Operating context and key risks

Operating context

The Board’s operating environment is directly influenced by the unpredictability of the nature and volume of applications. Cases can be complex, especially when it comes to establishing the relationship between the disability and service for entitlement. The main factors affecting the Board’s capacity to conduct hearings are the availability of fully-trained Members and the unpredictability of the time required by applicants and representatives to prepare their cases for hearings.

The Board relies on its Members and staff to provide Veterans and their families with a fair and timely appeal process. As a small tribunal, it faces unique challenges in workforce management and makes ongoing efforts to maintain knowledgeable and skilled Members and staff to deliver its program.

Board Members are Governor-in-Council (GIC) appointees selected from a pre-qualified pool of Canadians. As the membership is dynamic, it is both a challenge and a priority for the Board to maintain a balance of experienced and new Members for expertise and knowledge transfer. The Board’s capability to effectively deliver on its mandate hinges upon an adequate complement of Members appointed through the GIC selection process.

Key risks
Risks Risk response strategy Link to the
Link to mandate letter
commitments and any
government-wide or
departmental priorities
(as applicable)
Service Delivery and Program

There is a risk that the Board will not be able to meet the demands for timely and transparent service delivery due to factors such as:

  • Fluctuating volume and nature of applications; and
  • Employees adapting to change and learning related to new business processes resulting from the reorganization of the Board’s operations.
  • Closely monitor the volume and types of applications.
  • Develop an adaptable hearing calendar in consultation with representative organizations to ensure applicants have options for timely hearings.
  • Monitor and prioritize cases in a comprehensive manner.
  • Focus training to deal with emerging and complex medical conditions and causations.
  • Establish an implementation plan for the reorganization to support employees through the transition with a focus on clear business processes, communications and training.
  • Maintain an enhanced focus in operational units on quality and timeliness.
  • Use change management processes and training to support staff and Members with technological change.
Appeals Organizational Priority:
  • Excellence in Service Delivery
  • High-Performing Organization
Human Resources
There is a risk that frequent changes in the membership may affect the Board’s ability to sustain a workforce with the necessary skills and competencies.
  • Communicate in a timely manner with the Minister on the Board’s appointment needs.
  • Promote the Member selection process through the website and targeted outreach to generate interest and increase applications.
  • Strengthen professional development for Members at the beginning and throughout their terms.
Appeals Organizational Priority:
  • Excellence in Service Delivery
  • High-Performing Organization

The Board’s corporate risks remain relatively static from year to year. It annually reviews its corporate risks and corresponding sub-risks. This review is informed by the Board’s Strategic Plan and is influenced by the previous year’s Corporate Risk Profile.

The Corporate Risk Profile is an important mechanism for building an overview of the challenges that could affect the Board’s ability to fulfill its Core Responsibility. The annual process:

  • builds a common understanding of the Board’s corporate risks;
  • supports discussions on priority setting for corporate and operational planning;
  • informs resource allocation choices; and
  • strengthens program delivery.

For additional information and guidance on risk management principles and practices, consult the risk management guides and tools on the Secretariat’s website.

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