As the Veterans Review and Appeal Board looks to the 2008/09 fiscal year, it is with great enthusiasm that we move forward with a renewed commitment to improving the appeal program for Veterans, Canadian Forces members, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and their families.
Over the next fiscal year, quality decisions and service, as well as accountable management, will remain our top priorities. We will focus on strategies to accelerate the volume of appeal hearings, consistently provide well-reasoned decisions, and address appellants' concerns regarding the length of the appeal process.
As part of our strategy, we plan to refine and implement several new practices into our everyday business to reduce the timeframe to bring a claim to a hearing. The Board is implementing an automated review hearing schedule, is working with representatives to bring claims forward in a timely manner, and will promote the use of alternative hearing modes such as videoconferences and teleconferences.
The Board will revise the Members Training Plan to improve methods of learning, develop new training tools, address specific areas of legislation, medical matters and administrative law, and enhance ongoing professional development.
The Board will also strengthen communications by implementing a corporate communication plan that delivers better and more frequent communications and effectively responds to the information needs of applicants. Over the year, the Board will focus on the areas of increased communications, liaison with the office of the Veterans Ombudsman, improvements to our Web site and updated performance information.
We hope that by implementing these strategies, the outcome will be improved consistency in decision making, timely and fair adjudication of claims, and well-informed applicants. The Board looks forward to continuing its work on behalf of Canadians to ensure cases are thoughtfully considered from an unbiased perspective, upholding the integrity and fairness of its decisions for all those who apply.
Victor A. Marchand,
Chair, Veterans Review and Appeal Board
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