions.
#5.

Not applicable to VRAB
 
#6.

For the Veterans Review and Appeal Board and the Bureau of Pensions Advocates to review their processes and service standards for the priority treatment of cases returned by the Federal Courts for rehearing.
  • Give priority status to cases returned by Federal Court for rehearing

  • Will improve processes and communications with representatives to deliver priority treatment
#7.

Not applicable to VRAB