Chairman of Veteran’s Review and Appeal Board Hides from Controversy?


A follow-up piece by Murray Scott on VRAB’s treatment of vets and colleages on their own Board. BONNIE

By Murray Scott

One has to wonder where Chairman Larlee of the Veteran’s Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) and his Henchman are hiding out. Has he abandoned the sinking ship? Is he following the lead of the Captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner who was accused of abandoning his ship “well before” the last of his passengers …

It would appear to the public that he is nowhere to be found. In previous cases like this when the Leader of a Board refuses to answer questions by the Press and Opposition Party, you can bet they have been told not to say anything what-so-ever without the so called Arms- Length Minister of Veterans Affairs explicit approval.

We are beginning to see the VRAB members both current and past point fingers and blame Veteran Affairs Canada and the Military for their difficulty in performing their $100,000.00 plus yearly job. Murray Brewster of the Canadian Press reports members saying; “Current and ex-members of the appointed board, who asked that their names not be used, said questioning of claimants sometimes can be tough and clearly stressful. But they blamed both Veterans Affairs and National Defence for sloppy paper trails that make decisions tough to call.”

Recently we have heard Chairman Larlee refuse to comment on questioning by the Opposition Party using the old standby “Privacy.”

Well, for once, we might be getting to the crux of the turmoil created by VRAB. Most Veterans are tempted to blame VRAB for at least 80% of the problem they experience obtaining their entitlement for their claimed pension condition. However, one must only look at the lost and forgotten Mandate of Veteran Affairs Canada, which clearly states that their sole purpose is to help Veterans obtain compensation for their injuries obtained during their service to Canada. Every aspect of Veteran Affairs needs to be centered on that mandate.

VAC “To Mandate:
provide exemplary, client-centred services and benefits that respond to the needs of veterans, our other clients and their families, in recognition of their services to Canada; and to keep the memory of their achievements and sacrifices alive for all Canadians.”

Do we have members of VAC fulfilling this goal? Most definitely, there are members of VAC that hurt when they see Veterans turned down for an obvious pensioned condition. I have personally seen VAC staff cry when they see the poor treatment of Veterans. So the answer is yes there is a role that VAC members play in the process of denying claims. Is there room for improvement?

Recently an application was submitted to VAC for entitlement; the adjudicator sent it to their medical consultant for an opinion. The question was put to the consultant to find out if the accident in question could have the effects the Veteran Claimant suggests. One would expect the answer to be detailed and explanatory; however, it simply said “No.” The consultant did not respond in a manner that would allow a detailed explanation to the Veteran. 

You bet there is room for improvement. Just like VRAB, it starts at the top. Mr. Blaney, where are you? Perhaps if our Minister of Veteran Affairs had some Military experience we would not be in the mess we are in!

With respect to the Military not keeping their paperwork up to date, I am not sure that this holds as much water as it used to with the traditional members. One only has to look at the reams of paper contemporary members produce to see that keeping accurate records has improved immensely as compared to the lost and misplaced records of the traditional Veterans.

The one difference that is prevalent with VRAB, which is not as apparent with VAC, is VRAB assumes the posturing that the Veteran Claimant must prove beyond the established rules and regulations that they deserve the pension award. What this means is VRAB wants not only the current regulations met by Veteran Claimants, they want additional standards met that VRAB members have imposed above and beyond those that are required. It is so apparent that most VRAB members have their case against the Veteran made even before the Hearing begins. Perhaps we need these hearings televised “The VRAB Den.”

The question then becomes where do these VRAB members get their direction to pull out all stops against the Veteran? The Chairman of VRAB, Mr. Larlee. The buck stops with him, wherever he is.

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About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
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4 Responses to Chairman of Veteran’s Review and Appeal Board Hides from Controversy?

  1. Andrew Lew says:

    Hello Veterns and supporters,

    Here is something that may be old news, but it’s the beginning of my nightmare until a decision is made and likely taken to court after a claim denial. I have served all around the world for 17 years, the last in Afghanistan. I hope this information sheds some light on the Veterans Review and Appeal Board :

    Shame to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board!
    Here are some statistics taken from the Veterans Review and Appeal Board webpage:
    Q. How much are Members of VRAB paid?
    A. Members’ salaries are fixed by an Order-in-Council upon appointment and paid within a salary range of $104,300 to $122,600.

    Q. How long are Members’ appointment terms?
    A. Terms range from 1 to 10 years and may be eligible for reappointment. All Members serve on good behaviour.

    The link is:
    http://www.vrab-tacra.gc.ca/Employment-Emploi/FAQs-Selection-Process-FAQs-Processus-de-selection-eng.cfm

    The key points have been highlighted in RED.

