Operating context

Operating context

The Board is a micro-organization with a small, dedicated staff. The Chairperson, appointed by the Governor in Council, is the Board’s Chief Executive Officer and reports to Parliament through the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

The Board can have up to 25 full-time Members (including the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson). Members hear Veterans’ cases brought forward for redress. They then decide whether the evidence meets the requirements of the legislation to award new or increased levels of disability benefits.

The Board’s operating environment is directly influenced by the unpredictability of the nature and volume of applications. A good indicator of how many applications the Board is likely to receive in a given year, is the volume of Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) disability benefits decisions from the previous year. As the table below shows, in the last five years, the Board’s Review decisions have represented between 3.9% and 8.3% of VAC decisions with appeal rights to the Board from the previous year. The reality is that more applicants have been receiving positive outcomes earlier in the process(i.e. at VAC), and no longer need to seek redress at the Board. This means that the cases that are appealed to the Board tend to be more complex and challenging.

Fiscal Year


As a % of VAC's
previous year
2018-19 41,782 1,407 3.9%
2017-18 35,949 2,017 5.5%
2016-17 36,502 2,219 6.0%
2015-16 37,004 2,507 8.5%
2014-15 29,480 2,729 8.3%

Even though the Board’s caseload is primarily correlated with VAC decision volumes, it can fluctuate from year to year due to other factors. One factor is that there is no time limit to bring forward an appeal, i.e. Veterans can request an independent review of their VAC or VRAB decision at any time.

Human Resources
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 merit-based GIC selection process.

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