Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être
The Veterans Review and Appeal Board (Board) is an independent, administrative tribunal created in 1995. The Board provides an appeal program for service-related disability decisions made by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This program gives applicants two levels of redress for disability benefits decisions and the final level of appeal for War Veterans Allowance claims.

The Board’s objective is to ensure that Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police members, and their families receive the disability benefits to which they are entitled.

The responsible Minister for the Board is the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.

Mandate and role
The Board’s mandate is set out in the Veterans Review and Appeal Board Act. This Act provides the Board with full and exclusive jurisdiction to hear, determine and deal with all applications for review and appeal made under the Pension Act, Veterans Well-being Act, the War Veterans Allowance Act and other Acts of Parliament. The Board also adjudicates duty-related pension applications under the authority of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pension Continuation Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act.

What does the Board do for ill and injured Veterans?
The Board offers two levels of redress for those who are dissatisfied with disability benefits decisions made by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC, the Department). It operates at arm’s-length from VAC to provide an independent appeal process.

Hearings
Hearings are conducted by Board Members, who are independent, impartial adjudicators. Board Members are not bound by previous decisions. They consider every matter before them with a fresh perspective to ensure Veterans are given the best possible review of their decision. Review hearings are conducted by panels of two Board Members in locations across the country. One of the most important aspects of a Review hearing is that Veterans have the opportunity to appear before decision-makers and tell their story in their own words. They can bring witnesses and have evidence and arguments presented by their representative. Veterans have access to free legal counsel through the Bureau of Pensions Advocates (BPA) and are reimbursed for their travel costs to attend their hearings. Some Veterans organizations, such as The Royal Canadian Legion, also provide free representation.

The Board’s process is non-adversarial, which means no one is arguing against the Veteran or defending the VAC decision under review.

If a Veteran is not satisfied with their Review decision, they can request an Appeal hearing which is the second and final level of redress.

Appeal hearings are conducted primarily in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island by panels of three Board Members who did not hear the same case at Review. While the legislation does not permit oral testimony at this level, the Appeal hearing provides a further opportunity for a Veteran, through their representative, to submit new information and make arguments in support of their case. Appeal decisions are final and binding.

The Board’s Vision, Mission, and Values express the Board’s commitment to serving Veterans and their families. These statements inform the Board’s work and guide all employees.

Vision
The Board is recognized as the independent and fair appeal tribunal that ensures Veterans obtain the benefits they are entitled to for service-related disabilities.

Mission
To provide Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP members, and their families with timely, respectful hearings and fair, plain-language decisions.

Values

Independence: We provide Veterans with hearings and decisions that are free from outside influences.

Impartiality: We treat Veterans in a fair and unbiased manner.

Respect: We treat Veterans, and one another, with courtesy and respect.

Excellence: We strive to serve Veterans better through continuous improvement and innovation.

Integrity: We enhance public confidence and trust in the appeal process by being professional and ethical.

Accountability: We are open and transparent, so that Veterans and Canadians can hold us accountable for our actions and decisions.

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