    Veterans Review and Appeal Board
    http://www.vrab-tacra.gc.ca

    Home > Apply to Become a Member> FAQs Selection Process
    Frequently Asked Questions

    Frequently Asked Questions on the Selection Process for Members of the Veterans Review and Appeal BoardQ. How can I apply to be a Member of the VRAB?

    A. Positions are occasionally advertised in several Canadian French and English newspapers, at all times through VRAB’s website at http://www.vrab-tacra.gc.ca and on the Governor-in-Council website at http://www.appointments-nominations.gc.ca(Opens a New Window). You can also call the Board at 1-866-840-4244 to request an application.

    Q. When do I need to have my application submitted?
    A. The deadlines for the submission of applications in 2012 are February 29 and August 31.

    Q. I have already been through the selection process and been found qualified. Do I need to apply again?
    A. If you have been advised that you have been found qualified, your name remains for three years (from the date that you were advised in writing that you have been found qualified) in the group of qualified candidates and there is no requirement to reapply.

    Q. Why are other names being added to the pool now when there are already several names in it, including mine, particularly since there are only a few appointment opportunities?

    A. The Board requires Members with a wide range of backgrounds including medical/ health professions, legal, policing, social services, business and military backgrounds, and also has appointment needs in locations where there may have been little or no response to previous advertisements. This selection process will ensure that these needs are filled for the future. Individuals currently in the pool will continue to be eligible for consideration for upcoming appointments for a period of three years from the date they were advised in writing that they have been found qualified.

    Q. My name has been in the pool for three years. Do I need to reapply again?
    A. Yes, you need to reapply. Your name will automatically be removed from the pool three years from the date you were advised in writing.

    Q. What does a Member do after appointment to VRAB?
    A. VRAB Members work full-time and are required to adjudicate review and appeal applications made to the VRAB under the Pension Act, the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act, and other related Acts of Parliament. Members provide an independent review of disability pension/award and War Veterans Allowance decisions by hearing and adjudicating cases. This involves conducting hearings in numerous locations across the country in person and via video or teleconference; deciding cases and ensuring the related statutes are properly interpreted; and, writing clear reasons for decisions within specified time frames. Some Members are required to travel 3 out of 4 weeks to conduct hearings and some may be required to travel up to 35 weeks a year.

    Q. How much are Members of VRAB paid?
    A. Members’ salaries are fixed by an Order-in-Council upon appointment and paid within a salary range of $104,300 to $122,600.

    Q. How long are Members’ appointment terms?
    A. Terms range from 1 to 10 years and may be eligible for reappointment. All Members serve on good behaviour.

    Q. What is the Mandate of VRAB?
    A. The VRAB was created by an Act of Parliament in 1995 and provides Veterans, current and former members of the Canadian Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and certain civilians and/or their dependents with the opportunity to request a review or appeal of disability pension/award decisions made under the Pension Act, the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act and other Acts of Parliament, and final appeals on War Veterans Allowance cases under the War Veterans Allowance Act. The Board, is a quasi-judicial agency and operates independently from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VAC).

    Q. What does “full-time” mean in terms of being a Member?
    A. Full-time means that Members work full-time with the exception of authorized leave such as vacation or training.

    GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL APPOINTMENTS
    GiC Appointments > Federal Organizations > Veterans Review and Appeal Board
    Here is the breakdown of the Members of the Veterans Appeal and Review Board appointments:

    1995=1
    2005=12
    2006=4
    2007=9
    2008=1
    2009=1
    2010=2
    2011=2

    Calculating 12 members at annual pay rate, before expenses, such as food and hotels, is $104300.00 (lowest pay rate) equals $1,251,600.00.
    Calculating 12 members at annual pay rate , before expenses , such as food and lodging is $122,600.00 (highest pay rate) equals $1,471, 200.00.

    This is the link for their terms:
    http://www.appointments-nominations.gc.ca/prflOrg.asp?OrgID=AVC&type-typ=1&lang=eng

    The Veterans Review and Appeal Board consists of not more than twenty-nine permanent members to be appointed by the GiC and such number of temporary members who may be appointed by the GiC whenever, in the opinion of the GiC, the workload of the Board so requires.

    A permanent member shall be appointed to hold office during good behaviour for a term not exceeding ten years and is eligible to be reappointed.

    A temporary member shall be appointed to hold office during good behaviour for a term not exceeding two years and is eligible to be reappointed for one additional term.

    The GiC shall designate a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson from among the permanent members.

    NOTE: This guide reflects the composition and distribution of the current membership. Vacancies for temporary member positions are not shown since appointments are only made as required depending on the workload.

