Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent
Credits: CHRIS ROUSSAKIS/QMI AGENCY
The Veterans Review and Appeals Board has dealt with more than 118,000 cases since its creation in 1995, but 140 of those have been appealed to
the Federal Court.
"In 60% of board decisions reviewed by the Federal Court, the court ruled that the board erred in law or fact, or failed to observe the principles of procedural fairness," Ombudsman Guy Parent wrote in his report.
Parent says that's just not good enough for military veterans, who sometimes have to endure a four or five-year process to fight for benefits.
"Even one veteran going through that is too much," says Parent.
The ombudsman has made several recommendations, including calling on the board to report to Parliament on its performance.
He also called on the veterans affairs minister to make sure taxpayers pick up the tab for veterans who appeal their case to the Federal Court, not just those who appear before the review board.
A spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney says the minister accepts all the recommendations, but offered only vague comment on the issue of veterans' legal bills.
"Our government's priority is to ensure our veterans and their families have the care and support they need," said Blaney's spokesman, Jean-Christophe de le Rue.
The board promises to implement all the recommendations that pertain to it within 30 days.