    The Chairperson is the chief executive officer of the Board and has supervision over and direction of the work of the Board, including the allocation of work among its members, the conduct of its work, the management of its internal affairs and the duties of its staff.

    If the Chairperson is absent or unable to act or if the office of Chairperson is vacant, the Deputy Chairperson shall act as Chairperson.

    If both the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson are absent or unable to act or both offices are vacant, a member designated by the Minister shall act as Chairperson.

    A person who has resigned or otherwise ceased to hold office as a member may, at the request of the Chairperson, at any time within eight weeks after that event, make or take part in the disposition of any appeal, review, reference or other matter in which the person became engaged while holding that office, and a person performing those duties is deemed to be a temporary member of the Board.

    Where a person to whom the above applies or any other member by whom a matter has been heard is unable to take part in the disposition of the matter or has died, the remaining members, if any, who heard the matter may make the disposition and, for that purpose, are deemed to constitute the Board.
    Appt/Expiry
    Date Position
    Level
    Chairperson/Member

    Larlee, John D.
    Fredericton, New Brunswick
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2009-04-27
    2015-04-26 GCQ-6
    Deputy Chairperson/Member

    MacPhee, James
    Montague, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-01-29
    2013-01-28 GCQ-4
    Permanent Member

    Arsenault, Jean-Paul
    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2010-08-30
    2013-08-29 GCQ-3
    Bonin, Richard
    Québec, Quebec
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2011-09-29
    2014-09-28 GCQ-3
    Champagne, Pierre
    Warwick, Quebec
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2009-03-30
    2012-03-29 GCQ-3
    Cowan-McGuigan, Joanne
    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-09-04
    2015-09-03 GCQ-3
    Desjardins, Pierre
    Longueuil, Quebec
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2011-03-14
    2016-03-13 GCQ-3
    Dionne, Lise
    Verdun, Quebec
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2010-10-28
    2013-10-27 GCQ-3
    Giraldeau, Edward
    St. Albert, Alberta
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-10-12
    2012-10-11 GCQ-3
    Langille, Roger
    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2011-02-03
    2016-02-02 GCQ-3
    LeBlanc, Bernard Thomas
    Charlettown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-08-01
    2015-07-31 GCQ-3
    Leduc, Harold Ovila
    Parksville, British Columbia
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-11-07
    2012-11-06 GCQ-3
    Maher, Edmond Fraser
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2011-03-03
    2016-03-02 GCQ-3
    Martel, Serge
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2011-11-14
    2014-11-13 GCQ-3
    Morrison, John H.
    Toronto, Ontario
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-10-12
    2012-10-11 GCQ-3
    O’Keefe, Dorothy
    St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2010-08-23
    2015-08-22 GCQ-3
    O’Kurley, Brian
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-03-19
    2015-03-18 GCQ-3
    Riley, Ellen
    North Vancouver, British Columbia
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-10-12
    2012-10-11 GCQ-3
    Small, Bonita Mary
    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-08-07
    2013-08-06 GCQ-3
    Taylor, Brent
    Stratford, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-02-26
    2015-02-25 GCQ-3
    Vautour, Angela
    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-02-05
    2015-02-04 GCQ-3
    Walsh, Joan
    Watervale, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-10-12
    2012-10-11 GCQ-3
    Watson, Rick
    Delta, British Columbia
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-10-12
    2012-10-11 GCQ-3
    Woodfield, Richard
    Stratford, Prince Edward Island
    Full-Time Appointment
    During Good Behaviour 2007-03-05
    2015-03-04 GCQ-3
    5 Vacant Positions GCQ-3

    Total vacancies: 5
    Date Modified: 2012-02-28

    Is this what we soldiers deserve after coming home broken?

  2. Bonnie Toews says:

    Andrew, a question: What does “During Good Behaviour” mean under each appointment?

    The answer to your last question: NO, definitely not. Soldiers deserve care, comfort and compensation when they come home “broken.” Not ridiculed. Not demeaned. And not dismissed.

    Bonnie

  3. Don Mosicki says:

    I have just gone before the board and it would appear there is a bias on their part,
    and are most self serving and no practical application.

  4. justright82 says:

    I believe if some get rejected in the process its because they were some abuses in the past, yes my friends like anything else the goods ones will always pay for the bad ones who did when to the cash office and were not broken! Those people on the board I am sure with all the files they have and facts are trying to do theirs best! what ever they are paid for to do the job doesn’t have anything to do with with the final judgement. The system should just be changed for an amount upon returning home and a better retired salary base on the mission. Its not the board the problem but how a soldier salary and conditions are made! (I think)

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